Graham Greene wrote:
“Since the novel takes perhaps years to write, the author is not the same man at the end of the book as he was at the beginning… as though (the novel) were something he had begun in childhood and was finishing now in old age.”
While biographers and academicians spend years researching and collecting data, novelists and short story writers spend years creating their own world of fiction. They spend an enormous amount of time studying human behavior, and figuring out why people do what they do. Art in the words of Irving Stone is;
“a singing in the bloodstream, an exaltation of the nervous system, a flare in the heart, and a glow of human values in the mind.”
Hence the fictitious worlds created by writers are different. In order to craft the best fiction, to come up with the best of these worlds, all the great writers, writing instructors and creative writing teachers will tell you to take a trip to the attic of your memory. To open the doors of that dark corners, to let your memories come out. To set free your secret passions, embarrassments, shames, loves, and sorrows. In the words of Thoreau the best work of fiction is created when you as a writer;
“Pursue, keep up with, circle round and round your life…. Know your own bone: gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw at it still.”
And when you try to unearth your own bone, you discover some truths about yourself that you were unaware of to begin with. Of course you are not the same person now that you have a different perception of your own values, your mind, your heart, your childhood, your youth, your desires, your wants, and your life. You have crossed the bridge from childhood to youth, and to perhaps old age.
Once, when Irwin Shaw, author of “Rich Man, Poor Man” and many other books and short stories, was a keynote speaker at a hotel, someone in the audience asked;
“What would be your greatest goal in life?”
“Standing here talking about myself and my writing,” Irwin Shaw replied.
We all write differently and we work differently. So whatever your goal in life as a writer is I wish you make it come true.
As for me a good life is a life spent reading, and a better life is a life spent reading and writing. And right now as I write I feel like I am flying, and all I have to do is to hold my breath.