In the real world, banks extend credit, creating deposits in the process, and look for the reserves later

December 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

in-the-061212

BLVR: I imagine it would be difficult to write nonfiction, because you have to have such an authority to say, “This is what the world is.” How can you really have the authority to say, “I know enough and I’ve seen enough to be able to conclude things about the world”?

JD: Well, you have to just gain that confidence. Which is part of what you do over the course of your whole career. I mean, you become confident that you have—this sounds ridiculous, but you become confident that you have the answer.

BLVR: Do you remember the point—

JD: —at which you get that confidence?

BLVR: Well, for you.

JD: For me it probably occurred fairly late, when I started getting feedback from the audience. Feedback in terms of a response. Well, it wasn’t fairly late. It was fairly early [laughs] when I started getting a response from the audience, otherwise I wouldn’t have had the nerve to continue.

BLVR: And where would you situate that? Around which book, say?

JD: I would say it happened at Play It as It Lays. Which was, when? My third book. And I remember my husband saying, when Play It as It Lays was about to come out, “This isn’t going to—you’re never going to—you’re never going to—this book isn’t going to make it.” And I didn’t think it was going to make it, either. And suddenly it did make it, in a minor way. And from that time on I had more confidence.

BLVR: Why did you both feel like it wasn’t going to make it?

JD: Because it was my third book and I had not made it until then. And you don’t see—I mean, you don’t think in terms of suddenly making it. You think you have some stable talent which will show no matter what you’re writing, and if it doesn’t seem to be getting across to the audience once, you can’t imagine that moment when it suddenly will.

BLVR: Play It as It Lays was fiction, but that confidence translated into other kinds of writing as well.

JD: Yeah. What happened was I started doing a lot of reporting that gradually came to get noticed, so I was asked to do other things. Gradually, gradually you gain that confidence. Well, you know. You’ve been through this.

BLVR: Yes, it’s gradual. It stuck in my head when your husband said, “It’s not going to make it.” Did that hurt your feelings to hear that, or was that simply the way—

JD: No, it didn’t hurt my feelings. It was, I thought, a realistic assessment. Which I certainly agreed with.

BLVR: What was the first sign that there was going to be a real response?

JD: I don’t remember exactly what it was, but suddenly people were talking about this book. Not in a huge way, but in a way that I hadn’t experienced before.  read more

PHOTOGRAPH: Jennilee Marigomen

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