interview

are you getting mellow? he asked.
yes, I said.
do you re-write?
yes.
did you used to re-write?
no.
do you stick to form?
yes.
don’t you think that something is lost in
re-writing, that something is lost in
sticking to form?
yes, I do.
do you think you’ll be able to continue to write
in this big house?   and are you?
yes.   and am I what?
writing in this house?
yes.
have you stopped running with all those
women?
yes.
what will you write about?
one woman, and the other things.
but you’ve created this image…
have I?
yes.   how was Paris?
large, filled with gas-fumes and people.
do you have friends?
there’s a doctor, a lawyer and a maitre d’.
it’s not like it used to be.
what do you mean?
I mean, you used to run with bums.
oh, relax, these guys are bums.
now you have 3 bathrooms.
yes, I piss in one, bathe in the other, shit in the
3rd.
but don’t you fear…
oh yes, I always have.
why did you get these mortgage payments on your back?
tax-write off.
you once wrote that all a man needed was what he could carry
in one suitcase.
I still think that’s true.
do you think you’re getting soft?
yes.
are you writing as well as you once did?
better.
how can that be?
believe me, I don’t understand it either.
do you have any advice for young writers?
get old.
do you have any advice for old writers?
yes.   never consider anything you wrote yesterday as
important or good.
do you consider anything important?
oh, yes.
what do you consider important?
having great areas of time in which to do nothing at
all and to have the ability to do that.
why do you drink so much?
I don’t know.
have you ever analyzed it?
no, I’m afraid I’d start worrying about my god damned
liver.
what will you do when you can’t write any more?
fuck.
I mean, really.
well, really I’m like most writers:
I won’t believe it.
who is the worst writer you’ve ever read?
well, there are two of them.
who?
George Bernard Shaw and Theodore Dreiser.
why are they so bad?
just bad for me, you understand.
but why?
just a reaction.   maybe they worked in areas
I’m not fitted for.
you’re being kind.
I’m a kind person.
many of your readers don’t think so.
what you you think?
I think you’re getting tired.
tiredness often helps create kindness.   do you think I’m
finished?
I’ll know when I read your next work.
how will I know when you’re finished?
I don’t pose as a writer.
what do you pose as?
your interviewer.
I think you’re a fairly good one.   when will I know
when you’re finished?
I think we’re both finished now, he said,
turning off the tape machine.