And no-one mentioned a thing (...)


I knew when I wrote it. I hated it then and I hate it now. Because that area in myself had become so powerful it threatened to swallow everything else, I went off to the witch-doctor, my soul in my hands. Yet the healer herself, when the word Art cropped up, smiled complacently; that sacred animal the artist justifies everything, everything he does is justified. The complacent smile, the tolerant nod, is not even confined to the cultivated healers, or the professors; it's the property of the money-changers, the little jackals of the press, the enemy. When a film mogul wants to buy an artist - and the real reason why he seeks out the original talent and the spark of creativity is because he wants to destroy it, unconsciously that's what he wants, to justify himself by destroying the real thing - he calls the victim an artist. You are an artist, of course... and the victim more often than not, smirks, and swallows his disgust.

The real reason why so many artists now take to politics, 'commitment' and so on is that they are rushing into a discipline, any discipline at all, which will save them from the poison of the word 'artist' used by the enemy.

I remember very clearly the moment in which that novel was born. The pulse beat, violently; afterwards, when I knew I would write, I worked out what I could write. The 'subject' was almost immaterial. Yet now what interests me is precisely this - why did I not write an account of what had happened, instead of shaping a 'story' which had nothing to do with the material that fuelled it. Of course, the straight, simple, formless account would not have been a 'novel', and would not have got published, but I was genuinely not interested in 'being a writer' or even in making money. I am not talking now of that game writers play with themselves when writing, the psychological game - that written incident came from that real incident, that character was transposed from that one in life, this relationship was the psychological twin of that. I am simply asking myself: Why a story at all - not that it was a bad story, or untrue, or that it debased anything. Why not, simply, the truth?