I just read an interview The Paris Review did with Lorrie Moore.
Here are some highlights referencing art, inspiration, writing short
stories versus novels, but the whole thing was great and should be
read in its entirety... here.
"Certainly bitter emotions can fuel art—all kinds of emotions do. But
one is probably best left assembling a narrative in a state of dispassion;
the passion is, paradoxically, better communicated that way."
"One has to imagine, one has to create (exaggerate, lie, fabricate from
whole cloth and patch together from remnants), or the [story] will not
come alive as art. Of course, what one is interested in writing about
often comes from what one has remarked in one’s immediate world
or what one has experienced oneself or perhaps what one’s friends
have experienced. But one takes these observations, feelings, memories,
anecdotes—whatever—and goes on an imaginative journey with them.
What one hopes to do in that journey is to imagine deeply and well and
thereby somehow both gather and mine the best stuff of the world. A
story is a kind of biopsy of human life. A story is both local, specific,
small, and deep, in a kind of penetrating, layered, and revealing way."
For what is worth to those who want to write stories or simply to know
something of one writer's insight in the writing of short fiction, I have
felt the short-story form as some vitality, some force that begins (and
not necessarily at the beginning), grows in force, reaches a point beyond
which it cannot go without losing force, loses force and declines; stops.
For me, story telling is a rhythm, a charged movement, a chain of pulses
or meters. To write out of life is to catch, in pace, this pulse that beats
in the material of life. If one misses this rhythm, his story does not seem
to "work"; is mysteriously dead; seems to imitate life but has not joined
life. The story is therefore uninteresting to the reader (and truly to the
writer himself), or not clear. I believe this is a good principle to consider.
- William Goyen, The Collected Stories of William Goyen