Do you have a favorite-sounding word? My top-five are ointment, bumblebee, Vladivostok, banana, and testicle.


I know you’ve thought (and taught) about the fragment as a mode of writing. I’m wondering how your study of the form influences the way you use it.

While writing a book, I’m influenced by things the same way I would imagine most writers are: I look for what I want to steal, then I steal it, and make my own weird stew of the goods. Often while writing I’d re-read the books by Barthes written in fragments—A Lover’s Discourse, Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes—and see what he gained from an alphabetical, somewhat random organization, and what he couldn’t do that way. I mostly read Wittgenstein, and watched how he used numbered sections to think sequentially, and to jump, in turn. (…) I re-read Haneke’s Sorrow Beyond Dreams, which finally dissolves into fragments, after a fairly strong chronological narrative has taken him so far.

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