A writer is so closely associated with the words he produces that the readers find themselves compelled to spot the writer in the writing. And they try so very hard that they actually succeed very often. Every character that he produces is seen as either his real-life replica or somebody he wanted to be, hated or loved, or somebody he secretly was within the dark recesses of his own mind and in the murky corners of his own heart where the conscience was disallowed entry.
The reader is confident that the writer must be one of his characters in every work he produces. And in assuming that the readers lose the writer so hopelessly that if they ever got the chance to meet, interact and know the writer, they would most likely feel that either the writer was being utterly pretentious, or they were meeting somebody else. They might also choose to think that the books credited to the writer were works of somebody else because the writer in question simply did not resemble any of his or her characters and could, thus, not be the writer of those books.
It doesn’t take a genius writer to understand that it’s one of commonest fallacies that the readers allow themselves to make, but it is a lot harder to understand why it happens. In all likelihood the readers feel that one can only write about things that one feels something about, which is not untrue. But the mere fact that writers write what they feel strongly about is no reason to conclude that all that they write about reflects a part of their personality or psyche. A lot of what is written is simply a writer’s vision of an imagined world, and in putting together this imaginary world the writer uses the real world only as a template. The fleshing out happens in those areas of his mind that are almost completely disconnected with the real world. And the writers whose imagined world is too close to the real world end up writing one book or two, and their stream of creative inspiration dries up like it was never there.
Non-fiction writers are not immune to such assumptions, but they are better off because their work is supposed to carry their opinion and also their outlook to the subject matter in question vis-a-vis the world we live in. The only problem for non-fiction writers is that they are branded as ‘for’ and ‘against’ something or someone, which takes away their intellectual freedom, for they are supposed to stand by what they said earlier and defend it in the context of their present-day opinion, for inconsistency translates into loss of credibility, which is everything when it comes to the business of intellectualism in the moderns world.
Originally published on Ezine Articles on April 12, 2013.