Nov 22, 2011

The heart of writing is . . .

. . . Grossman said, is getting to know a book’s characters intimately, in a way that is impossible with other human beings. Even when it comes to those with whom we are most intimate, we shy away from complete knowledge, Grossman said. With our children, we avoid the darker corners of their characters; we may know our lovers better than others, but still not completely.
“To me, the heart of writing is the privilege of knowing other people from within,” Grossman said. “Usually, we are quite protected from the other. … We develop an instinct of not being totally exposed to the hell within the other.”
Writing a novel involves creating a suite of characters whom you know so intimately that they become like a family you’re hiding during wartime and to whom you take food and news daily. The whole of a book, he said, somehow becomes greater than the writer.
“I believe books are much more clever, courageous, and generous than their writers,” Grossman said.

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