Your 1 book

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Are you a writer? Do you live your life with some part of you always removed, cataloging things away to be used in your books?

I think this is a sickness every writer has. Writers are observers rather than participants. That makes them very strange indeed.

Much has been written about this already so I won’t get into it here. But if you’re like this, you know you can’t help it. You take every observation and struggle to preserve them in the book you’re currently writing. And in this way, even if you’re writing murder mysteries or supernatural horror, the book ends up being a record of the vastness and variety of your life, the fullness of your everyday reality.

But what if you always seem to write about the same thing?

I feel as though I have one book I am writing and I just keep writing it over and over. I have written many stories (if not many books yet) and each one seems to be saying the same basic thing. I don’t know if I’m normal—I know, I don’t want to be.

But I just thought today how I keep writing about the struggle between faith and reason. I don’t know if it’s just that this is a fundamental of life so every book is either generally or specifically about this. But are you writing about this?

I can’t really think of an example of a book I’ve read that isn’t about this contrast between the head and the heart. The soul/mind problem. Some choose to be more obvious or more obscure about it but ultimately we’re all struggling to escape, aren’t we? I’m always writing about this and it’s just hit me as though thinking about how weird it is that we go unconscious for a while every night. It’s weird if you stop to think about it.

Any comments?

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One thought on “Your 1 book”

  1. A Ruling Passion

    In The Modern Library Writer’s Workshop, Stephen Koch quotes Graham Greene on the power of an obsession: “Talent, even of a very high order, cannot sustain an achievement, whereas a ruling passion gives to a shelf of novels the unity of a system.”

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