Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Nicholson Baker on randomness

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There was also the random-number stage [while writing The Anthologist.] That took a few months. I had all these pieces—probably five hundred, six hundred pages of writing—and I got very constricted. What do I start with? So I decided that each chunklet should be assigned a random number from a random-number generator at a Web site called Random.org. Immediately I could see that the new artificial order was totally wrong. The rational side of me revolted against this horrendous scrambling. I fought back and hacked and slashed and crawled my way back to the order the book needed to be in. But sometimes the randomization forced some good conjunctions—there were some sequences that survived.

Nicholson Baker, to the Paris Review

Written by nevalalee

October 9, 2011 at 8:58 am

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