Despite studying fiction in my youth I have grown impatient with its lack of clarity or truth and have recently tended to read biographies and tales of factual adventure in its stead. Recently, because it has been in the news, or in something or other anyway, I have been reading ‘The Great Gatsby’, and my thoughts have undergone a noticeable change. In this novel the character’s , although products of Fitzgerald’s imagination act in a realistic manner and respond to events as people I know of might do, given those circumstances.
The author does not change their nature in order to serve a twist in the plot, or reveal them to be the secret spawn of a Marshmallow bent on world domination, but held in check by the menacing presence of some custard creams. No, they move as people move and hold truths within them that people hold. Not all these truths are pleasing, but watching the blending of events with the natures of the individuals seems almost like watching two cars crash from a cliff top high above the road. We can see it coming but cannot prevent it.
Good literature, I realise, illuminates the truth and makes what we already know more real to us in our everyday lives. It is heightened reality, but reality nevertheless and thus nourishing. Gaining insight from other’s imagination is never a waste of time. Fantasy or soap operas where the principles may change their character more often than their wardrobe distract us, but does not necessarily feed us: that is the big difference. Don’t get me wrong, I love trash as much as the next man, and more than most, and have the wardrobe to prove it. Time is precious to so these days I get my trash fix from television and leave my reading for more reflective moments: I am a puritan in such matters. Medication has been prescribed but has been of no assistance in the matter.
The reason I mention this I am attempting, or to be more positive I am in, the middle of writing a book and one of the questions I keep asking myself is, “Am I reacting to events or are the characters. Am I a god or just the observer”. Writing a blog is a bit like building a small wooden rowing boat. Not an easy thing, but achievable with practice. Writing a novel is like suddenly being asked to build a three-masted schooner. For now my only wish is to make her water tight and this obsession is preventing me from visiting your Blogs as much as I like. For those of you whom I consider to be my friends, and you may know who you are, I apologise and promise I will be back to my more regular production once my craft is built and safely on her maiden voyage to a harbour where, we trust, a decent supply of fattening food and fizzy drinks will be available to celebrate her safe arrival. Hick.