Absorption and Abandonment

Once you catch the idea for an extended narration—drama or novel–and if that idea is firmly within you, then the writing brings you perhaps not so much pleasure as a deep absorption. … You see, my wastepaper basket is filled with works that went a quarter through and which turned out to be among those things that failed to engross the whole of me. And then, for a while, there’s a very agonizing period of time in which I try to explore whether the work I’ve rejected cannot be reoriented in such a way as to absorb me. The decision to abandon it is hard.

Thornton Wilder, Playwright, born April 17, 1897–December 7, 1975

Source: “Thornton Wilder, The Art of Fiction No. 16” interviewed by R. H. Goldstone


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