My narrative style centers around intimate, highly subjective depictions of personal experience and internal landscapes. In 'March,' everything fell into place as soon as I began identifying strongly with John Lewis as a young boy and saw how we shared the same kind of gravity and intensity as youngsters.
Something about the turbulence of adolescence makes you want to do something creative... I thought as I got older I would stop writing about it, but I find adolescence, and popular depictions of it, very interesting. I like to see where my own life intersects or diverges from notions of what a teenager is supposed to be, or what a black person is supposed to be, or a woman.
If you look at television shows, which of course are fictional so you don't expect them to be real, but they're constantly showing career women who are also successful mothers and also look gorgeous. And we fall into believing that these fictional lives are somehow accurate depictions of what our real lives should be about.
I grew up in northern Minnesota on 40 acres of wooded land 20 miles from the nearest town, and so the wilderness was home. It was not an unsafe place. I had that advantage. But there are so many representations of the wilderness being dangerous. You know, depictions of wild animals attacking people. It's like, "No, we kill those animals in far greater numbers than they kill us."
Just watch any husband arguing with his wife about something insignificant; listen to what they say and watch how their residual emotions manifest when the fight is over. It's so formulaic and unsurprising that you wouldn't dare re-create it in a movie. All the critics would mock it. They'd all say the screenwriter was a hack who didn't even try. This is why movies have less value than we like to pretend - movies can't show reality, because honest depictions of reality offend intelligent people.
Few literary depictions of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake match the intensity and visceral power of those in Flacco's gripping first novel. The author's screenwriting talent shines in this story of the earth's destructive power and humanity's moral depravity. The emerging maniacal personality, revealed in increasingly gruesome and venomous detail, rivals the Ripper.Dickens meets Hannibal Lecter. Brace yourself.
In assembling this group of portraits of women, I'm aware that I'm treading on dangerous ground. When I was in college, I learned to be distrustful of men's depictions of women. I remember seeing Garry Winogrand's book Women Are Beautiful in the school library and being shocked that it hadn't been defaced for its blatant objectification of women. But looking back, maybe I was too harsh. Whether one photographs men or women, it is always a form of objectification. Whatever you say about Winogrand, his depiction was honest.
It doesn't take a literary detective, scanning the passage above, to notice that he is partly saying of Orwell what Orwell actually says about Gissing. This half-buried resentment can be further noticed when Williams turns to paradox. I have already insisted that Orwell contains opposites and even contradictions, but where is the paradox in a 'humane man who communicated an extreme of inhuman terror'? Where is the paradox in 'a man committed to decency who actualized a distinctive squalor'? The choice of verbs is downright odd, if not a little shady. 'Communicated'? 'Actualised'? Assuming that Williams means to refer to Nineteen Eighty-Four in the first case, which he certainly does, would it not be more precise to say that Orwell 'evoked' or even 'prefigured' or perhaps simply 'described' an extreme of inhuman terror? Yet that choice of verb, because more accurate, would be less 'paradoxical.' Because what Williams means to imply, but is not brave enough to say, is that Orwell 'invented' the picture of totalitarian collectivism. As for 'actualising' a distinctive squalor, the author of that useful book Keywords has here chosen a deliberately inexact term. He may mean Nineteen Eighty-Four again-he is obsessed with the 'gritty dust' that infests Orwell's opening passage-or he may mean the depictions of the mean and cramped (and malodorous) existence imposed on the denizens of Wigan Pier. But to 'actualise' such squalor is either to make it real-no contradiction to decency-or to make it actually occur, a suggestion which is obviously nonsensical.