Melissa Febos

Melissa Febos Recommends...

Writers Recommend

Posted 2.13.13

“Is it old fashioned to recommend love as a writing prescription? I could say a lot about the mind-quieting effects of long-distance running, regular meditation, and a well-crafted soundtrack, but what about the mind-blooming madness of love? I’m talking about the crazy kind, not the long-suffering wife who silently delivers tea to your desk and keeps your calendar. I’m talking about a heart torn open, in falling, in breaking, in longing, in pining, in mid-swoon mania. A little mania has always done wonders for artists, in work if not in life. If we met our characters with the endless curiosity we bring to our lovers’ bodies, we could hardly fail to conjure them in all dimensions. If we could direct love’s inexhaustible obsession, its hunger for possession to our language, how could we not hammer it to perfection? Passion is the desire to consume what we cannot, not completely. And writing is the effort to name what we cannot, not exactly. The agony of their impossibility is what drives us, so why not drive one into the other? So long as I’m not driven to distraction, I find they make an industrious pair.”
Melissa Febos, author of Whip Smart (Thomas Dunne Books, 2011)