Time Interview with Toni Morrison
I wish books received as much promotion as some of these dry R&B/rap albums coming out. Anyway, while over at Time.com reading about “The Five Mistakes Clinton Made” during her election run, I happened to notice a link at the bottom of the page for Toni Morrison. Well, thanks to Time, I discovered that Morrison has released a book. Read more about it:
What Moves at the Margin collects three decades of Toni Morrison’s writings about her work, her life, literature, and American society. The works included in this volume range from 1971, when Morrison (b. 1931) was a new editor at Random House and a beginning novelist, to 2002 when she was a professor at Princeton University and Nobel Laureate. Even in the early days of her career, in between editing other writers, writing her own novels, and raising two children, she found time to speak out on subjects that mattered to her. From the reviews and essays written for major publications to her moving tributes to other writers to the commanding acceptance speeches for major literary awards, Morrison has consistently engaged as a writer outside the margins of her fiction. These works provide a unique glimpse into Morrison’s viewpoint as an observer of the world, the arts, and the changing landscape of American culture. (Read more . . . )
Time also features an interview where readers/fans ask the questions. Needless to say, it’s Toni Morrison, so you know it’s a worthy read.
How did you discover your passion for writing?
My deepest passion was reading. At some point—not early, I was 35 or 36—I realized there was a book that I wanted very much to read that really hadn’t been written, and so I sort of played around with it in trying to construct the kind of book I wanted to read.
Out of all the novels you’ve written, do you have a favorite?
No, I always am most deeply impressed with the one that’s going on at the moment.
What is your prewriting process like?
Different books arrive in different ways and require different strategies. Most of the books that I have written have been questions that I can’t answer. In order to actually put down the first word—I don’t really have a plan—I sometimes have a character, but I can’t do anything with it until the language arrives.
My 15-year-old daughter lives to write. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
The work is in the work itself. If she writes a lot, that’s good. If she revises a lot, that’s even better. She should not only write about what she knows but about what she doesn’t know. It extends the imagination.
If you had not chosen to share your gift of writing, what else would you have done?
When I started teaching, I was absolutely thrilled. There’s nothing more exciting to me than to read books, to talk about books with students—generation after generation—who bring different things to them. I loved that. I would stay there.
Are there any dreams or goals that you have yet to fulfill?
I have two. Well, three, really. Two involve novels that I’m going to write and haven’t written. The third is immortality. [Laughs.] I don’t mean my work. I mean me.
Happy reading, yall.