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Wonders are there many - none so wonderful as man. His is speech and windswift thought. Sophocles

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Why did I write it?

Posted by John L. Pattillo on August 9, 2010 at 3:09 PM

     I think you should ask this question of any author.  What is their specific reason for writing that?   It really can be a puzzle.  If a novel's main character is a dysfunctional, miserable wretch, why write about him?  No, I really mean this, it baffles me.  What in the world motivates such a project?

    After all, to write a serious novel is not easy.  It can, in fact, be excruciatingly hard.  So you are going to expend all that effort, that sweat, that anguish -- to create something repulsive...why?

     Dostoevsky writes about repulsive people, but the writing contains a moral message, a projection of his moral code, and if you follow it through at least you can see what he thinks people should not be.  From this you can infer what he thinks they ought to be.

     But why would an author write a novel in order to say, "People (including you and I) are swine" ?

 

     I wanted to build my novel around a very good character.  Good by my standards.  I wanted to project a character I could admire, whom I would want to spend time with, without ever having to say, "Oh, I wish he were different."  I wanted to project events that were satisfying to read about over and again, for their own sake.  Events the contemplation of which would be an end in itself.

     The books I had read which do that for me I had read many times.  I rarely find a new one nowadays that makes me feel that way.  So I said, "Well, John, you will have to do it for yourself."  This kept me going in those times when I might have given up.

 

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1 Comment

Reply Snickers
2:24 AM on November 27, 2010 
Would you share with us the names of the books that you have enjoyed or have been important to you?
I have not yet read your books but look forward to doing so.

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