Damon Galgut on structuring the creative process
Il fuoco sacro della scrittura is a brand new event format at Festivaletteratura. Why do writers write? What is creativity? Where does it come from? Is the need to create a blessing or a curse? These questions are explored twice a day during thirty-minute interviews where Italian and international authors talk about their relationship and history with the act of writing.
South African author Damon Galgut was very clear on the ideas behind his books: he does not agree with the concept of inspiration as something “holy” and uncontrollable. Talking to librarian and cultural event organiser Elsa Riccadonna, Galgut explained that for him, a good story is born from structure, that the two key elements of structure are location and characters, and that these elements are defined through thought and active effort.
Once the basic structure is defined, Galgut describes writing as a detective job. Story elements mix in the writer’s head with personal themes and experiences, that are used as an imagination pool for material used to solve a set of problems. In answering this series of questions (What is the plot? Who is this character? How did this scene begin?...) the act of writing becomes an effort of exploration where creativity, attention to the world, and introspection overlap.
To the question “why do you write?”, Damon answers that he’s afraid otherwise he will die, and not in an artistic or existential sense. While experiencing serious illness as a young boy, the author found comfort in the stories read to him by family and friends, creating an association between the act of narration and health.