On Writers and Writing
“Writers become really great when they become fearless.”
Feminist writer Erica Jong here shares what has inspired her writing, and why it is important for writers not to be afraid to turn their own life into a novel. Read more …
“They enabled us as North-Americans to embrace that Whitmanic strain in our poetry.” Jong expresses her love of – and inspiration from – the 20th-century South-American poets whom she feels brought surrealism to the Americas, an example of this being Pablo Neruda, who lived in Paris and knew all the French surrealists. Jong mentions Isac Bashevia Singer as an example of the strength that lies in the ability as a writer to be able to say “I am”, “I think”, “I question”: “When you reach a point as a writer, where you can say ‘I am’, that is the ultimate.”
She furthermore feels that a book has to have a problem and that the solving of this problem becomes the plot: “You have to have the main character in a predicament – that’s where you start a book. Sometimes the predicament has actually happened to me, but I amp it up, and I make it more dramatic because otherwise there’s no story.”
Erica Jong (b. 1942) is an American novelist, essayist, and poet. She has published more than 25 works of both fiction and non-fiction but is perhaps most known for her 1973 novel ‘Fear of Flying’ which has been translated into more than 40 languages and sold over 27 million copies. The novel was considered controversial due to its portrayal of female sexuality linked to second-wave feminism. In 2015 Jong published the sequel to her debut, ‘Fear of Dying’.
Erica Jong was interviewed by Pejk Malinovski in connection with the Louisiana Literature festival in Denmark, August 2016.
Camera: Klaus Elmer
Edited by Kasper Bech Dyg
Produced by Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017
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