The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

A Pledge to Curl Up With More Books

“Always I find when I begin to write there is one character who obstinately will not come alive. There is nothing psychologically false about him, but he sticks, he has to be pushed around, words have to be found for him, all the technical skill I have acquired through the laborious years has to be employed in making him appear alive to my readers. Sometimes I get a sour satisfaction when a reviewer praises him as the best-drawn character in the story: if he has not been drawn he has certainly been dragged. He lies heavily on my mind whenever I start to work like an ill-digested meal on the stomach, robbing me of the pleasure of creation in any scene where he is present. He never does the unexpected thing, he never surprises me, he never takes charge. Every other character helps, he only hinders.

“And yet one cannot do without him. I can imagine God feeling in just that way about some of us.”

— Graham Greene. The End of the Affair.

Mt. Angel, public library, Oregon

3 comments on “A Pledge to Curl Up With More Books

  1. Pingback: Dr Frances McCormack appointed director of the Graham Greene International Festival 2014 | The View from The DJ booth

  2. Carol Balawyder
    May 16, 2014

    I really like this passage of Greene’s which you chose to post. First, because it is well written and second, because it shows how we never know how our writing will be received. We are often our most critical judges. 🙂

    • Greene is fantastic, truly, and such a source of inspiration for me. It’s always heartening to know that such a prolific writer may also get stuck, may also have doubts and troubles in the composition. It’s a call to keep going forward, I suppose! 🙂
      Thanks for your comment,

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