Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The connections, vol. XXVI

At "Weekend Update," he said he was "doing a specific experiment, where I was trying to strip all cleverness from the joke and try to make it as blunt as possible." He added, "I always told everybody the perfect joke would be where the setup and punchline were identical."
—Norm Macdonald in the New York Times today

When I was younger, the main struggle was to be a “good writer.” Now I more or less take my writing abilities for granted, although this doesn’t mean I always write well. And, by a wide margin, I’ve never felt less self- consciously preoccupied with language than I did when I was writing Freedom. Over and over again, as I was producing chapters, I said to myself, “This feels nothing like the writing I did for twenty years—this just feels transparent.” … I was admittedly somewhat conscious that this was a good sign—that it might mean that I was doing something different, pressing language more completely into the service of providing transparent access to the stories I was telling and to the characters in those stories. But it still felt like a leap into the void.
—Jonathan Franzen in The Paris Review

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