21 November 2003

Susan Sontag ...

Speaking to Ramona Koval, on Books and Writing, Sunday 31/08/2003, Susan Sontag said in passing:

" You know writing, at least for me, it's like giving yourself permission. It's a set of moves, inward moves, where you give yourself permission. The reason everybody isn't a writer is that you don't give yourself permission. That's why people don't sing, why people don't dance. Everyone can dance, everyone can sing, and actually everyone can write something this authentic and powerful and sincere. You may not be able to write about everything, but everybody has something in them that could find language. And powerful and expressive language. We know this when we try to teach children poetry, for instance, in the right way. Children can be wonderful poets. But why do we allow ourselves, and under what circumstances do we allow ourselves to be expressive?

" So I feel in some way my whole writing life is maybe not hiding so much but maybe allowing more of the things that really are me in real life that I don't let in to my books because I'm too shy or embarrassed or whatever. I think a serious person has to have masks. And I'm not talking about absolute transparency here. And a wonderful thing is, an artist of any kind is, of course, constructing masks, multiple masks.

" But I'm moving towards a place where I can be more expressive, and I've discovered a greater variety of masks ..."

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