You say also that the pressure to write is a pressure of language – how do these two relate?
It depends. I wasn't angry when I wrote "Goodbye and Good Luck" – I just felt a certain pressure to use the resonance of the phrase "I was popular in certain circles" – a looking-backness, a storytelling justice for one of my aunts, a reinvention of her life for that purpose – all of which wouldn't leave me alone. The sound of it required me to go on. This is what I mean when I say that art comes from constant mental harassment. You're bugged.
Grace Paley: The Art of Fiction No. 131, Interviewed by Jonathan Dee, Barbara Jones, and Larissa MacFarquhar in Women at Work: Interviews from the Paris Review