On Lessing and Wanting More

In reading Lessing, I realize I will have to write literary fiction. I feel a little sick at the prospect, knowing the failure waiting for me in the effort. And I must start now; when I was younger I kept thinking I could wait until, suddenly, magically, I would be a better writer. And I never was, so I could keep waiting.

What I’d like to write about is the grand and petty illusions we live in, madness, and children. Quite a few people have taken on illusions–it’s part of the American story is failing at the American Dream: I will not be able to match their abilities. Many have written on madness, but mostly I find the accounts wanting. And with children there seems a giant silence, like we are all unable to get to close. Perhaps because it’s been women’s work, which mean the stories are only ever rendered in saccharine and shame.

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