Monday, September 14, 2015

Do I deserve to work in words?

So far the strangest thing about the new novel being out is that people write me that the novel made them cry -- I've never published a novel that's had so many people consistently write me about their emotional reaction -- and then they tell me the lines they love. It's the strangest thing to have your novel come back at you in disconnected lines -- wonderful too, but oddly disorienting. 

Here is a beautiful new review by Lauren Daley in South Coast Today that really allows the novel to speak. Wriiting a novel about a novelist who's never cared for novelists while I'm trying to start writing a new novel, I was surprised the reviewer quoted this line from my novel today. Harriet, a reclusive novelist, wrote, “I’ve never cared for novelists. They don't know how to be essential. They lack self-restraint. If you can’t evoke emotion — twist-tie one soul to another — in the density of a poem, then you don’t deserve to work in words.” 

I know exactly where this idea came from. As a young writer I was a devout short story writer and had no intentions of ever writing anything else, and in my most zealous phase, I once said -- about novelists, "If you can't tell a moving compelling story in twenty-five pages or less, why call yourself a writer?" 

I eventually broadened my definition of a writer.