Jennifer Egan: “Goon Squad” could have been better!
When I’m not writing I feel an awareness that something’s missing. If I go a long time, it becomes worse. I become depressed. There’s something vital that’s not happening. A certain slow damage starts to occur. I can coast along awhile without it, but then my limbs go numb. Something bad is happening to me, and I know it. The longer I wait, the harder it is to start again.
When I’m writing, especially if it’s going well, I’m living in two different dimensions: this life I’m living now, which I enjoy very much, and this completely other world I’m inhabiting that no one else knows about. I don’t think my husband can tell. It’s a double life I get to live without destroying my marriage. And it’s heaven.
Especially when I’m writing a first draft, I feel as if I’ve been transported out of myself. That’s always a state I’m trying to achieve, even as a journalist — although when I’m working on nonfiction I’m almost never actually writing. I do months of research and then write the piece in a few days.