Saturday, August 28, 2004

Oriana Fallaci on Writing

From The Rage and the Pride (New York: Rizzoli, 2003), pp. 23-24:

I must say that writing is a very serious matter for me: it is not an amusement or an outlet or a relief. It is not [sic] because I never forget that written words can do a lot of good but also a lot of evil, they can heal as much as kill. Read History and you'll see that behind every event of Good or Evil there is a piece of writing. A book, an article, a manifesto, a poem, a song. . . . So I never write rapidly, I never cast away: I am a slow writer, a cautious writer. I'm also an unappeasable writer: I do not resemble those who are always satisfied with their product as if they urinated ambrosia. Moreover I have many manias. I care for the rhythm of the phrase, for the cadence of the page, for the sound of the words: the metrics. And woe betide the assonances, the rhymes, the unwanted repetitions. For the form is important as much as the substance, the content. It is the recipient inside which the substance rests like wine inside a glass, like flour inside a jar, and managing such symbiosis at times blocks my work.

This is from a book in which Oriana speaks her mind on the events of 9/11. The passion of her ambrosial prose, the charm of her Italianate solecisms, kept me up last night. Move over Camille Paglia!