Aug 9, 2012

Wilder on liquor

One of your most celebrated colleagues said recently that about all a writer really needs is a place to work, tobacco, some food, and good whiskey. Could you explain to the nondrinkers among us how liquor helps things along?
Many writers have told me that they have built up mnemonic devices to start them off on each day’s writing task. Hemingway once told me he sharpened twenty pencils; Willa Cather that she read a passage from the Bible (not from piety, she was quick to add, but to get in touch with fine prose; she also regretted that she had formed this habit, for the prose rhythms of 1611 were not those she was in search of). My springboard has always been long walks. I drink a great deal, but I do not associate it with writing.
Thorton Wilder is one of my heroes. Maybe not on the top tier with Brook, Beckett and Schulz, nevertheless he has had an implicit influence on me and my work. OUR TOWN is an endlessly explore-able play. The use of an empty space, the structure, the archetypes that stand in for characters and so on.

Above is a snippet from an interview from an old Paris Review (Winter 1956). I love his response: "I drink a  great deal, but I do not associate it with writing."

Read the whole thing HERE.

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