On Janet Malcolm

David Salle at Artforum:

One of Janet’s themes as a writer was self-delusion in all its guises—the propensity we all share for telling ourselves stories that, at the very least, reconfigure events to cast ourselves in a more favorable light. I was stung by one line in the profile: that (I paraphrase) in all our time together, nothing I said about my work was of the slightest interest to her. Once my vanity recovered from the dismissal of my “thinking,” the veracity of Janet’s verdict was clear. (The passage continued to insist that nothing any artist ever says about their work is of interest.) I eventually came to feel more or less the same way—that nothing anybody says about their intentions or “process” is of any particular relevance unless it’s a one-liner by de Kooning. Who cares? This attitude is at odds with the prevailing reverence for that peculiar literary artifact, the artist’s statement, but such was the incontrovertible nature of Janet’s contrarianism. Like any good analyst, she was only interested in the story behind the story. The fact that a belief is widely held should be enough to raise our suspicions.

more here.