Well, I have said this in the past, so I hope i don’t bore you by repeating it, but I think that we live or die under the tyranny of perfection. Socially, we are pushed towards being perfect. Physically, beautiful to conform to standards that are cruel and uncommon, to behave and lead our lives in a certain way, to demonstrate to the world that we are happy and healthy and all full of sunshine. We are told to always smile and never sweat, by multiple commercials of shampoo or beer.
And I feel that the most achievable goal of our lives is to have the freedom that imperfection gives us.
And there is no better patron saint of imperfection than a monster.
We will try really hard to be angels, but I think that a balanced, sane life is to accept the monstrosity in ourselves and others as part of what being human is. Imperfection, the acceptance of imperfection, leads to tolerance and liberates us from social models that I find horrible and oppressive.”
Virginia Woolf said, a hundred years ago, ‘You must kill the angel in the house.’ The angel in the house was that Victorian ideal of the long-suffering, mother-of-the-world character, and Woolf said you have to kill her in order to write, to create. I would say that in the twenty-first century one still feels a certain amount of cultural pressure to not say certain things, and I have strong muscles for resisting that. Mostly because I feel that every single one of us on the planet is flawed and is doing his or her best to get through the damn day. And if you create characters who do not have as many edges and fissures and incongruous places as real people do, then you are failing to love your characters sufficiently. Because you’re saying, ‘I’ll be interested in you as a character so long as you behave in socially acceptable ways.’ And that to me is very poor art.
Anna has some edges, of course she does. So do I, and so does everyone I love. If we cannot love people in their complexity, then we’re rather cruel and cold as a culture. If we only love our female characters when they are either giving or suffering, then we are really shortchanging ourselves as human beings.”