lynne tillman, on sentences

“I subject my sentences and the words to a kind of Grand Inquisition. I’m trying always to leave out what I think is extraneous. And to find what I think is the most wonderful language to make a beautiful sentence. Not beautiful in the sense of “oh it’s flowy” but in the sense that it really does what it’s supposed to do, it what I want it to say. It’s easy, at this point in my life, very easy to write a beautiful sentence that’s meaningless. A lot of writers do that. But I don’t want it to be meaningless. I want it to actually say what I want it to say, and so I’m thinking about it again and again and again.”

(From “The Sick and the Well,”  Elizabeth Koch interviews Lynne Tillman, at Guernica)


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