“these things don’t happen in straight lines”

Mainly the reaction was, what is this? What are you doing? This isn’t a novel. This isn’t fiction. This isn’t straight criticism. It’s all mixed up. Or this criticism is too personal or too critical about the wrong things. But the minute I would call Beauty Talk nonfiction people would accept the terms that I using. So it was always about how I was categorizing that book. What I was calling it. That would determine how people would respond to the book and its ethos, which I always thought was absurd. If I called it nonfiction, if I called it essays, if I called it criticism, people accepted the book more. But if I said it was fiction, people would say, Well, this is not what fiction does. Fiction does this and criticism does this, and you have to keep these things separate and clear. But I am really not interested in keeping things separate. Not in my work and not in my life either. I’m interested in looking at them and putting them together because I think one of the problems with Western culture in general is that everything is reduced to binaries and categories because it keeps us from fundamentally being able to make valuable links. To connect the dots. … I think it is a lack of imagination if people don’t know what to do with a text unless a writer is constantly defining and simplifying it for them.


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