Thursday, May 20, 2010

Your Writing, Yourself

Readers posed many interesting questions during my recent virtual book tour. Here's one that I went back to and re-read today. Is an author's fiction a reflection of her or his reality? You decide.

The Q & A -

Sasha asked:

I would really like to know how autobiographical the book [Resolution 786] really is! There are certain similarities between the writers personal life story (mentioned on the cover) and that of the main character, this is not by chance, is it?

Thanks again for a great book! enjoyed reading it...

Mohamed answered:


And my thanks to you for your kind assessment of the novel!

I can’t put a numerical value on how autobiographical this novel is, but qualitatively, the short answer’s “A lot.” Scene 1 has a physical description of Adam Hueghlomm. It’s pretty darn close to what I see in the mirror. Adam’s an Indian born in Africa. Same here. Adam’s an engineer working for the Army. You can guess who else is. And the list goes on and on….

For me, fiction is a form of catharsis for long-standing psychoses. Accepting that premise, it’s inevitable that the created is a reflection of the creator. I came to a realization recently while quietly composing at my writing desk in the early winter morning: the primary male characters in my second novel are projections of major archetypes that comprise my present being. These archetypes are the noble poet; the miserable wretch; orthodoxy’s interrogator; and the curious child. I think that all writers write from their personal experiences, from who and what they are at that moment of composition. That said, I don’t think that most writers indulge themselves as much as I do in making their central characters SO MUCH like themselves. That type of self-indulgence does have an admittedly narcissistic quality to it, and I don’t give myself a free pass. On page 42 of Resolution 786, in speaking about Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, Becca asks, “What kind of egomaniac puts himself in his own writing.”

The lovely Becca Gowetski might be saying that, but the truth is, that’s me taking a well- deserved jab at myself.

Thanks for picking up on the autobiographical elements of the novel. No, it wasn’t by chance. It was by self-indulgence.


  1. Quoting you: ..."fiction is a form of catharsis for long standing psychoses...thus the created is a reflection of the creator.."

    y'know one of the turning points in my appreciation of literature was reading James Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" The intensely narcissistic quality of sheer steady over documentation of the details of the protagonist's inner emotional impressions left a lasting influence on my notion of creative self-expression and an awareness of the potential THERAPEUTIC potency of self-portraiture consciously or unconsciously implemented. My work pictures the protagonist at the opening in a psychotic hospital- o yes! that is a picture of me locked a titanic struggle to make sense of the undeniable fact of my existence! Sometimes when i read the biblical story of god having made man in his image i wonder how much the writers had a similar picture of the divine being in mind.

  2. John,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughtful observations. I don't think a creator can ever escape leaving some form of his or her own experiential being and "DNA" in his or her creation.
    I've read some of your articles on subjects ranging from the Big Bang to Biblical analyses. My hat's off to you for thinking so deeply about such a wide range of subjects.
    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us,