For instance the first few pages of your essay “Late Victorians” covers gay pride parades, the relationship between the geography of San Francisco and the different meanings people attach to the city, Victorian architecture in the context of the socio-economic history of San Francisco, and the beginning of the AIDS epidemic.In the first few pages of your essay “Peter’s Avocado,” you travel from the moralistic underpinnings of vegetarianism, to hate crimes, to American history.Richard Rodriguez grew up in California, the son of immigrant Mexican parents.Tags: Colleges With Good Creative Writing Programs In TexasHow To Do A Market Analysis For A Business PlanCritical Thinking ApplicationInterdisciplinary Thesis TuftsOverpopulation ResearchEssay Using Handphone In School
It’s a case of “How do I know what I think until I have written it down”. I write sometimes for newspapers and magazines of various sorts. If I am writing for a mass television audience obviously I am governed by rules of clarity and simplicity of diction (since most TV viewers will hear what I say but will not read my words).
The surprises for me always reveal themselves in the process of writing and seeing a topic over and over until something that is appealing and new—a metaphor, a helpful insight, a lovely sentence—suddenly shines through. The most ancient notions of writing propose that the writer is more passive than active. Thomas Aquinas says that writing is a kind of prayer, leaving oneself open, utterly vulnerable, to inspiration or God. If I am writing a literary essay that will probably be read by a small number of readers, obviously I can experiment with writing of a denser sort.
Latin connected me with the Church universal, and also with generations long dead.
Colloquial English by contract “only” connected me with the living.
I was in graduate school, preparing to become a teacher of English—probably at the college level—when I found myself the uneasy beneficiary of affirmative action.
Ultimately, I left the university (and abandoned my teaching plans) in protest against affirmative action.
And, because (since September 11th) religion is now the largest issue of our time, I find myself writing about religion—its madness, its glory, its dangers and possibilities.
SL: Many writers think of nonfiction as a stultifying genre, one constrained by facts.
In one of your previous interviews you commented that you consider fiction to be the constrained genre. RR: I don’t exactly think of fiction as a “constrained genre.” It is more simply that fiction is, for me, less intriguing than non-fiction. And I write always within the unforgiving borders of non-fiction.
I read histories and biographies and memoirs and essays. As a writer I am interested in the ways that the poetic impulse can be utilized in our writing of issues we normally consign to the social sciences and to journalism.