The interview as a tool for aspiring writers

The interview as a tool for aspiring writers

The interview, at least from my utilitarian experience, became an important tool to find directives and discussions that could pass unnoticed by me.

If you, like me, try to write literature, then the lack of people with whom to discuss your efforts is probably a constant. I know that the internet exists to deal with this, but here I’m talking about a more helpful contact that also provides relevant content. Some time ago I discovered that the interviews given by other writers could be a midterm between talk and a more profound reading. There’s this certain informality of the dialogue, but also a lot of good content if you know where to find these interviews. All of this in a shorter format and without making you read an entire book about one theme at a time.

Rascunho literary newspaper and book

Rascunho literary newspaper and book

The usefulness that I see in interviews is the reason for why I share some interviews here, like the one of Lygia Fagundes Telles or Borges. Recently I won a copy from Rascunho’s book with the best interviews published by them. I’ve read this book so fast that know I can only go after the second volume.

However, both the preface signed by Luís Henrique Pellanda, the book organizer, and my experience reading interviews called my attention to an essential factor that sometimes can go unnoticed: the interviewer. It is not rare to see an interview ruined by lack of ability. In a good interview the knowledge and questions chosen by the interviewer should work together to allow the most interesting answers from the interviewed. 

Roland Barthes already questioned the limits between the author and his works and this also applies to writer’s interviews. The content of the answer must be seen with some distance and that’s why I consider it a different contact than that allowed by books and essays, even when it’s an interview via e-mail. On interviews a lot of writers are hesitant to comment their own books or the avoid to give too many details about characters and creative processes. They make it clear: the interview’s communication shouldn’t complement the written work. Beyond that we must bear in mind the instantaneity of the interview and the difference between the written and the oral answer, even when transcribed. 

The interview, at least from my utilitarian experience, became an important tool to find directives and discussions that could pass unnoticed by me. Clearly, the format, that is usually short, contribute to certain limitations in the approach deepness, although this aspect can be managed outside the interview genre. As a tool it’s a less impersonal reading to be arranged between studies and other harder readings. However, even with the utility I pointed here, I suspect that this is only a minor use of this kind of text.