I write fiction. Real people are my inspiration but unlike science, I will never clone you. It’s near impossible for a fiction writer to expose the truth of the human condition, let alone offer hope for redemption, without an allegorical massage. In the land of make-believe, we pretenders run like the wolves, tits bare and free.
Ask my Pulitzer prize-winning crush Philip Roth. Some of his fictional master-works* roller-coaster through the teeming mind and itching libido of his thinly-veiled self-portrait- Nathan Zuckerman; the famous author and brainy horn-dog living in the wilds of literary America, in the orgy of his mind. Like Roth, Zuckerman burns his fire with military discipline in self-imposed exile, banging out book after book in a cabin nestled in the bosom of the woods, committed only to imaginary lovers and a brisk daily swim. Unlike Roth who will run out of ink one day for good (advance sob), Zuckerman will live forever on the electronic page, picking up accolades and groupies on the super-highway to eternal love. Embarrassed, I ponder: is this the ticket? Is immortality what we seek?
We childless fiction writers drum to the beat of your slowly dying heart; we stuff the whispering rooms of our yakking brains with unreal people and dedicate our lives to the solitary confinement of posture-defying work. We are voyeurs, chair-potatoes, bookish vampires sucking your human conflict only to gush it back out on the blank page and every possible screen. To make you ooze. To make you face yourself and exalt. To face our dreams.
Now give the man a Nobel Prize. (Photo: Brigitte Lacombe for WSJ)
“I can’t wait till I’m 80″
*American Pastoral, The Human Stain, Sabbath’s Theatre, Zuckerman Bound, the list goes on.
Interviews with the Man:
BLOG LOVE: a shout-out to a couple of bloggers who manage to weave together their true and imaginary lives in a way that makes us soar.
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