Daniel Richter, Tuanus, 2000
I think Madame Bovary is the book that’s affected me the most in love and art. I’ve spent all my time trying to not be Emma. I’ve spent all these years haunted by the purity of Flaubert’s prose. At 15 I read it for the first time and saw immediately that she had all my vices: romanticism, avarice, ungratefulness, callousness. And I thought: I must strive to be different. I must get it right. All the sad women of literature—Anna, Isabel, Emma—I cannot be like them.
I wanted to work out a new type of plot. So I used my own life as a testing ground for my theories: I experimented, then I experimented again. Writing, rewriting, therapy, drugs, yoga, running, work, boys, girls. Different cities, apartments, friend groups, projects. Serious, sustained experiments. Instead of being romantic, I became pragmatic. Instead of being volatile, I became calm.