Tuesday, May 03, 2005

"I do not consider either writing or reading novels one of the necessities of life. Millions of people in China, at least, exist intelligently and happily without reading themand certainly without writing them, and I have the greatest admiration and respect for such persons and even at times the greatest of envy.

For I must confess that I happen to be a somewhat peculiar person, not at all to be taken as typical of human beings in general, and certainly not desirable as an average, because the truth is I cannot be happy without writing novels, quite irrespective of whether they are read or not. I am , I regret to say, one of those unfortunate creatures who cannot function completely unless he is writing, has written or is about to write, a novel...

Never, if you can possibly help it, write a novel. It makes one obnoxious to one's family and to one's friends. One sits about for many weeks, months, even years, in the worst case in a state of stupefaction. Even when from sheer exasperation and exhaustion one lays down one's pen, the wicked work goes on in one's brain. The people there will go on living and talking and thinking until one longs, like Alice in Wonderland, to cry out, "You are only a pack of cards after all!" and so brush them away and wake from the dream to find only leaves gently falling upon one's face; wake again to real life and people.

For the man or woman possessed by these dream people can never be very happy person. He lives a thousand lives besides his own, suffers a thousand agonies as really as though they were what is called actual, and he dies again and again. He is doomed to be possessed by spirits until he cannot tell what is himself, what are his real soul and mind. He is exhausted bodiliy and spiritually by creatures alive and working through his being, using one of his one body, his one mind, to express their separate selves, so that his one poor frame must be the means of all those living energies. It is no wonder that much of his time he sits bemused, silent and spent.

If you would be yourself, therefore, free and unpossessed, never begin to be a novelist."

-- Pearl S Buck

No comments: