Talking about writing is fine but isn’t it time we actually started writing? That’s the vibe we got from author Mary Gaitskill in our recent interview and we couldn’t agree more.
Gaitskill comes to Hugo House on March 16 to discuss “The Inner Weave: Mystery and Imagery in Fiction” for the latest event in our Word Works series. What is “the inner weave” exactly? As Gaitskill explains in the following Q&A, it’s organs and guts and everything that makes a good story tick.
Our hearts are already beating faster in anticipation of this upcoming lecture. Read on for a sense of Gaitskill’s current work, writing advice, and very relatable struggle to make it all go.
Q: So, what is “the inner weave”?
A: What I mean by that is the inner quality of a story, something that I might compare to the guts of a body or the unconscious part of the personality: that which you don’t normally see and might find hard to identify (unless you are cutting the body open) but which is making the story alive.
This is very different from plot or character or anything that might be defined in terms of craft and is hard to talk about but which can be felt, much like you can feel a person’s internal organs if you put your hand on them. I feel like I can best glimpse this through a writer’s style and will be giving examples of this during the talk.
Q: What excites you about your writing right now?
A: Unhappily, I’m not working on anything right now, in terms of writing. My energy is going into making a living.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you wish you’d received as a new writer?
A: This is a hard question to answer because I was not looking for general advice as a young writer. The only advice I wanted from particular people was specific advice about specific stories.
Q: What’s one thing no one ever asks you that you wish they would?
A: Nothing! I don’t interrogate my own work that way so I don’t wish for particular questions or think about it in that way. (I might ask myself certain questions, but they are nothing like an interviewer would ask.) I think writing is over-discussed in general right now.