INTERVIEWER

Are you still taping storytellers whom you meet in cafés?

BOWLES

There aren’t any more. All that’s completely changed. There’s a big difference just between the sixties and seventies. For instance, in the sixties people still sat in cafés with a sebsi [pipe] and told stories and occasionally plucked an oud or a guimbri. Now practically every café has television. The seats are arranged differently and no one tells any stories. They can’t because the television is going. No one thinks of stories. If the eye is going to be occupied by a flickering image, the brain doesn’t feel a lack. It’s a great cultural loss. It’s done away with both the oral tradition of storytelling and whatever café music there was.

Source: Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 67, Paul Bowles

Let’s not forget that writing is convenient. It requires the simplest tools. A young writer sees that with words and sentences on a piece of paper that costs less than a penny he can place himself more clearly in the world. Words on a page, that’s all it takes to help him separate himself from the forces around him, streets and people and pressures and feelings. He learns to think about these things, to ride his own sentences into new perceptions. How much of this did I feel at the time? Maybe just an inkling, an instinct. Writing was mainly an unnameable urge, an urge partly propelled by the writers I was reading at the time.

via Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 135, Don DeLillo.

via Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 135, Don DeLillo.

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