The Telling of What is Being Told

“I can’t say that I can see any faces behind the names and the words that I am calling forth out of the alphabet. I can see and hear the words on the page but not much more than that. I don’t think too much about the who — the characters — who move in and around these landscapes. I don’t bother to think too much, either, about the what. I tend to pay closest attention to how the telling of what is being told is being shaped, the contours and textures of the sentence, and I have an unflinching level of trust that story will emerge organically by subverting character and causality and plot in favor of style and musicality and voice. Language, for me, in my hands, is raw and elemental and ornamental and if you play around with it long enough or hold it tenderly and reverently in your hands and look and listen to it close enough it’s only a matter of time before good things start to take shape around it.”
Peter Markus, “Fiction as Magic, Language as Spell: Peter Markus with Lily Hoang,” The Brooklyn Rail 3 February 2015

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