July 8, 2019

Some questions

1) is it possible to find meaning in the high school experience? It seems to me that the ratio of enjoyable friends to unpleasant teachers and experiences is far too low to be worth much. Even in young adult novel they seem to find something in their friends. 

2) I’ve never been a creative writer. I write a mean five paragraph essay, a skill that has served me well, but once it comes to any story that means anything to me, I’m about as good as a fish in the Sahara. How do people do it? I think all the paintings and sculptures I make are self portraits in a way, and I don’t know how to write a story that doesn’t tell people about me. I admire the characters in your books for being aggressively themselves. How do you keep your characters separate from you?

3) I just read young adults. Is it a cautionary tale or the opposite? 

Daniel replies:

1) Obviously, it is possible to find meaning in what you choose to call the high school experience. You can find meaning in any kind of experience, and even lack of meaning can be meaningful. There are wonderful high schools where students prepare for even more magnificent education, and chart a course to lifelong happiness. If you do not attend such a high school you might want to ask your parents why they did not find out where one is, and why they did not prepare themselves to be eligible to live in that community and save their child from years of frustration and misery. My own observation and experience is that life improves markedly as soon as one leaves high school. Also, not to worry if you learned absolutely nothing in high school--that happens to a great many people, and they find it's easy to make up the deficit.

2) This seems to be an ambitious and difficult question, but actually it is easy for me to answer. I don't know how people do it. I do not know how I myself do it. I know the sort of thing I like to read, and since I am reading what I write as I write it, it tends to turn into something I like reading...and people not being so very different, if I like it, some other people will probably like it too. As to keeping art from being self referential, you don't have to, you can be as self-referential as you like, but if you feel the author or creator ought to be separate from that which is created, practice and experience, doing art, and just being, growing, and observing should take care of that.

3) It is a dada story. I think one of the characters says that.