Ottessa Moshfegh

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Ottessa Moshfegh (born 1981) is an American author and novelist.


  • One challenge for me is in remembering what the process of writing the novel was like. For me, it’s a bit like childbirth (or so I hear) in that one forgets the pain as soon as it’s over…
  • What in effect looks like clear and directed writing took much chaos and anxiety. I felt like I was losing my mind toward the end.
  • In order to write well, I need to have the ability to be honest with myself without it causing pain. When I’m really sad, honesty hurts, and I find myself not going to interesting places in my work. I guess you can be sad and strong at the same time. Writing requires strength, discipline, and a tolerance for loneliness. The longer I have a partner, the more loneliness I want, because I’ve lost it. But loneliness is also excruciating unless I’m writing. Yet you can only write so many hours in a day, and it takes a lot of effort to fill the void of not writing.
  • Thinking abstractly about depression is so easy, but the experience of it is more like being in touch with something very, very deep that is a necessary part of the human experience. It keeps us grounded in our mortality. Depression is an intolerance to life, but it can also be profound. Maybe the trouble is that we don’t respect it enough…

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