Joyce Johnson on Writing

“Adversity didn’t bring people together. Wrapped in my sensibility, I wept in the neighborhood luncheonettes. My sadness seemed overwhelming but valuable – the stage you had to pass through to get to some greater wisdom.
Some days I cut classes for the sake of art. It was as if a muffled orchestra played inside my head at such a distance I couldn’t quite get all of what was being played. There were all these tones and rhythms not yet imbued with sense, but suggesting it, calling it into being. I’d write sentences in my notebook and sometimes get very close to this orchestra. Other times it would trick me and vanish around corners, leaving trampled words that made thin, whistling noises when I read them over. I’d be convinced the orchestra would never play again, but then it would resume as if it had never stopped – I’d simply failed to reach it.”


Joyce Johnson – Minor Characters. A Beat Memoir.