My Archival Wanderings: Erica Jong

Hi Writers,
Welcome to my wild rumpus through the Writer’s Digest archives, in which I’m posting an excerpt each day throughout March.

Today’s exhibit: a circa June 1981 WD Interview with poet/bestselling novelist Erica Jong, who had no Fear of Flying (interview by John L. Kern).

WD: What are the differences in disciplines between writing poetry and prose?

JONG: They are very different and they don’t conflict with each other. There is a sense that poetry comes from the intuitive part of the brain. It is much more pleasurable and euphoric than writing a novel. You feel that you are tapping into the source of unconscious creativity. Nearly every poet that you talk to will tell you that it is, in a sense, an automatic process.
Writing a novel is a much more conscious thing. It’s a daily job. You go to your desk at nine in the morning and work until three or four. I would say that one day out of ten you feel euphoric and the words just fly off of your fingers. The other nine days you wonder how the hell you are going to move your heroine from one place to another and what adventures will take place along the way. You find that a good part of your day is taken up inventing and devising and that most of the time you don’t think it is any good.

Join me tomorrow when I realize why my job description listed: “must be able to lift 20 lbs.”

Keep Writing,

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4 thoughts on “My Archival Wanderings: Erica Jong

  1. Kate

    That’s why I like writing in different genres because each has its thrills and difficulties, each has its way to experience art and ideas.

    Have you read Jong’s recnet memoir? I really enjoyed it–it’s kind of gossipy and fun.

    Your entry on drinking writers was interesting. I think your insight that such a story couldn’t be done today is say–we’ve become too "sober" and puritanical.

  2. Lori

    Oh, thank God! An author who tells it the way it really is. The pit-of-the-stomach fear of "What the hell am I doing?" when writing fiction is why I write mostly nonfiction. :))


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