뉴욕에서 발행되는 ‘파리리뷰 the Paris Review’. 이 잡지는 작가들을 반세기 넘게 인터뷰 해왔다. 헤밍웨이, 포크너 부터 하루키, 쿤데라 등 대가라고 불릴 수 있는 작가들이다. 이 인터뷰 들은 최근 한국에도 ‘작가란 무엇인가’ 라는 제목의 책으로 번역되었다.
원문은 온라인에 공개되어있다. (한국기준으로) 유명한 작가 인터뷰는 ‘작가란 무엇인가’에 대부분 번역되어 있다. 하지만 전부는 아니고, 또 영어 원문이 궁금한 사람이 있을지 몰라서 링크를 걸어둔다.
최근 살만 루슈디의 인터뷰를 읽었는데, 눈에 들어온 부분이 있어서 옮겨둔다. 그가 글쓰는 과정에 대한 이야기이다. 역시나 글은 엉덩이로 쓰는구나 싶었다. 귀찮아서 번역은 안했다. 궁금한 분은 책을 사보시길.
(image source: commons.wikimedia.org)
Can you talk about your procedure when you sit down at the desk?
If you read the press you might get the impression that all I ever do is go to parties. Actually, what I do for hours, every day of my life, is sit in a room by myself. When I stop for the day I always try to have some notion of where I want to pick up. If I’ve done that, then it’s a little easier to start because I know the first sentence or phrase. At least I know where in my head to go and look for it. Early on, it’s very slow and there are a lot of false starts. I’ll write a paragraph, and then the next day I’ll think, Nah, I don’t like that at all, or, I don’t know where it belongs, but it doesn’t belong here. Quite often it will take me months to get underway. When I was younger, I would write with a lot more ease than I do now, but what I wrote would require a great deal more rewriting. Now I write much more slowly and I revise a lot as I go. I find that when I’ve got a bit done, it seems to require less revision than it used to. So it’s changed. I’m just looking for something that gives me a little rush, and if I can get that, get a few hundred words down, then that’s got me through the day.
Do you get up in the morning and start writing first thing?
Yes, absolutely. I don’t have any strange, occult practices. I just get up, go downstairs, and write. I’ve learned that I need to give it the first energy of the day, so before I read the newspaper, before I open the mail, before I phone anyone, often before I have a shower, I sit in my pajamas at the desk. I do not let myself get up until I’ve done something that I think qualifies as working. If I go out to dinner with friends, when I come home I go back to the desk before going to bed and read through what I did that day. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is to read through what I did the day before. No matter how well you think you’ve done on a given day, there will always be something that is underimagined, some little thing that you need to add or subtract—and I must say, thank God for laptops, because it makes it a lot easier. This process of critically rereading what I did the day before is a way of getting back inside the skin of the book. But sometimes I know exactly what I want to do and I sit down and start on it. So there’s no rule.