“Traditions can become dogma, and breaking free of these strictures would be the doctrinal equivalent of one of Harry Houdini’s famous escape acts. Francis, if he wants to change them, must do so without actually appearing to have done so.”—Alexander Stille on a bombshell document at the Vatican synod. (via newyorker)
“So there you have it: two things & I can’t bring them together & they are wrenching me apart. These two feelings, this knowledge of a world so awful, this sense of a life so extraordinary - how am I to resolve them?”—Richard Flanagan, Gould’s Book of Fish (via invisiblestories)
There seems to be this widely perceived notion that authors agree with everything they have their main protagonist say and do. I was just wondering if you knew where how this came about, seeing as you and hazel grace are so obviously the same exact person.
Well, authors invite this—or at least authors like me do, by putting so much of our personal selves online and engaging in conversations outside stories, so it’s a little unfair to be like, “Follow me on tumblr and twitter and youtube and instagram, but NEVER TRY TO FIND ME INSIDE MY NOVELS.” As a reader, I find it impossible to ignore the author when they’re someone I know, whether online or off.
Also, we live in a quote culture: We see quotes all day across the Internet, and those quotes almost never come with real context. Like, the protagonist of Katherines says, “What’s the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?” Now, I don’t think that’s a problematic approach to life, and I hope during the course of the novel Colin comes around to the idea that there’s great meaning and joy in the so-called unremarkable life. (As if anything on this planet overflowing with life is unremarkable.) But as I get older, I find myself less and less annoyed about the inevitable decontextualization that accompanies quotation. If people find something useful, okay.
It’s so very hard to separate yourself as a person from your work, no matter what kind of work you do. (e.g.: As a high school student, I was disengaged and sloppy with occasional moments of promise, which to me meant that as a person I was disengaged and sloppy with moments of promise. But really, who you are in your job or education is not exactly who you are.) But I am not my work. It is up to other people, if they are so kind as to read and watch the stuff I make, to judge its quality and/or usefulness. The core things I am—a husband, a father, a brother, a son, a nerdfighter, a friend, etc.—are not dependent on my books being any good. Thank God for that.
I don’t think I answered your question. Sorry. The only answer I have to your question is that I believe books belong to their readers.
“The solar system is not in the center of the Milky Way galaxy, and the Milky Way galaxy is not in the center of the universe. And in case you are one of those people who think that the edge may be a special place, we are not at the edge of anything either.”—Neil deGrasse Tyson (via whats-out-there)