Marilynne Robinson Interviewed by VICE, Talks About Vice, Is Viceless

This is a brave new media world we live in. Sometimes there are questionable pictures of it, or articles that struggle-use “struggle bus,” and the whole scene starts to get you down until you remember that VICE is running a Marilynne Robinson interview, and despite all this newness, all once more is chill. Interviewed by her former student Thessaly La Force, Robinson exudes her typical resolute, cathedral-in-the-soul clarity:

You will remember that once, in some time, in some place, you saw a person standing alone, and their posture suggested to you an enormous narrative around them. And you never spoke to them, you don’t know them, you were never within ten feet of them… There’s a very pleasant consequence of that, which is the most ordinary experience can be the most valuable experience.

Also, yes:

I think that’s why a lot of stuff that basically amounts to breaking china is seen as being creative when, in fact, it’s as subservient to prevailing norms as anything else is, as obedience to them would be.

And yes:

I don’t like the novel-of-manners thing. If it doesn’t open on something larger, I get claustrophobic almost immediately.

Here, a good phrase for the next night that all your friends and would-be lovers are out raging but you can’t stand the idea of speaking a single word:

I remember once reading speculations about why creatures sleep. The one that impressed me was some scientist saying, “It keeps the organism out of trouble.” So every once in a while I sit on the couch thinking, I’m keeping my organism out of trouble.

I’ll leave you with the fact that Robinson defines vice as such: “I have no idea. Underachievement, I suppose. The idea being that you have a good thing to give and you deny it.”


Photo via picale/flickr