as an actual deed, has a somatic effect, becomes for the mind a reality
as strong as biology, economics, and
Revenge may not be the noblest motive for writing, but surely it's
a common one; sometimes the diarist's revenge may be the only justice
in this life he can hope for.
. . .
Another motive: to create for ourselves, if only virtually, a life
we can't pursue "really." The waitress at the truck stop can become
a Vegas star, the homely, teetotalling proofreader a ranting punk,
the lifetime secretary can play at being Nicole Kidman, the failed
dramatist pretend he's the love child of Shakespeare's great-great-great-great-granddaughter
and Noel Coward~all through the hallucinogenic of the written word,
with its illusion we can
know and speak the world just because we have access to a little vocabulary
and a blank page.
. . .
Any writer has problems with the truth, but the writer of serious
fiction (a strange phrase in itself) faces a peculiar dilemma. He
writes fiction but often claims to be the sole purveyor of a certain
kind of truth~emotional, human. Yet he works in deliberately contrived
illusions whose sole purpose is to seduce a reader, any reader, to
follow his words with held breath, skipping mealtimes, neglecting
friends, reading till the garbage truck beeps in the predawn alley.
If asked, many a writer will claim that his sole purpose is just to
present the truth (he may call it "authenticity," "sincerity," "honesty")
as convincingly as he can. He may