Today, an authoress came to visit our Ulpan and tell us all about what it's like to be an authoress. The speech, frankly, was insanely dull. The women subscribes to a more mushy-gushy style of thought than I could ever tolerate, the speech was an hour and a half long, and to top it off, she was deliberately lowering her level of speech so as to adapt to our limited vocabularies.
She did, however, say one thing that caught my attention- that she likes to write because she can create a world in which she is like G-d, where she can decide who lives and who dies, who is happy and who miserable. That she likes it because the real world seems cruel, chaotic, and arbitrary, and writing lets her create a world that is governed by rhyme and reason and so forth.
My G-d, what a ghastly thought. I know how I govern the world of my stories. I kill characters because it seems the thing to do, because I want to see how they react, because it makes for a more interesting plot. Once I killed a fairly major character because I liked the effect of his blood on the snow.
And it's not like I don't like my characters. I can create a character with whom I identify strongly, bring him up from a child with endearing little character traits, put him through school, give him a family and a mode of thinking and children and aspirations and who knows what and kill him simply because I have thought of an interesting way to phrase the scene. Or bump off one of his children just because I think he would cope with it entertainingly. Or inflict and remove a wound as my whim takes me, depending on whether at that moment I think he'd be better with a scar. And even as I do it, I feel bad for the poor thing, really I do. I mean, he has one lousy life.
Miri says that it's just me. She says that she never kills or tortures a character just for the fun of it. But then, she adds that she will give them troubles just because it seems the thing to do, or because the story needs it, or because it's the thing to do.
I don't know. I think I would prefer for the world to run entirely by chance than for it to be run like a story, with G-d dropping tragedies down on us just because we suffer so darn interestingly.
Or maybe it is simply that- that we have to suffer because otherwise there is no story. Because you can't have a book or a life without conflict. And maybe better authors planning more ordered books have better motives than my arbitrary, capricious ones. But even so- of all the images of G-d that I have ever attempted to conceive, the one of Him sitting at a writing desk, notebook open before Him, is probably the one that appeals to me the least.