Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dorothy Allison at the S.F. Writers Conference

Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina, gave the keynote speech at the conference. Here is an encouraging quote:

“They will say to you that publishing is dead. But after the Black Death comes the Renaissance. After everything changes, we go back to essentials. And this is what I believe is essential: We’re lonely. We’re scared. Some of us have insomnia. We get up in the night, and we walk back and forth. You can only watch television so long. PDX 90? Damned if I’m doin’ exercises in the night. Oprah? I already saw the show. No, no, no. I get up in the night, an’ I need a story. I need a book. I need somebody to invite me into a world they have imagined whole. Or stolen. I genuinely don’t care. Just take me there. Ride me on language. Charm me. Fascinate me. Scare me or excite me, but take me out of myself. We are lonely. We are scared. We need story. That does not change.”

At the end of her talk, Allison quoted Vladimir Nabokov: “I don’t write to change people. I don’t write to make a difference. I write to make that still, small sob in the spine.” Allison then said, “That is not about money. That is not about prices. That is about that immediate, intimate connection.” She paused and everyone waited, absorbed in what she had said and would say, “Let the culture, let the economics, run behind me. I know what I’m doin’. I write to make that still, small sob in the spine.”

She received a standing ovation.

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