I said that the first dead are our first masters, those who unlock the door for us that opens onto the other side, if only we are willing to bear it. Writing, in its noblest function, is the attempt to unerase, to unearth, to find the primitive picture again, ours, the one that frightens us.
~Helene Cixous, Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing
My early drafts are staggeringly bad. I’m not being falsely modest here, it’s just the way I work, and I’ve had to accept this about myself. The drafts are palimpsests that get deeper and bigger and broader each time I return to them, as the layers accrete. Some of the layers stay and some of them go in the end, but the first drafts are awful, unbelievable. I don’t know how to explain it, except that they have no movement, they don’t go anywhere, there’s no dialogue, nothing happens, they’re shallow, they’re trite. It’s all some kind of strange, wafty cerebration, and I don’t understand where I’m going.
Andrea Barrett (via mttbll)
(Source: theparisreview.org, via mttbll)