The World Is Already Filled to Bursting

Lawrence Weschler on why he doesn’t write fiction:

[T]he part of my sensibility which I demonstrate in nonfiction makes fiction an impossible mode for me. That’s because for me the world is already filled to bursting with interconnections, interrelationships, consequences, and consequences of consequences. The world as it is is overdetermined: the web of all those interrelationships is dense to the point of saturation. That’s what my reporting becomes about: taking any single knot and worrying out the threads, tracing the interconnections, following the mesh through into the wider, outlying mesh, establishing the proper analogies, ferreting out the false strands. If I were somehow to be forced to write a fiction about, say, a make-believe Caribbean island, I wouldn’t know where to put it, because the Caribbean as it is is already full––-there’s no room in it for any fictional islands. Dropping one in there would provoke a tidal wave, and all other places would be swept away.

(That’s from the preface—or, rather, the “In Lieu of a Preface”—to his 2005 collection, Vermeer in Bosnia.)

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