Sunday, January 13, 2013

is the author's life as important as her book?

dear emily,

i accompanied my mother in law all the way down to florida's tiny key
west for a writer's seminar.    to rub shoulders with the reigning kings and
queens of the literary kingdom and not to make a total fool of myself has
been tiring.   and exhilarating.

i knew enough to be bring sunscreen, but should have also brought my
dictionary.  the authors' jargon of choice was poly-everything.   polyphonic,
polymath, polysyllabic . . . all i knew was polyester.

the key note speaker, phyllis rose, maintained that we should be careful
judging the author by her book.    some of her may be in the book, but she
might also be completely different.   it made me wonder, who is the most
important, the author or the book?

i adore jane eyre but am only grateful to charlotte bronte.    should it be the
other way around?   which came first . . . miss bronte?   or did she come
alive as she created her lovely book?

the chicken or the egg?   my brain is a little scrambled.


ps.  "but we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing
power is from God and not from us."    2 corinthians 4:7


Vee said...

Oh I enjoyed reading these thoughts. Like you, I am grateful to the author as well for the gift. Some people are not at all interested in the writer. I find that, if I like the book, I am very interested in the writer.

Rondalahonda said...

Lea, I loved this! And after this mystery is solved lets address "art imitates life, or life imitates art!"

Libby said...

So very thought provoking!

Anne Lyken-Garner said...

As an author, a part of me is within all my books. Like actors have to use their own expressions to mimic those of their characters, writers have to use their own experiences to write their characters.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Happy New Year Lea, I have been looking forward to your first post of the year.

I've never attended a writers conference, that would be fun, provided it was not too literary.

Debbie said...

Good morning! Oh I am ALWAYS soo interested in the writer when I lOVE a book. Enjoy your thoughts on this! Enjoy your day!

Felisol - Elise Ljung said...

As a lifelong reader I have stopped being provoked by author's flaws and shortcomings.
They are human and must be judged as such, (if judging is necessary).
When they are able to disseminate literature of almost divine proportions, that is a lucky inspiration from above given them as a rare talent.
I guess an author should never be judged by his human limitations, and he should be the first to remember.

Farm Girl said...

Very nice thoughts today. Very deep if you ask me. I am currently reading a book on writing and I just finished her essay on the same thing. I am still pondering it. I guess I might be to simple. I cannot separate the two. I am who I am and I don't think I could write about something that wasn't me.

Auntie Cake said...

Oh goodness, author or the book. Can I maybe say both? Such a difficult choice, don't think I could live without either of them!
Have a great week,
But definitely the chicken came first!

Janette's Sage/Simply Your Decor said...

I hope you had a great time..your name came up on Linkened in or whatever that is, when I was responding to described you as "Independent Writing and Editing Professional", are you like what you write? I believe you for fiction being anything like the author's life, that doesn't matter much to me. In fact, if they aren't alike then that shows the talent of the author. It seems easier to write what we know.

myletterstoemily said...

good point, janette!

Tamara Swerline said...

Oh Dear Lea! I love your thought process!

Anita said...

Years ago, I tuned in to Oprah. If my husband called while I was watching, I'd be too distracted and not give him my full attention. He figured out that I was watching the show and later made a joke about it, implying that I idolizd Oprah. I didn't think it was funny because I try not to idolize any human. Also, I explained to him that some of the subjects on her show were the appealing factor. He chose not to accept the explanation. Jealous perhaps? :)

Anyway, I understand your Jane Eyre story. Though I liked the authors,entreprenuer, etc. guests on Oprah's show,would I have been just as interested if the show were hosted by another person instead of Oprah?

Thistle Cove Farm said...

I bet Key West was beautiful this time of year. Lea, this was a cute post, thoroughly enjoyable. I know, but don't care for, polyester.

Single and Sane said...

I'm jealous of your trip but I must confess that I'd have been lost in all the poly talk myself. ;-)

Interesting thought that an author may not be like her book, but I can't help but wonder if the act of writing doesn't bring out part of the writer that she might not normally show the world. Hmmm.

Good to see you writing posts again!

Dayle @ A Collection of This and That said...

I can't speak for fiction writers, but as a non-fiction author, I always want my voice to ring through and true. One of the greatest compliments is when readers tell me they felt like they knew me after reading my books.

I enjoyed this post and got a good chuckle out of the poly part.