Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Lighting the torch

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Jeffrey Eugenides

Interviewer: At what point do you feel comfortable giving drafts to other people to read?

Eugenides: Extremely late. Years and years go by without anyone seeing anything. I want my mistakes to become obvious to me before anyone else has to suffer reading them, so I never feel the need to show anything for a long time…But I don’t know if it’s the most effective way to work. I think I’m so scared the book is going to be bad that I don’t want anyone to see it until I’ve fixed everything that can be fixed. And you can keep fixing things ad infinitum.

Interviewer: How much revising do you do in proofs?

Eugenides: Usually I’m turning the book in at the last minute. I always say it’s like the Greek Olympics—“Hope the torch lights.”

Jeffrey Eugenides, to James Gibbons in The Paris Review

Written by nevalalee

August 23, 2015 at 7:35 am

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