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Thursday, 10 September 2015

WRITERS ON WRITING #71: Toni Morrison


No, I'm angry all the time.  Almost all the time, which is why I write books.  That's where I control things, that's where I think freely about things, without regard to the fashion or whatever else is going on, or who's planning to kill whom and whether we should all have guns or nobody should have guns.  All these things prey on you, and I got a little disturbed years ago with some business, political, cultural, I don't know what, but I was very depressed.  It was awful, so right wing, the country.  And I found myself not working, not writing, and my friend Peter Sellars [the opera director] calls me up usually every Christmas, and this time he called me and said, 'Merry Christmas, how are you?'  And I said, 'I feel awful, I really can't write,' and went on, complaining, and he started shouting, 'No, no, no!'  He said, 'Toni, this is when artists go to work!  Not when things are wonderful and calm.  This is the time!'  And I suddenly stopped whining, and I thought about writers in prison, in camps, in the gulag, a history of people who under the world's worst circumstances, write. This was about 20 years ago, but I now understand it better because it works for me.  I can think through my novels, I can react, I can invent, I can create, I can be free.  It's my space, and I am in control. 

Interview [goodreads, May 2015]


Click HERE to read the full interview with US novelist, editor, professor and political activist TONI MORRISON by CATHERINE ELSWORTH on the goodreads website. 

You might also enjoy:
WRITERS ON WRITING #61: Charmian Clift
WRITERS ON WRITING #51: Marianne Moore
WRITERS ON WRITING #41: Maya Angelou

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