To achieve intimacy with your reader, you have to say to them: Here is your key to the apartment, here is the school, there's a set of trees that perfectly frame the river, that's where your friends live, your sister's down that road. You have to make them know, without a doubt, the boundaries of the map, of the imaginary world you believe in so much that it's startling to realize it's all coming out of your head.
Grief is something we circle, there's no landing place or finite center, just a very long plane ride above it, and most of the ride, if you have come to an agreement with grief, you are calm. Yet there's no way around the fits and spurts of anxiety and suffering that come with it. There's all this need for release.
I feel the familiar pulse of that mixture of dread and elation, embedded, like blood vessels in muscle, in the experience of conceiving of and writing a story.
Within the first day or two of writing, a lot of other mysteries were added. I wrote a sentence about a bear, and I said, "Oh, I wonder what that bear's doing in the story. It'll be fine. I'll figure it out later."
—Matt Bell, interviewed by Jeremiah Chamberlin
When in Vargas Llosa's The Green House, you find out that the good Mother Superior who works in the jungle is the owner of the brothel, when in Daphne du Maurier's Jamaica Inn, you find that the good honorable Vicar is the head of the ship wreckers—what do these things mean? They leave you with the question of what constitutes a good human being and what constitutes a bad human being. What causes us to react? When do we react one way or the other? When in 1984 Winston betrays Julia, saying, "I don't care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me!" we are profoundly disturbed because we feel that perhaps in that situation we would say the same. These things obviously don't have an answer. What literature does so well is hold the tension for us. In that tension, we have to live.
—Alberto Manguel, interviewed by Jennifer Levasseur and Kevin Rabalais