The reknowned editor Gordon Lish is interviewed by Christian Lorentzen in The Paris Review , No. 215, Winter 2015
CL If you don’t think of yourself as a writer, how come there are books out there with your name on them?
GL Because I could get away with it and because it was persuasive to women. I think I’m an editor, a reviser. I think I’m a teacher. Not a writer. My son Atticus is a writer. I have the view that, in a word, in a breath, in a turn, the sublime can be created. I can do that in revising. As an editor, I stand by my taste and not by anybody else’s. Am prepared to run riot exercising my druthers. Am also, as a writer, just as convinced of my elections. But regarding talent, nah, I have nothing of consequence, although I’m a sucker for my own work.
CL Was it ever your ambition to approach the sublime?
GL Oh sure. But never came close. You have to have an interest in the world to capture the sublime. I’m not interested in the world. You have to have an interest in people. Apart from my relations as a father, a husband, a lover, I’m not interested in people. I’m not really terribly interested in anybody else’s heart or mind, or even in my own. The great affection of my latter years, I attend to her bearing but not as I imagine others would and do. I’m not exactly autistic, but if you called me that, I wouldn’t object. Hey, I’ve been fired from every job I’ve ever had. I can manage, if I choose to manage, but I don’t choose to. Really, the society of others – certain friends, family and lovers aside – is not a prominent need in me.To bring about the kind of work that has been brought about by a person we would cite as possessed of the power to sweep us away, one would have to be interested in others, in nature, in the machinery of the given. One would have to be interested in what’s without. I so often don’t even notice it. If I were to walk to the grocery, I will glance at a woman on the way but walk right past a war breaking out, not thinking anything of it. I would note a datum in the margin. Not so with DeLillo, for example, his apprehension of the details of the world. Not so with Cormac McCarthy. I’m a poseur, a potzer – not a writer in the sense that matters. Shit, are you kidding? The sublime.
CL You brought it up, the sublime. (from here)
Gordon Lish interviewed by Christian Lorentzen Sunday 6 December 2015 , The Guardian