Papa on what to write

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

3 p.m. So what should I write about? This incessant anxiety to write a book — and this poverty of first-hand experience. It makes a problem.

Papa? How would you handle it?

I’d get the experience, or I’d write what I know, or I’d forget about doing either.

Yes, that seems to be the range of choice. So what do I know? What does it look like from your side?

From here it looks like you are trying to imagine yourself somebody else. You write – or think of writing – from a life that is not yours. Why not from your life, not from what you imagined to be a believable life?

You are different. For Christ’s sake, how typical do you suppose I was? It was the life I could write about – hunting, fishing, writing, traveling – that people read because it wasn’t their life.

Write science fiction, or rather, write metaphysical fiction – just what fascinates you – and see what happens. Your only other story must deal with the human side of someone who strives to be beyond human – or the struggles against the all-too-human entanglements of hostility and love.

Only don’t outline anything here. It’ll get lost. And – to clear your skirts – make a list of the things you wish you had already done – the journal transcriptions, etc.

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