Why should anybody write anymore? Especially, why should anybody write a novel? These are good questions.
Writers have been reduced to the status of "content providers" in this Internet age. Mostly unpaid content providers at that. And writing novels, Jesu Christus Corpus Dei, 98% of the effort expended around the world on that enterprise is now, officially, a waste of time, money wise at least. Are there other reasons to write?
I found a good one the other day in an article in the Atlantic Magazine about the writer V.S. Naipaul, the article was written by Joseph O'Neill.
Mr. O'Neill believes that "writing carefully and at length is almost necessarily an act of self-transcendence." The writer can, by writing, become another thing. Mr. O'Neill goes on to say:
"A deep formal rationale for going to the enormous trouble of committing words to paper over time is to find respite from the intellectually and morally chaotic buffoon who goes through the world minute by minute, and to bring into being that better, more coherent human entity known as the author."
He was discussing the difference between Naipaul the man and Naipaul the writer, but the idea could serve well as a principle applying to most of us who write.
Maybe I should finish that novel after all.