Michael Martone on “the fabrication business”
August 26, 2008 § 5 Comments
From Dinty W. Moore, BREVITY EDITOR:
I am a staunch fan of Michael Martone — love his writing, love the way that he pushes the envelope for all of us. At the same time, I still think that genre — is this fiction or nonfiction — does matter, and I sink dejectedly into my seat every time Martone (pictured on the right, at a recent AWP Conference) suggests it does not. So he makes me uncomfortable, which, since we are in the business of making art, is actually a decidedly good thing.
So to keep the discomfort going, here’s an excerpt from a fascinating interview with Martone, wherein he makes some strong points suggesting that genre-conservatives like myself are all wrong-headed about this insistence on the ‘truth’ distinction:
“I want to think of what I do as writing and let the speciation to others. Many artists draw, use watercolor, paint in oils, sculpt, construct, assemble, paste. They mix their media but it is all seen as art, and issues of its fact or fiction seem beside the point to me. Well at least beside the point when the thing is in the making. I am in the fabrication business and there are different gradients on that scale of fiction and non-, I suppose, but none I worry about as I am doing them. I have a fiction in the voice of Dan Quayle who is writing an essay; a book about Michael Martone written by Michael Martone in the voice and form of his, Michael Martone’s, biographer; I have an essay in the voice of Michael Martone on the fictional creation of a character named Bobby Knight. To me the differences are in the details at a microscopic scale, not at the much larger one of genre.”
Read the rest of the interesting interview over at THE QUARTERLY CONVERSATION.