In the Wig Business

Every writer in the country can write a beautiful sentence, or a hundred. What I am interested in is the ugly sentence that is also somehow beautiful. I agree that this is a highly specialized enterprise, akin to the manufacture of merkins, say—but it’s what I do. Probably I have missed the point of the literature business entirely.

—Donald Barthelme, “On ‘Paraguay,'” Not-Knowing: The Essays and Interviews (Kim Herzinger, ed.)