After writing a novel, what is there to say? If a novelist could say it in a maxim, they wouldn't need 120,000 words, several years and sundry characters, plots and subplots, and so on. I'd much rather listen always.
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APARichard Flanagan Quotes. (n.d.). Jar of Quotes. Retrieved , from JarofQuotes.com Web site: https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=after-writing-novel-what-is-there-to-say-if-novelist-could-say-it-in-maxim-they-wouldnt-need-120000-words-several-years-sundry-characters-plots-subplots-on-id-much-rather-listen-
ChicagoRichard Flanagan Quotes. Jar of Quotes, 2019. https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=after-writing-novel-what-is-there-to-say-if-novelist-could-say-it-in-maxim-they-wouldnt-need-120000-words-several-years-sundry-characters-plots-subplots-on-id-much-rather-listen-, accessed .
MLA"Richard Flanagan Quotes." Jar of Quotes, 2019. . https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=after-writing-novel-what-is-there-to-say-if-novelist-could-say-it-in-maxim-they-wouldnt-need-120000-words-several-years-sundry-characters-plots-subplots-on-id-much-rather-listen-
I do feel like a fraud a lot of the time because I've never been interested in people who say 'I'm a writer', 'I'm an artist'. Too much is made of the role and not enough of the work. We are such a celebrity-driven age and a status-driven age, that the status becomes more important than the actual work.
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The tourists had money and we needed it; they only asked in return to be lied to and deceived and told that single most important thing, that they were safe, that their sense of security-national, individual, spiritual-wasn't a bad joke being played on them by a bored and capricious destiny. To be told that there was no connection between then and now, that they didn't need to wear a black armband or have a bad conscience about their power and their wealth and everybody else's lack of it; to feel rotten that no-one could or would explain why the wealth of a few seemed so curiously dependent on the misery of the many. We kindly pretended that it was about buying and selling chairs, about them asking questions about price and heritage, and us replying in like manner. But it wasn't about price and heritage, it wasn't about that at all. The tourists had insistent, unspoken questions and we just had to answer as best we could, with forged furniture. They were really asking, 'Are we safe?' and we were really replying, 'No, but a barricade of useless goods may help block the view.' And because hubris is not just an ancient Greek word but a human sense so deep-seated we might better regard it as an unerring instinct, they were also wanting to know, 'If it is our fault, then will we suffer?' and we were really replying, 'Yes, and slowly, but a fake chair may make us both feel better about it.
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Tracker Marks was of a different opinion. Though he seemed more white than a white man, he had no time for their ways. For him his dress, his deportment was no different than staying downwind in the shadows of trees when hunting, blending into the world of those he hunted, rather than standing out from it. Once he had excelled at the emu dance and the kangaroo dance; then his talent led him to the whitefella dance, only now no-one was left of his tribe to stand around the fire and laugh and praise his talent for observation and stealthy imitation. The whites have no law, he told Capois Death, no dreaming. Their way of life made no sense whatsoever. Still, he did not hate them or despise them. They were stupid beyond belief, but they had a power, and somehow their stupidity and their power were, in Tracker Marks's mind, inextricably connected. But how? he asked Capois Death. How can power and ignorance sleep together? Questions to which Capois Death had no answer.
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Why at the beginning of things is there always light? Dorrigo Evans' earliest memories were of sun flooding a church hall in which he sat with his mother and grandmother. A wooden church hall. Blinding light and him toddling back and forth, in and out of its transcendent welcome, into the arms of women. Women who loved him. Like entering the sea and returning to the beach. Over and over.
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I do not share the pessimism of the age about the novel. They are one of our greatest spiritual, aesthetic and intellectual inventions. As a species it is story that distinguishes us, and one of the supreme expressions of story is the novel. Novels are not content. Nor are they are a mirror to life or an explanation of life or a guide to life. Novels are life, or they are nothing.
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What do the hieroglyphs tell us of what it was like to live under the lash, building the pyramids? Do we talk of that? Do we? No, we talk of the magnificence and majesty of the Egyptians. Of the Romans. Of Saint Petersburg, and nothing of the bones of the hundred thousand slaves that it is built on.
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Decades would pass. A few short sections would be formed in time into strangely resurrected, trunkless legs-tourist sites, sacred sites, national sites. For the line was broken, as all lines finally are; it was on longing for meaning and hope, but the annals of the past are a muddy story of chaos only. And of that colossal ruin, boundless and buried, the lone and level jungle stretched far away. Of imperial dreams and dead men, all that remained was long grass.
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For an instant he thought he grasped the truth of a terrifying world in which one could not escape horror, in which violence was eternal, the great and only verity, greater than the civilisations it created, greater than any god man worshiped, for it was the only true god. It was as if man existed only to transmit violence to ensure its domain is eternal. For the world did not change, this violence had always existed and would never be eradicated, men would die under the boot and fists and horror of other men until the end of time, and all human history was a history of violence.
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It was a part he felt himself feeling his way into, and the longer it went on, the more the men around him confirmed him in his role. It was as if they were willing him into being, as though there had to be a Big Fella, and, having desperate need of such, their growing respect, their whispered asides, their opinion of him - all this trapped him into behaving as everything he knew he was not. As if rather than him leading them by example they were leading him through adulation.
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Much has been made about the death of the novel and the end of literature as it's seen to be assailed by technology, by the web, by the many and varied new forms of entertainment and culture. I don't share that pessimism because I think it is one of the great inventions of the human spirit.
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He felt the withering of something, the way risk was increasingly eliminated, replaced with a bland new world where the viewing of food preparation would be felt to be more than the reading of poetry; where excitement would come from paying for a soup made out of foraged grass. He had eaten soup made out of foraged grass in the camps; he preferred food.
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