I’ve gone back to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man for inspiration, this year. As I suffer through the exfoliation phase of writing and the need to purge my life through memoirs, I hope it will lead me somewhere once I’m through, however long it takes.
Portrait is alive with the senses. His writing is a reminder that we can make music out of the banal: art is available anywhere, to anyone who can receive and transmit it.
Joyce wrote Portrait prior to his masterpiece, Ulysses. Because it’s semi-biographical, I wonder if it was a necessary thing he had to do, before he could move on to Ulysses.
There is something to the fact that Joyce named the lead character after the Greek myth of Daedalus, father to Icarus, who gets trapped in a labyrinth of his own construction. Was Joyce relating to the myth, through his own process of writing and creation, getting lost in oneself? Or being damned by one’s own creation?
I only know a few writers in person, and one had a similar experience, of needing to get rid of a lot of personal stuff from the past, before he could go further. He hand wrote his life story, and then burned it.
Our other friend Patrick is publishing his first novel this fall. It took him eight years to figure it out, but he did.
It’s a complex, coming of age thing to have the audacity to write, to commit yourself to it. To assume the realization of sure-fire failure, and stick your face into it, despite.
If you can relate to this, please let me know what you think: why do people write memoirs?
I know many do to preserve their life as a record for their loved ones, but can it enable a writer to move on to something else?
See this lovely post from earlier in the week for more on writing, and Patty’s comment on the writing process.