Barry Targan on Writing Through the Years

In my more formative years, as a young writer I was propelled by the usual forces of ambition and certainty. As I began increasingly to publish fiction, essays, and poetry, I found affirmation. And later when I received awards and grants, affirmation turned to elation. The heady days of sufficient success satisfied me and sustained me…

Barry Targan's image for blog

Now, at eighty-two years of age, though I am in good health and continue to write, what I find is that I’m no longer concerned with publication. When publication was once the absolute goal, now it is incidental. All I want to do is write.

I compare myself to the hunger artist in Kafka’s great story. Here the artist is exhibited as an attraction in a circus as he performs his art of not eating. But always, before he can reach his artistic apotheosis, he is revived. But eventually he is forgotten and now has the chance to achieve the ineffable, the aim of all artists.

So nowadays I write. But that is all.

Barry Targan has published fiction and essays in North American Review for thirty-seven years. His most recently published piece in NAR is "Latent Image" which appears in issue 296.4. He has published three novels and three collections of short fiction. He received the University of Iowa fiction award for Harry Belten and the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto.
Eric Piatkowski originally worked as an actor before studying illustration at the Pratt Institute. He is now a freelance illustrator based in Des Moines, Iowa. Eric's art, entitled, "Adrift," will appear in the Spring issue, 299.2.