Completely Drowned Out

"With The Mezzanine, I was trying to preserve the things we think about when we’re thinking about something else. I’ve always had an urge to try to hold on to places and documents and buildings. If a store went out of business when I was a kid, I’d have a horrified, grieving feeling. How could it be gone? What was the shopkeeper going to do now? I don’t like when precious things slip through people’s fingers—especially things that seem defenseless or undercelebrated, like old newspapers, but also unheralded people who may have said sensible things at a certain time in history, but who were completely drowned out by other people. Or minor poets whose lives were instructive. Sometimes I’m astounded by the absence of sentimentality in other people. How can you not become attached to the poignant scraps that flow through life? I tried to put the date on all my kids’ drawings, thinking, That’ll help. But of course you’re trying to save something that’s evolving. It isn’t savable."

~ Nicholson Baker, "The Art of Fiction No. 212," interviewed by Sam Anderson, The Paris Review, Fall 2011 

See also: