The Writers as Monsters Question

Edna O'Brien, writing in her book "James Joyce": "Do writers have to be such monsters in order to create? I believe that they do. It is a paradox that while wrestling with language to capture the human condition they become more callous, and cut off from the very human traits which they so glisteningly depict."

She tells how Joyce stoked his anger to fuel his writing.

Sure it's a good way to start. Joyce broke through literary walls so the rest of us aren't constricted. There's no need to keep banging our heads against those walls. They're gone.

A baby's a monster, a parasite on its mother, kicking from within the womb, bursting out, demanding to be cut free, totally dependent yet screaming for more. As writers we do the same. Like babies, we can even be appealing at times, and inspire love.

We can grow up too though. No need to live as a monster.

I'm told I'm an acceptable companion when I'm writing now. I didn't use to be. Writings about finding the balance and harmony between polar opposites. Relationships too.

O'Brien writes how Joyce got his daughter to read him two pages of "Finnegan's Wake", and loved the sound of it he expanded it ten-fold. There's no point parsing a sentence of Joyce, she suggests, just tune in to hearing the music of life. Sounds like a great reason for getting the books on audio!