Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Probably the Last Reflections on Author for a Time

So far as you are concerned, this much is true:  With some frequency, we chose our books to read and the short fiction in magazines because of our experience with the author.  This much is further true:  In places where we don't know the author's work and are impressed by a first meeting, we will, when we see that author's name, seek it out.

You are not quite finished with expressions of truth here, for instance, the things that draw you to a particular author and away from others is the characters and narrative voices presented by the authors you like and your near complete lack of sympathy or concern for the characters of authors to whom you don't relate.

Still more truth:  In either case, authors you like or do not relate to--which is different from not liking--story has little to do with the matter.  This is true because there are not all that many different stories.  Now, we can move on to certainties, as in, this is certain, so far as you are concerned:  Even a dumb story, told by an author you admire causes resonance within you.

When you come upon a character in a story forced to make a decision or take a stand, depending on the placement of the need for choice or stand, you pretty well assume the consequences will not be good for the character involved.  

We understand this because such things are the nature of story.  Narratives of characters who make right choices tend to bore you.  You want to see the outcome of the bad choices, not so much because you have made so many bad choices in your life as because of your understanding that choice is to story as consequence is to life.

The choices you've made that have no significant consequence are the same choices that bore you, a statement that goes a long way to describing your personality and the tastes you either acquired or had hard wired.

Your focus during most of this year has been on how the author participates in the process of things happening to characters in ways where the author does not stop the story to offer opinions or suggestions, but rather allows the characters to react to the situations that will cause them trouble, allow us to see the characters working on solutions, then allow the consequences to arrive, almost with the force of presence of other characters.

Many writers have, in your experience, come to see life in story and reality in much the same way as you, hence the beginnings of your respect for their work.  They also chose characters you either like on sight or have to make some accommodations to get used to.  In either case, you feel some connection.  These authors also pick characters who speak in voices that do not set your nerves on edge, the equivalent of a piece of chalk squeaking against a blackboard or the immediate surge of irritation at a squawky voice in a room.

Through all of this, you are not aware of the author, only of the author's creations of character, of flawed, quirky persons, frequently caught up in something dumb or inconsequential or something they could not resist doing.  

Does this mean you cannot read such authors as, say, Henry Fielding from the eighteenth century, or Aldous Huxley two hundred years later, because each steps forth to interject, assure, reason with, argue, point out, or compare?  By no means.  You've been prepared by the sum total of all your reading to recognize in their narrative voices the promise and delivery of quandaries that could derail you if you were to experience them in real life, and to make you somehow wish to be derailed in hopes you would learn even more from each author. 

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