Gaitskill Essay

Gaitskill Essay-8
While I love animals, especially cats, I am not a nut about it in general. At first I said, “I don’t know if I have anything to say on that subject.” But at the time, I was working on the longer piece.Both my degree of attachment and the depth of it for Gattino were unusually strong. I found your was that an editor contacted me on some issue they were doing focused on “How To Love Better,” or something like that. I told the editor, “I don’t know if it’s going to work, but I’ll write this thing, and you can use it or not.” They found it useful.

While I love animals, especially cats, I am not a nut about it in general. At first I said, “I don’t know if I have anything to say on that subject.” But at the time, I was working on the longer piece.Both my degree of attachment and the depth of it for Gattino were unusually strong. I found your was that an editor contacted me on some issue they were doing focused on “How To Love Better,” or something like that. I told the editor, “I don’t know if it’s going to work, but I’ll write this thing, and you can use it or not.” They found it useful.

This piece feels much more intimate, more like one of your short stories. I would in fact call this piece memoir as opposed to a personal essay.

Yes, those two pieces are from very early on in terms of my development in writing nonfiction. Human motives are very convoluted and hard to clarify in terms of what is true or false. True feeling is often hidden under superficial or more attractive feelings; selfish motives are often wound up with truly altruistic ones. To me a personal essay might use your own experience, even in an intimate way, but the personal experience is secondary to the topic of the essay, which you’re using to explain your point of view on a subject. You once wrote in an essay about Nabokov that “an accepting and at times dispassionate approach to feeling allows for an understanding of both tenderness and cruelty.” Is it strange to use that approach in writing about your own life and your own motivations?

I don’t know if I have a good answer to that question.

From one of the most singular presences in American fiction comes a searingly intelligent book of essays on matters literary, social, cultural, and personal.

If someone told me a story about a cat, it wouldn’t occur to me to have an opinion on what happened. Then I started calling shelters, and finding out there are these services, very expensive ones that help find lost animals. For example, there’s my sister, a sensible, fairly traditional person, very intelligent but fairly conventional in how she sees reality.

I was telling her about what happened, but instead of talking common sense to me, she began to tell me about her mother-in-law who played a card game with these women who cursed her.

As I said in the essay, I was sad about the cat all in itself.

But a smaller loss, an attachment to an animal, affects you in an unguarded place.

I associated him with my father very soon after picking him up, maybe because I had never been to Italy before and my father loved Italy, spoke Italian, and read it almost up to the time of his death. When you began, did you know you wanted to touch on your father and the children you had made a part of your life—or was it initially just about Gattino? What struck me—the thing that compelled me to write the essay was that I was very surprised by how profoundly upset I was.

Also, there was a certain comedy or strangeness in so many people who were willing to offer their opinions, who had an idea what happened to him.

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