The Seriousness of Novelists

I was reading an interview of Cormac McCarthy the other day, and in usual fashion he came across as quite the serious dude. Among other things, he had this to say:

“I’m not interested in writing short stories. Anything that doesn’t take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing.”

I am not sure how I feel about this. It is at once ridiculous; yet I do have some sympathy for the concept as it relates to writing novels. After reading The White Tiger and loving it, I decided to try some short stories by Aravind Adiga. But they were a bunch of snoozers–it was almost like he wrote it hoping people would buy it on the strength of his first novel. Can great art (and especially great literature) be produced flippantly? Whatever the case, I do think it true that it is very difficult to produce in a classroom setting–for nothing stifles creativity like a creative writing class.



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