Flash queen

In an archived 1997 interview with Francine Prose, Lydia Davis discusses her longstanding interest in Samuel Beckett and the writing of Break it Down. Here’s an excerpt:

The earliest [stories in Break It Down] were written about ten or twelve years before they were published. They were written when I was in France after college. I was having trouble writing a traditional narrative story. There was one long story that I worked on endlessly. Looking back at the notebooks, I realize it took me over two years to finish it, trying another version and another version. In the meantime, I started doing these very short stories to break myself out of the rut of not writing or resisting writing. I told myself: You have to write two tiny stories every day. It didn’t matter how silly they were, I just had to finish two one-paragraph stories.

(Via Caterina.)

Links to Davis’ short-short stories “What Was Interesting” and “How He Is Often Right I & II,” and to her essay on the New Testament, are embedded in the interview.

McSweeney’s dedicated a week to Ms. Davis a couple of years ago. Salon interviewed Davis back in 1997, and reprinted “The Professor,” a short story from Almost No Memory.


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