In an interview, novelist Elizabeth Strout said that she sees writing as a way “to help people,” that her job was to try “to open somebody’s eyes just a little bit for one minute.” Is there a greater challenge that writers can give themselves? And how can fiction writers open somebody’s eyes to something as complex and hidden as loneliness? It takes both courage and ruthlessness to reveal uncomfortable truths. Strout follows the advice of her character named Payne who said that “if you find yourself protecting anyone as you write this piece, remember this: You’re not doing it right.”
Elizabeth Strout, My Name Is Lucy Barton (New York: Random House, 2016), 42.