the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

maggie nelson on sentimentality and taking risks in writing (and life)

Posted by rigorousm on September 29, 2014

Is it important to risk sentimentality?

Some writing doesn’t brush up against sentimentality as often as other writing. But whatever “bad” edge your writing brushes up against, I think it’s important to touch it. You can always pull back from it, but at least you know where it is. It’s like when I was a dancer, we were always encouraged to fall in rehearsal, so that you could know what the tipping point of any given movement was. That way, when you did it on the stage, you could be sure you were taking it to the edge without falling on your face. It sounds like a cliché, but really it’s just physics — if you don’t touch the fulcrum, you’ll never gain a felt sense of it, and your movement will be impoverished for it.

— Interview with Bookslut (link to full text)

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