Interview with Dodie Bellamy
(Photo: Ugly Duckling Presse)
The Paris Review has a nice little interview with experimental author Dodie Bellamy. Active for around three decades, Dodie was part of the Bay Area’s New Narrative movement, a loose grouping of writers that tried to test the boundaries of narrative fiction with techniques that were more closely associated with poetry. On her new book, The TV Sutras, out now from Ugly Duckling Presse:
I’m compelled to take risks in my work, to write toward taboo, both content-wise and formally. This can create a lot of anxiety. To keep going I have to shut out my awareness of an audience and throw myself into my fictive world like some outsider artist perv. Think Henry Darger salivating over his nubile cut-outs. When I do that, subject matter becomes sculptural—these bits of material that I manipulate until everything makes sense in this alternate reality. Self-criticism comes in during gaps where I lose my focus, or sometimes when I’m up in front of a room giving a reading and I’m unexpectedly mortified, and there’s nothing else to do but to continue reading with an air of confidence while thinking, How could you write such sick fucking stuff?
For what it’s worth, Coach House Books put out an awesome compendium of writing associated with New Narrative, which I highly recommend if you want to see where the possibilities of fiction might lie.