Tuesday, December 18, 2012
You are who you write
I wrote a short story recently â€“ which will appear for free on www.chronometerpublications.mewithin a week or so. Itâ€™s called The Sense of Being Sinbad and deals with the last three months of a manâ€™s life. I sent it to a friend who is wrestling with the best exit strategy for one who feels everything must be planned in advance of transit to â€˜another placeâ€™ as he calls it. He reviewed it just as he would a studentâ€™s work, liking the prose style and some imagery. However, he then went to some lengths to tie me to the main character. He seemed certain that it was â€˜future autobiographicalâ€™ and I would follow the lead of my character as the days wind down. Now he is very intelligent and so cannot be easily dismissed for his views. Does it mean that I have planned the last weeks of my life? In my deliberate renouncing of the usual narratives of death in modern society, religious or atheist, was I doing a bit of advance mapping? Was the novella, in fact, wishful thinking?
Of course, to some extent writers cannot escape themselves when they create characters but to say that I am a rapist, a murderer, a fat detective, a sixteen year old girl, an ancient magus and so on would be over-egging it a bit. The alternative view is that they are all fantasies, sometimes wishful and sometimes acting as a form of exorcism from the troubled depths of the unconscious. A third version and one to which I adhere, is that we are gem-like in our personalities and every facet represents different aspects of our characters. Each facet then can find its way into fully-fledged existence on the page.
I think that writers do what they do because they want to live other lives. It is very convenient. They donâ€™t have to go â€˜missingâ€™ or seek a divorce. They just shut themselves away and split into their parts, each one of which graces their prose as a flesh and blood creation, a simulacrum of reality.