Laura Pearson and her colleague Kristen Norman met me at home a few weeks ago for this kind interview. It includes a few slides of my personal “favorites” too!
Have you heard of Toni Morrison’s newest book, Home? This videos quickly covers the Medal of Freedom recipients and then offers an interview with the prizing-winning author. She talks, among other things, about “writing less to make it more.” Everything she says is worth hearing. Enjoy this enticing introduction of her latest novel.
Take some time to watch this video. It’s about 27 minutes long. Any video with Toni Morrison is worth the time. She’s always the writer, the architect of language, always the teacher of history. I hope you enjoy her depth, her voice, and her articulation how her work is a work of love. She’s discussing Love, one of her novels, but is just as much discussing love in general and how it relates to writing and telling story.
If writing is thinking and discovery and selection and order and meaning, it is also awe and reverence and mystery and magic. I suppose I could dispense with the last four if I were not so deadly serious about fidelity to the milieu out of which I write and in which my ancestors actually lived. Infidelity to that milieu–the absence of the interior life, the deliberate excising of it from the records that the slaves themselves told–is precisely the problem in the discourse that proceeded without us. How I gain access to that interior life is what drives me and is the part of this talk which both distinguishes my fiction from autobiographical strategies and which also embraces certain autobiographical strategies. It’s a kind of literary archaeology: on the basis of some information and a little bit of guesswork you journey to a site to see what remains were left behind and to reconstruct the world that these remains imply. What makes it fiction is the nature of the imaginative act: my reliance on the image–on the remains–in addition to recollection, to yield up a kind of a truth. By “image,” of course, I don’t mean “symbol”; I simply mean “picture” and the feelings that accompany the picture.