October 1, 2012

Junot Diaz and His Internal Critic


A great bit about and with Junot Diaz at the New York Times. I think we can all relate.

Junot Diaz (via)

There’s a classic bit of creative-writing-class advice that tells us we need to learn to turn off our internal editors. I’ve never understood how to unbraid the critical and the creative. How do you manage that? You’ve raised one of the thorniest dialectics of working, which is that you need your critical self: without it you can’t write, but in fact the critical self is what’s got both feet on the brakes of your process. My thing is, I’m just way too harsh. It’s an enormous impediment, and that’s just the truth of it. It doesn’t make me any better, make me any worse, it certainly isn’t more valorous. I have a character defect, man. 
So turn on your harsh paternalistic, militaristic critic — It’s my dad.
O.K., invite your dad in: I want to hear his review of Junot Díaz the bad writer. What is wrong with that stuff? What are the mistakes you make?  First of all, nonsense characterization. The dullest, wet-noodle characteristics and behaviors and thoughts and interests are ascribed to the characters. These 80-year-old, left-in-the-sun newspaper-brittle conflicts — where the conflicts are so ridiculously subatomic that you have to summon all the key members of CERN to detect where the conflict in this piece is. It just goes on, man. You know, I force it, and by forcing it, I lose everything that’s interesting about my work

No comments: