Sunday, April 03, 2016

Never An Author, Things Not To Read

The not recommended linked article is a short little fable bathed in teen angst, religious/moral confusion, value free life and sexual tension. The title drew me in "God's Work" -- and curiosity about how the author would treat the "Jehova's Witness" style door to door proselytizers.

Here is a link to the author talking about it a bit. Things that go through my mind about this piece:

  1. There is VERY little in it that I liked -- I nearly quit after what I found to be a gratuitous overly flat reference to innocent / accidental sexual voyeurism in the young male character. 
  2. It seemed utterly purposeless -- no admirable characters, no real positive statements on either the rather extreme religiosity of the mother and son, nor anything positive about the atheistic drug addled father / girl pair. 
But, having been only critical, I realize it WAS published in the New Yorker, AND they found it worthy to have a discussion with the author.  This struck me ... 
This always sounds deranged, but I had no idea what would happen when I set these two in motion. The sense of discovery only comes when I’m making discoveries alongside the reader. It feels crucial for me to not know too much about how things will turn out. So I try to develop strong characters with recognizable desires and put them together with other characters and see what happens. I can’t know the outcome in advance without the life just draining out of a scene.
Perhaps if I want to create characters I need to do more than just "read"? At least so far in life, my brain has not worked to really understand the "making discoveries alongside the reader" ...

Creating characters is a stumbling block -- but thanks to the internet, EVERYTHING can be turned to an easy 10-point cookbook, so now I have no excuses!

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