Alice Munro wins Man Booker International PrizeAlice Munro wins Man Booker International Prize

Cistigatoarea Nobelului, Alice Murno despre scris, rescris si alte tabieturi de scriitor

INTERVIEWER

How do they seem to hold up now? Do you reread them?

MUNRO

There’s an early one in that collection called “The Shining Houses,” which I had to read at Harborfront in Toronto two or three years ago for a special event celebrating the history of Tamarack Review. Since it was originally published in one of the early issues of that magazine, I had to get up and read it, and it was very hard. I think I wrote that story when I was twenty-two. I kept editing as I read, catching all the tricks I used at that time, which now seemed very dated. I was trying to fix it up fast, with my eyes darting ahead to the next paragraph as I read, because I hadn’t read it ahead of time. I never do read things ahead of time. When I read an early story I can see things I wouldn’t do now, things people were doing in the fifties.

INTERVIEWER

Do you ever revise a story after it’s been published? Apparently, before he died, Proust rewrote the first volumes of Remembrance of Things Past.

MUNRO

Yes, and Henry James rewrote simple, understandable stuff so it was obscure and difficult. Actually I’ve done it recently. The story “Carried Away” was included in Best American Short Stories 1991. I read it again in the anthology, because I wanted to see what it was like and I found a paragraph that I thought was really soggy. It was a very important little paragraph, maybe two sentences. I just took a pen and rewrote it up in the margin of the anthology so that I’d have it there to refer to when I published the story in book form. I’ve often made revisions at that stage that turned out to be mistakes because I wasn’t really in the rhythm of the story anymore. I see a little bit of writing that doesn’t seem to be doing as much work as it should be doing, and right at the end I will sort of rev it up. But when I finally read the story again it seems a bit obtrusive. So I’m not too sure about this sort of thing. The answer may be that one should stop this behavior. There should be a point where you say, the way you would with a child, this isn’t mine anymore.

(…)

INTERVIEWER

When you start writing a story do you already know what the story will be? Is it already plotted out?

MUNRO

Not altogether. Any story that’s going to be any good is usually going to change. Right now I’m starting a story cold. I’ve been working on it every morning, and it’s pretty slick. I don’t really like it, but I think maybe, at some point, I’ll be into it. Usually, I have a lot of acquaintance with the story before I start writing it. When I didn’t have regular time to give to writing, stories would just be working in my head for so long that when I started to write I was deep into them. Now, I do that work by filling notebooks.

INTERVIEWER

You use notebooks?

MUNRO

I have stacks of notebooks that contain this terribly clumsy writing, which is just getting anything down. I often wonder, when I look at these first drafts, if there was any point in doing this at all. I’m the opposite of a writer with a quick gift, you know, someone who gets it piped in. I don’t grasp it very readily at all, the “it” being whatever I’m trying to do. I often get on the wrong track and have to haul myself back.

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Proaspata cistigatoare a premiului Nobel pentru literatura, Alice Munro, intr-un interviu din The Paris Review

 

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