Tony Kushner on writing

 I could tell you that in an occupation the chief demand of which is to try hard to tell the truth, momentary truth or permanent, to generate meaning, one of the surest paths away from success, however you define it, and toward failure is to allow yourself knowingly, willingly, opportunistically to lie.

Trying every day to tell the truth is hard. There are harder things, of course—arguably, living with lies and meaninglessness, living in despair is harder, but it’s hardship disguised as luxury and easier perhaps to grow accustomed to, since truth is usually the enemy of custom. 

all of us write to serve ambitions we hold in common. We write to negotiate our own relationships with momentariness and permanence, to speak with the dead, to bring them back to life, or try to, and of course we always fail to bring them back, and we call that failure art. Perhaps you’re like me in clinging for dear life to an uncertainty, sometimes powerful, sometimes faint, regarding the purpose and importance of what a writer or any artist does. Perhaps you share with me a reluctance to investigate that purpose and power too extensively, deeply, closely. Perhaps like me you cherish the lingering question: Is this thing that I do superfluous? Perhaps it is. And perhaps like me you agree with Bertolt Brecht when he wrote, “It’s the superfluous for which we live.”

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