Interview with Brian Conn
At Raintaxi, there’s an interview with Brian Conn, author of The Fixed Stars, a really wonderful novel—an anthropology of late capitalism, its language and myths. Conn answers Jedediah Berry’s questions about writing the book–structural choices, influences (including Cosmicomics, Marie Redonnet, Brothers Grimm), the interplay of language and math.
Conn wrote about half the book during a summer alone in Hawaii. Of that time he says,
After I finished a section I would wander around for several days trying to think of some event or voice or revelation that would, in some poorly comprehended yet very particular way, contradict everything that I’d already written. I’d discard idea after idea, and then at some point I’d think of an idea and laugh out loud, suddenly and involuntarily, and this idea would be the basis of the next section.
I now think of that summer as a time of intoxicating creativity, and simultaneously of terrifying confusion and despair. I’m sure these two impressions are closely related. I can see the causality flowing in either direction: maybe creativity is actually deeply terrifying, maybe confusion and despair forced me to abandon my usual thinking and reach for something new. Maybe both.