Evelyn's Blog for Oct 14, 2017 - A WRITER'S ANONYMITY

Choose Fame or Anonymity.  Be careful which you choose.

If you are a writer, you will choose anonymity. It gives you space to breathe and think. You can wander the world and observe human behavior. You can isolate yourself and imagine stories. No one gets in your face.

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John le Carre, the master spy writer, hides out in his isolated beach top house.

Henry James (and other famous writers) burned all of his letters and work papers, protecting himself from the “predators”.


Recently a biographer, James Atlas, wrote an arrogant moralistic book about  Saul Bellow, the Nobel Prize winner for Literature in 1976.


Woah! The biographer should have walked in Bellow's moccasins for three days and then asked himself, Would I have done better in like circumstances? Surprise: Bellow is a human being. 

A biographer serves a good purpose in revealing an author’s themes and sources. But to invade an author’s inner sanctum and pontificate is going too far. 

SOURCES FOR THEMES Outside the self:

Henry James dined out at other people’s homes half the nights of his life. He was a famous raconteur; his monologues were highly anticipated. One night he was at a dinner table sitting opposite a very rich, stern aristocratic father and mild, plain daughter. James, the raconteur, fell silent in observation. Guests  respected his sudden silence; obviously he was observing, taking in, his mind was at work. No one bothered him. But James' inner sanctum was not at work. Here was a gift from the outside world. And James simply wrote it. It became "Washington Square" which became the film "The Heiress" (Olivia de Havilland, Ralph Richardson, and Montgomery Clift).

My most recent book, "An Incident in the Family" was also a gift.

 I simply wrote it and stopped. If you read it knowing that its original title was “Tamma Millerman’s Inheritance”, you will see my mind at work.