Paris Review: Dorothy Parker

Interviewer: How about the novel? Have you ever tried that form?

Parker: I wish to God I could do one, but I haven’t got the nerve.

Interviewer: And short stories? Are you still doing them?

Parker: I’m trying now to do a story that’s purely narrative. I think narrative stories are the best, though my past stories make themselves stories by telling themselves through what people say. I haven’t got a visual mind. I hear things. But I am not going to do those he-said, she said things anymore, they’re over, honey, they’re over. I want to do the story that can only be told in the narrative form, and though they’re going to scream about the rent, I’m going to do it.

Interviewer: Do you think economic security an advantage to the writer?

Parker: Yes. Being in a garret doesn’t do you any good unless you’re some sort of a Keats. The people who lived and wrote well in the twenties were comfortable and easy living. They were able to find stories novels, and good ones, in conflicts that came out of two million dollars a year, not a garret. As for me, I’d like to have money. And I’d like to be a good writer. These two can come together, and I hope they will, but if that’s too adorable, I’d rather have money. I hate almost all rich people, but I think I’d be a darling at it. At the moment, however, I like to think of Maurice Baring’s remark: “If you would know what the Lord God thinks of money, you have only to look at those to whom he gives it.” I realize that’s not much help when the wolf comes scratching at the door, but it’s a comfort.

*photo from nndb.com; interview excerpt from The Paris Review Interviews, vol. I

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5 comments

  1. Love her. I’ll have to read the interview in Paris Review. It’s been years since I’ve read the book (and watched the movie) ‘Dorothy Parker and the Vicious Circle’.

    Haven’t seen the quote before “..I hate almost all rich people, but I think I’d be a darling at it.” Isn’t she wonderful?

    Enjoyed your post.

  2. Mikidemillion, thanks for visiting. I haven’t seen that movie in years either, but when I read this interview I kept picturing Jennifer Jason Leigh. Her performance was flawless. The whole interview is full of those terrific quips; she greatly underestimates her own humor.

  3. Me too! What ever happened to Jennifer Jason Leigh? Haven’t seen her in anything since ‘The Anniversary Party’.

    I’ll tell you how long it’s been since I’ve seen ‘The Vicious Circle’ movie. I have it only in VHS. ugh. Need to get that thing transferred over or find the DVD version.

  4. Mikidemillion, the last thing I saw her in was Margo at the Wedding, with Nicole Kidman. Seriously, I wouldn’t bother. I think The Anniversary Party is the last good movie I’ve seen her in….and she was with Phoebe Cates there, too! That’s funny about the VHS tape…I had that too, only recorded off cable. How sad is that?

  5. Oh, Dorothy Parker charms me. I expect she would have been impossible to live with, but she’s fun to read about. 🙂

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