— Yiyun Li,
author of Where Reasons End (Random House, February)
Why do you write? I would feel awfully lonely if I stopped. What does a perfect writing day feel like to you? Coffee at 6 AM, some reading— Shakespeare or Tolstoy—between 6 and 7 AM, and after that writing till 11 AM, then reading for the rest of the day. Such a perfect day rarely happens.
What has changed you as a writer? The constant realization that I am limited in my imagination or understanding of the world. It makes me feel much more patient with the world and with myself. What do you turn to when you feel like you’re losing faith? Moby-Dick. I often go back to reread the novel when I feel listless, disappointed, or feeling that I’m losing faith.
Who do you think of when you find yourself avoiding the page? I haven’t really avoided the page. What would you say to someone who doesn’t believe writing matters? I’m sorry for your loss. How do you challenge yourself to grow as a writer? I read the dictionary. All those words I don’t know and haven’t used! What would you say to the ten-year-old you?
The world won’t become better, but you’ll find more ways to deal with it.
“I believe in people’s kindness to others and to themselves.”