Bernard Page 4
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