To the author who gave me the “Bus driver” assignment, I wrote:
<<I posted my last attempt at Bus driver. I say last because while I feel it is important to stick at a thing, sometimes it also gets to a point where it is perhaps best to move on. I'm at that point.
<<My recent readings of and about Hemingway, Bukowski and Henry Miller, in addition to these my attempts at pure, removed-from-myself fiction, have also left me struggling about my feelings regarding or belief in the very concept of fiction. It is as difficult for me to reconcile with non-fiction as it is to write it.<<
Anyway, the latest and last revision has been posted on my blog. I am utterly grateful for all your feedback and critiques and for even bothering with a little nobody like me. You’re my indeed and needed Ezra Pound.
As it so happens, I also have an aspiring author from Colombia staying with me at the moment, here in Toronto to run the marathon. He saw my sizeable collection of Gabriel Garcìa Marquez novels and we got into a discussion. He told me that Marquez’s mother had said that his novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude” was actually not fiction but tells the Marquez family legacy. I said I wasn’t shocked. Yet another great author blurring the lines between fiction and non-fiction.
I loved what I read about Henry Miller. “He was known for breaking with existing literary forms, developing a new sort of semi-autobiographical novel that blended character study, social criticism, philosophical reflection, explicit language, sex, surrealist free association and mysticism, always distinctly about and expressive of the real-life Henry Miller and yet also fictional.” That sums it up, in my books. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, and rarely ever is.
And on Bukowski: “His writing was influenced by the social, cultural, and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles. His work addresses the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women, and the drudgery of work.” This is how Bukowski himself lived, what he knew. He didn’t write about pilots in Peru or Wall Street bankers. He wrote about his reality, his life. Truth. That’s what makes it so good.
It’s like Hemingway said: Write what you know. He said: “Good writing is true writing. If a man is making a story up it will be true in proportion to the amount of knowledge of life that he has and how conscientious he is.”
No sooner did I post my “LAST REVISION” of “Bus driver” did I turn right back to it and do a fourth draft. Unexpectedly, and I’m glad I did. Something about it rings, finally.
Anyway. We’ll see what Pound has to say.