Tag Archives: Lydia Davis

What am I doing here?

INTERVIEWER

In the recent story “Writing,” the narrator says, “Life is too serious for me to go on writing.” Do you feel that way? Could you ever stop writing?

Lydia DAVIS

I do stop for periods. But I can’t see stopping altogether, just because I enjoy it so much. I have posed myself that question. If you were alone on a desert island and there were no more world and no more people, would you go on writing? Supposing I had the pen and paper, I probably would.

Like a lot of my stories, that one just followed one momentary thought—What am I doing here, putting odd sentences together and creating some little piece of nonsense, when people are dying on the other side of the world and our government’s going to damnation? It’s something that a lot of ­artists, I’m sure, feel at one time or another, that they’re wasting time or doing something frivolous. So instead of answering myself and ignoring it, I wrote it out as a little thought. I didn’t know how much value to give to that story, but I showed it to a very severe critic and she liked it, so I decided it passed.

(from here)

Paris Review Spring 2015 No. 212

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Childhood influences

‘I was brought up in a violin factory and when I had a fight with my brothers and sisters we even used to hit one another with violins.’ Lydia Davis, Extracts from a  Life 

 

Louise Bourgeois’s  mother ran a tapestry restoration workshop in Choisy-le-Roi and, later, in Antony.

‘My mother would sit out in the sun and repair a tapestry or petit point. She really loved it. This sense of reparation is very deep within me.’

(from here) 

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Affinities

We feel an affinity with a certain thinker because we agree with him; or because he shows us what we were already thinking; or because he shows us in a more articulate form what we were already thinking; or because he shows us what we were on the point of thinking; or what we would sooner or later have thought; or what we would have thought much later if we hadn’t read it now; or what we would have been likely to think but never would have thought if we hadn’t read it now; or what we would have liked to think but never would have thought if we hadn’t read it now. Lydia Davis, Almost No Memory

 

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Patience with Chaos

‘Do what you want to do and don’t worry if it is a little  odd or doesn’t fit the market.’

Lydia Davis advice to young writers ,on you tube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPMGqYyKnEs

 

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Woman in red dress (2)

Standing near me is a tall woman in a dark red dress. She has a dazed, rather blank expression on her face. She might be drugged, or this is simply her habitual expression. I am a little afraid of her. A red snake in front of me rears up and threatens me, at the same time changing form once or twice, acquiring tentacles like a squid, etc. Behind it is a large puddle of water in the middle of a broad path. To protect me from the snake, the woman in the red dress lays three broad-brimmed red hats down on the surface of the puddle of water.  Lydia Davis, The Woman in Red,   Dream

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On Pretending Not To Know

                                   The Piano

We are about to buy a new piano.Our old upright has a crack

all the way through the sounding board, and other problems.

We would like the piano shop to take it and resell it, but they

tell us it is too badly damaged and cannot be resold to anyone

else. They say it will have to be pushed over a cliff. This is how

they will do it: Two truck drivers take it to a remote spot. One

driver walks away down the lane with his back turned while

the other shoves it over the cliff.

                                                                                                              dream  

Lydia  Davis, Can’t and Won’t    

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The woman in red

Standing near me is a tall woman in a dark red dress. She has a dazed, rather blank expression on her face. She might be drugged, or this is simply her habitual expression. I am a little afraid of her. A red snake in front of me rears up and threatens me, at the same time changing form once or twice, acquiring tentacles like a squid, etc. Behind it is a large puddle of water in the middle of a broad path. To protect me from the snake, the woman in the red dress lays three broad-brimmed red hats down on the surface of the puddle of water.

Lydia Davis, The Woman in Red  

Dream  

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mothers

For years my mother said I was selfish, careless, irresponsible, etc. She was often annoyed. If I argued, she held her hands over her ears. She did what she could to change me but for years I did not change, or if I changed, I could not be sure I had, because a moment never came when my mother said, “You are no longer selfish, careless, irresponsible, etc.” Now I’m the one who says to myself, “Why can’t you think of others first, why don’t you pay attention to what you’re doing, why don’t you remember what has to be done?” I am annoyed. I sympathize with my mother. How difficult I am! But I can’t say this to her, because at the same time that I want to say it, I am also here on the phone coming between us, listening and prepared to defend myself.                                                   Lydia Davis, How Difficult

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