Gass in the BookForum

The Dec/Jan 2006 BOOKFORUM arrived in today’s mail, and it includes a delightful and heady essay by William H. Gass called “The Sentence Seeks Its Form: What can we do to find out how writing is written?” A few quotes:

“The sentence, seeking its form, must pass through the belly and bowel without irritation, as though it belonged in that dim hallway, as though it was – as though it were – on skis, on rails, on call, on a mission.”

“Ah, but I have a story to tell, characters to create, a plot to contrive, you may, with incautious confidence, insist. No. That’s what moviemakers do. They make hokum. You do not tell a story; your fiction will do that when your fiction is finished. What you make is music, and because your sounds are carriers of concepts, you make conceptual music, too.”

The issue also features Clare Cavanagh on Czeslaw Milosz. Should be a treat. Gass’s essay, by the way, is an adapted version of one appearing in “A Temple of Texts,” due out from Knopf in February 2006.