- Recent goings on.
Hello! July is happening. When the sun comes out I’ve been mostly hanging around in the countryside. The villages are pretty, the wheat fields are full of life. The landscapes are all familiar – but we are living in a very different country now.
I grew up in an army family. We once went on a train through the former East Germany (en route to Berlin). When we crossed the iron curtain into the Eastern Bloc I was surprised that the flat north German landscape looked exactly the same as the one we had just left in the West.
It wasn’t, of course! It just looked like it.
- For the dreamers.
Some thoughts on realism.
Fact is stranger than fiction, right? It’s often hard to replicate the randomness of real life when writing fiction.
I went to a lecture once where the author William Goldman talked about “Robinson Crusoe,” a novel by Daniel Defoe presented as a real memoir when it was published in 1719. Many contemporary readers believed it to be true.
It’s probably because the story, though fantastic, always sticks strictly to the realms of the plausible. The book is full of immense detail.
One small example: When Crusoe swims out to the wreckage of his ship to salvage what he can, he finds, “There had been some barley and wheat together; but, to my great disappointment, I found afterwards that the rats had eaten or spoiled it all… there were three barrels of powder in the ship, two of them dry and good, the third had taken water.”
That third barrel is the killer detail. Defoe was sixty when he wrote Robinson Crusoe. It was his first novel. Prior to that he had been a journalist. In that profession, he knew specifics have power in creating authenticity. As I recall, it was the listing of spoiled goods Golding particularly liked!
Thank you for reading!