Reality Hunger

I just finished reading, or skimming, David Shield’s Reality Hunger, A Manifesto. Which, when reviewed by Luc Sante in the NYTimes debates the nature of reality through the forms of memoir, fiction and essay. Sante says, “Reality is a landscape that includes unreal features; being true to reality involves a certain amount of wavering between real and unreal. Likewise originality, if there can ever be any such thing, will inevitably entail a quantity of borrowing, conscious and otherwise.” So Shield’s book includes a “borrowing” of quotes from a range of writers, philosophers, artists and actors (Woody Allen and Larry David). This kind of “revolutionary” writing Sante says, “probably heralds what will be the dominant modes in years and decades to come.”

Mostly I found a lot of good quotes about writing. (Shields recommends readers skip the citations in the back, included at the request of Random House lawyers, he even asks us to grab a pair of scissors and cut along the dotted lines, and there are in fact, dotted lines) but I couldn’t help myself. Here are a few of my favorites:

How can I tell what I think until I see what I say? E.M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel.

Writing enters into us when it gives us information about ourselves we’re in need of at the time we’re reading. Vivian Gornick.

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