Identity (Dana Spiotta)
I read obituaries. I love to read about people who were notable for one thing—say the woman who appears in a famous photo at Kent State. I am drawn to what people think of as failures: the guy who backed the wrong videotape format or the guy who lost an election after a tweet. I like to read about people whose lives took dramatic turns, like the guy who spent most of his life running an ice cream shop in New Jersey but secretly had a past life as a war criminal. I am fascinated by secret lives or multiplex identities. I imagine the day-to-day ordinary life, what does it feel like over time. I wonder about consequences, guilt, and redemption. I wonder how your past shapes who you are. And I wonder about the life that takes shape around an event. How a fleeting moment can change you, or maybe not. Maybe you are you no matter what.
As I write into a character, I start to interrogate the things that press on a life. So much of who we are, all of us, is shaped by things external to us: economics, language, nationality, technology, historical events, received ideas of gender and race. I imagine the solitary moments when we regard ourselves, the way our own internal narratives evolve and distort and accommodate. I see identity, in all its fragility, as a lens to view the wider culture. The current fear and rage, the income disparity, the velocity and fragmentation of the Internet. Mostly it leads to questions. If spending time online changes us, how exactly does it change us? I try to be precise. I try to push on something until it reveals its complexity, its contradictions. All people have deep contradictions, profound complexity, in them. I try not to judge but to discover. I think about the multiple worlds we all inhabit, and how fiction is a place where we can encounter other people in a deep way.
Pour citer cette ressource :
Dana Spiotta, "Identity (Dana Spiotta)", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), août 2015. Consulté le 21/09/2023. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/litterature/entretiens-et-textes-inedits/identity-dana-spiotta-