Monday, August 8, 1994

Q&A Tobias Wolff: Soldiers

Originally appeared in the Boston Book Review.
( Date approximate).

Q&A Tobias Wolff: Soldiers

I turned into a predator, and one of the things I became predatory about was experience. I fetishized it, collected it, kept strict inventory . . . and of all experiences the most bankable was military service.
   In Pharaoh's Army: Memories of the Lost War (1994)

HB: At the end of In Pharaoh’s Army you write “I was saving my life with every word I wrote, and I knew it.” That’s a strong statement about your early commitment to literature.

TW: It wasn’t just literature either. I think I was talking about work. Let’s remember I was coming out of four years in the army, and though the army advertises itself as the place where you go to become a man, actually it’s a place where boys go to remain boys. Everything is done for you. You never have to find a place to live. You never have to cook a meal. You never have to worry about running out of money before the end of a month. In other words, you can continue to live the life of a child in the army.

Monday, August 1, 1994

Q&A Susanna Kaysen: Fame, Pain, & Girl, Interrupted

Originally appeared in the Boston Book Review.
(Date Approximate.)

HB: So what’s worse, Susanna, fame or nuttiness?

SK: Fame.

HB: Why?

SK: There’s no outcome to fame except becoming unfamous, whereas nuttiness leads to insight. Not that you get better from nuttiness. I’m not any better than I was, but I understand myself better. I understand why I am the same way I always was.