I went to a talk by the writer Linda Jaivin earlier this week. I had actually never read of any of her books before I heard her speak, but what she said kind of made me want to adopt a nom de plume and stop automatically tweet-vomiting everything I post into the path of those I know in the offline world…Or consider it for a fleeting moment, anyway.
Jaivin has written eight books in total, some of which touch on quite salacious issues that have led the author to repeatedly assume the role of interviewee. What was apparently most frustrating about the journalists she came into contact with on her publicity drives was that they never asked “the right questions” but instead would respond to a passage in her book about a lesbian romp with the question, “Have you ever been with a woman?” or react to a chapter on a infidelity with the imposition, “Were you unfaithful?” For these journalists, it was all about Jaivin as a character rather than her characters themselves—they wanted to know everything about the writer where she wanted to discuss her writing.
To me, the notion of an author resisting questions that probe into the autobiographical grounding of their writing is quite alien. With blogs so common, no one really asks the question of why they need their diary to be an open book anymore, that’s kind of the whole point—with no audience, would the text even exist? It’s nice to think so…the world would certainly be a lot less vulgar if we could accept that “every book is to an extent a portrait of the artist” and leave questions of fact and fiction there.
But you can still read my diary here tomorrow…