Sunday, June 26, 2005

And this really sucks ;-P

"It is not uncommon for family or friends to feel a mixture of pain and violation when they find pieces of their character or aspects of their experience turning up in a novel." (from book quoted in post below)
This certainly seemed the case in my own family, and contributed to my parents' breakup, to the extent of my mum destroying all my dad's notes for a biography of the Montsalvat artist Justus Jorgenson, in a fire, and 'dancing through the flames', as she described it, while he, fictionalizing as always, later called it the "iceworks fire", claiming it had happened at work, while he worked in an iceworks... (There seems something Norse and mythical about that juxtaposition of ice and fire in my own background, lol!) This amounted to an act of revenge by her for his unflattering depiction of her in earlier works, and he did not even equate to a 'professional', public author! But especially when writers, amateur or professional, write in a 'realistic' mode, and obviously draw on aspects of their own experience, the lines between 'fact' and 'fiction' grow very thin indeed; and not only do their own lives come to imitate their work (as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy?), but in their real life, they can often fail to remember what 'really' happened, and in their reminiscences, draw upon their fictionalized, dramatized, even mythologized, reality instead... I speak not just of George Johnstone here re Charmian Clift (he portrayed her as cuckolding and sexually aggressive, while he engaged in a very public, and humiliating affair with a much younger woman), but also my own family dynamics... Peter Carey, another Aussie author, deserves the last word on this: all writers seem "illywhackers" or "bullshit artists", whether in their life or their art, and my own dad seems just such an "illywhacker", which sad gene may well have also turned up in my son, with his compulsive tendency to always put the most positive light on all experiences, no matter how painful? Funnily enough, my father and son, for all their similarities, now have nothing to do with each other. My son does not even write ('fiction', that is), but I wonder also about how the characters in the New Testament proto-novels, called gospels, also felt at seeing themselves so portrayed! lol


Blogger Sebastian Aristos said...

Boy - this is going to be an interesing post to comment on, given that it's so deep !

First of all, the stuff about your parents is pretty full on. My parents' separation was pretty dramatic, but at least there were no fires or false memory syndromes to deal with.

The second part reminds me of the Woody Allen film, "Deconstructing Harry", where all his friends and family become enraged with him because he uses them as fodder for his latest novel, describing them and their foibles in detail.

Thirdly, I have to question, being an eternal optimist (in theory at least) whether the "compulsive tendency to always put the most positive light on all experiences" really is a sad gene after all. As long, of course, as painful experiences are being acknowledged and processed. Long live optimism, anyway !

And how did the characters in the gospels make an appearance in this blog post anyway ? Are you channeling 'the good news' as an optimist by any chance ?

2:44 pm  
Blogger asgif666 said...

Boy, the "all too deep" was how I felt after reading the article on Martin Johnstone (which I refrain from commenting on in more depth for fear of infringing copyright)!
Hehe, you gotta love the "fires and false memory syndromes" as contributing to my own quasi-mythic-mystic status? lol
Sorry yours did not go out with such a bang...:-((
Woody Allen did that? I always knew he seemed neurotic, but omg....;-P
True, re the "eternal optimist" in your case anyway: it all gets down to "processing", in my humble opinion, anyway; I just doubt whether Josh really "processes" his painful experiences (Alligator medicine: all about digestion, and really "processing", which seems what "counselling" really amounts to!) But by all means, "if life gives you lemons, make lemonade"! lol
And yes, the comment on the gospel characters at the end interests me also: maybe that amounts to the part of me that wants to make lemonade out of lemons (the eternal optimist vieing[sp?] with the eternal pessimist? I don't really see a suicide gene running through our family at least, even if I do see an alcoholic gene, lol! My mother ran from the alcoholic gene, when it nearly consumed her; my father wanted to 'evict' Bjorn Erik on the strength of his consuming his priceless brandy, in a moment of literal 'folly', had it not been for me.... ;-))

3:54 pm  

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