Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Disconnect from Society

Interesting discussion today about writers: Does a disconnect from society create the writer, or does being a writer create a disconnect from society?  Many of the short stories by Lorrie Moore, Updike, Carver and Alice Munro speak of this isolation, loneliness, and disconnect--from each other, in terms of personal relationships, and from our society as a whole.  There are many reasons for this, including the artistic distance, the parental issues, the negative world-view, and not a small dose of arrogance, obnoxiousness and narcissism, but the theme of disconnect is consistent in all of them.

And so it is in my work.  Foster (from my novel Cursing the Darkness--see an excerpt on my website if you're interested) is as disconnected as one can be and still be a somewhat sane and functioning member of society.  Ray Schalk, from my short story "Hide the Weird" (soon to be published in an issue of Space and Time) has an ability--or a disability, depending on your point of view--that he believes sets him apart from his society.  And Raymond Goodfellow (from "Shadows," hopefully to be published soon) feels very separated from the society within which he is forced to associate.  Does this mean that I do?  Judging from my shameless self-promotion in this paragraph (connect to me connect to me connect to me), and knowing myself as I do--and one of my novels-in-progress is called The Observer for a reason--I'd have to say yes.  Though I think that feeling of isolation and loneliness caused the writer, being a writer certainly perpetuates the isolation and loneliness.  But the feeling came first.

You're a writer.  Which came first for you?  Or do you not feel disconnected in any way?

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