John Irving says:
~The reader must be afraid for someone in order for a story to succeed.
~We don’t get to choose our obsessions; obsessions choose us.
~People aren’t fated or logical in “real life” but in a plotted story they have to be composed intentionally. He is “affected by the intentionality of telling a plotted story.” And whatever he as “puppeteer” is writing affects how he feels about life on any given day.
~A person and/or a character can make a mistake of such magnitude that the story is over before it starts.
He really objects to critics and scholars who look to ferret out autobiography from his fiction. He writes-obsessively-about those things that scare him to death. That, he believes, says more about a person’s real true self than anything else.
This is his third book with a writer as a main character. The other two, Garp and Ruth Cole in Widow for One Year, were an amalgam of writers he knew, satires of those writers. Danny Baciagalupo in Last Night in Twisted River, however, is as faithful an imitation of himself as a writer as he could produce. Danny has Irving’s author biography: his education, mentors, publishing history, and method. Everything that Vonegut says to Danny is word for word (as he remembered it) what Vonegut said to John Irving.
“For as much as Danny resembles me as a writer, everything about his life is never me. It’s everything I’m afraid of.”
I found the lecture, which I enjoyed from the front row of the theater (thanks Jennifer!) inspiring and just completely fab.
The only thing that would have made it better would have been a book signing,
or-and this would have been really OK- if he had asked me out for a beer afterwards.
Maybe next time.