This week, we could use a little help from the Spirit of Christmas Past, because we’re talking about spending time with (long dead) authors we love. Have you ever wanted to ask Franz Kafka if if drugs played any role in the writing of The Metamorphosis or do you want to know if Mary Shelley would be awesome to party with? (‘Cause I am SURE she would be.)
This week we’re talking about interviewing our literary heroes even if they’re dead.
Last week’s winner? Beth B.!!!
This week my guests will share their answers with us, and you, gentle readers, can give your answer to my question in the comment section below. I’ll choose one random person from the comments and reward them with an ebook surprise, it’s that simple!
Tell me what your answer to today’s question would be in the comments, and you could win an e-book!
This weeks question is: If you could interview long-dead authors, who would you invite?
Rueful, most vexed, that tender skin
Should accept so fell a wound,
He stamped and cracked stalks to the ground
Which had caused his dear girl pain.
— Sylvia Plath, “Bucolics” (http://www.internal.org/Sylvia_Plath/Bucolics)
During the holiday season, it seems a bit morbid to be focusing on dark works, but I’ve been told many times I possess a dark side. When Z.A. Maxfield posed the question about interviewing long-dead authors, I immediately thought of Sylvia Plath and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who wrote the haunting short story “The Yellow Wallpaper.”
Growing up with a mother who suffered from mental illness, I supposed affects my early inspirations. Plath deals with depression through The Bell Jar, and poetry. The language of “Bucolics” is brisk and shocking. Likewise, Gilman wrote about a woman slowly losing her mind, until the reader cannot discern the insanity from reality. – Author Louisa Bacio
As a person and an author, I often feel the constrains of society. Not in any big or significant way, but more in the nature of, “Why can’t I say what I want to? Why do I have to be polite to people who don’t deserve my good manners? Why do I have to hold back when they get away with doing what they want?” The long dead authors I’d want to interview are two authors who didn’t let polite society hold them back.
Lord Byron and Oscar Wilde were as reknowned for their personal lives as they were for their literary works. Sure, they seem like a popular answer to ZAM’s Sunday Brunch question, but my reasons for wanting to interview them probably don’t fit the conventional mold. For one, I probably wouldn’t ask them much about their writing. I’d want to ask them about what it’s like to flaunt the conventions and set your inner self free. I’ve always been more interested in their personal lives because that’s what fueled their muse. Every writer’s personal life fuels their muse whether they admit to it or not and these two literary figures had very flamboyant, don’t-give-a-damn-about-convention lives.
Lord Byron had a notorious affair with the married Lady Caroline Lamb who styled him, “mad, bad and dangerous to know.” He was rumored to have had homosexual affairs as well as an incestuous one with his half-sister. No one could accuse Byron of having lived a conventional life and Oscar Wilde was just as unconventional. Wilde famously gave an explanation of “the love that dare not speak its name” in court during his trial for sodomy and public indecency. I don’t think he meant those words to become the banner for homosexuality that they’ve become but I wonder if he’d like that they did. It’s definitely a question I’d ask him.
Neither of these literary figures seems to have cared much about what others said of them. It only makes me wonder if they had any regrets for the way they lived their lives. It makes me wonder if their lifestyles and their flaunting of conventions helped fuel their muses. The recklessness, the sense of freedom they must have had while flying in the face of convention, inspires me and if I had the ability to interview them that is what I would want them to talk about.
I recently sent a short story to RWA for possible inclusion in their first ever anthology. I don’t know yet whether it will be accepted for the book and I wonder if it is the only MM story they received. It’s entitled Flying in the Face of Convention and I wonder if Wilde and Byron would like it. At the very least, I imagine it would be a spirited conversation if we were to discuss it together!