09 September 2008
I've been thinking about James Lee Burke. Listening to his books on tape read by Will Patton. My dad gave me one for the road trip back to Mexico over a month ago. Lousiana or the border wars both hover over our heads days; some kind of storms brewing .I am grateful for JLB's perspective; his way of describing people, feelings about current events and the best and worst that are our characters. We agree, my dad and I, that JLB writes like a photographer SEEs.
I found this essay Burke wrote and wanted to share it with you. WRITERS ON WRITING BY James LEE BURKE.
"A real writer is driven both by obsession and a secret vanity, namely that he has a perfect vision of the truth, in the same way that the camera lens can close perfectly on a piece of the external world. "
"Jack Kerouac once said, "Your art is the Holy Ghost blowing through your soul." He also said that there was no such thing as failure in art, not when you genuinely invest yourself in it. What a critic might call failure is just part of larger work that is ongoing.
The material for the stories is everywhere. The whole human family becomes your cast of characters. You can give voice to those who have none and expose those who would turn the earth into a sludge pit. As an artist you have automatic membership in a group that is loathed, feared and denigrated by every dictator and demagogue in the world.