Louise DeSalvo Talks with Dr. J

Louise DeSalvo is a prolific writer and editor, as well as the Jenny Hunter Endowed Scholar for Creative Writing and Literature at Hunter College in New York City. She is the author of several acclaimed memoirs, including Vertigo, Breathless and Crazy in the Kitchen. In her latest book, The Art of Slow Writing: Reflections on Time, Craft, and Creativity, she debunks the notion that books are works of genius that can be created all at once. Instead, she champions the value of taking time for reflection, noting that the best writing comes from those who take the time to understand themselves, their subjects and their writing processes.

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Louise DeSalvo (Part 2)

Dr. J:  You’ve written about how a foot injury helped you realize that “hurriedness” had taken over your life. What did you do to change that?

 

Louise DeSalvo:  I go back and forth from knowing how to take care of myself to forgetting how to do it. On any given day I could be anywhere between those two extremes. One thing that’s always amazed me is how we as human beings have to re-learn what we know over and over again. I wish that one day I could wake up and figure out that this is how I need to live my life, and from that time forward everything would just fall into place. One thing that readers of my work often comment on is that they like the fact that I haven’t yet found nirvana. I’m constantly trying to figure it out all over again after I’ve forgotten what I learned.…

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Louise DeSalvo (Part 3)

Dr. J:  As I read your new book, I thought of a teacher who used to say the key to being a good scientist is endless curiosity. Your curiosity has taken you in a variety of directions, from biography, to memoir, writing about cooking and even your father’s wartime experiences. So I’m curious, how do you choose your subjects?

 

Louise DeSalvo:  I’m going to say that stupid thing: I don’t choose them, they choose me. I’m almost always involved in more than one project. At some point, I took a test to see whether or not I had ADD, and in fact I have a classic ADD brain. I get interested in this and that, and another thing. Right now I have several projects in mind, including a book about writing memoir, a book about D.H. Lawrence in Italy and another book about D.H. Lawrence writing Lady Chatterley’s Lover.…

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