from the “Letters to a Young Writer” series in Narrative Magazine

“I am socially engaged, unlike many of my contemporaries, and I take on a whole variety of issues, yes, but increasingly I have found myself coming back to the central one of the environment, and, by extension, the meaning of our lives in the face of an indifferent universe. How and why do we master the other species? How long will our tenure be? Why have we evolved the power to contemplate our own future? Why do we exist? Why does anything exist? I write fiction in order to think deeply and to assuage my fear and my pessimism through the act of creating art. This is redemptive. And while I have no advice for any artist, young or old, other than to find his or her own way, I will say that each of us must create art in order to address the central questions of human existence—for our own sanity, and, we hope, for the sanity of our readers.”—T. Coraghessan Boyle

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