I came across this quote from Robert Olen Butler in an interview published in Glimmer Train Stories, Winter 2007:
"I stopped writing from my head and began writing from my unconscious. This is the essence of the art form, any art form, actually, and it's the thing I find myself having to teach virtually every student who comes to me, no matter how advanced...
If you go into your unconscious and you don't avert your eyes, and you do that day after day, story after story, book after book, eventually you will break through to a place where you are neither male nor female, neither black, white, red, nor brown, neither Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, nor Jew, neither Vietnamese, American, Albanian, Serbian. You are human. You are human. And if the authenticity comes from that deep place, and if your life experiences are eclectic and broad and intensely observed on the surface levels as well, because that's important, then you can draw that universal human authenticity up through the vessels of characters, who might be, on the surface, quite different from you."
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It's a great interview especially Butler's articulation of the connection between art and the unconscious. I do have one question: how do you work from your unconscious for a long project like a novel? That is what I struggle with, the starting and stopping and trying to reconnect to that "place".