“Gossip is living history. History is petrified gossip“. – A.O. Scott
I love this. Imagine finding a hunk of petrified gossip in your backyard.
Here are some more quotes from A.O. Scott’s essay on the author William Maxwell:
“Maxwell (is) an unacknowledged forerunner of autofiction, that much-argued-over postmodern style of almost-autobiographical, self-ventriloquizing prose.”
I may not love this quote as much. Almost-autobiographical self-ventriloquizing? Does Scott think a ventriloquist is hiding behind a dummy, a false front? That’s a misunderstanding of both ventriloquism and autofiction. On the other hand, if Scott is thinking from a ventriloquist’s point of view, I buy the analogy – autofiction is creating fascinating characters, taken from your life, who do most of the talking while the audience can plainly see that you are fabricating the entire world.
“…the advantages of autofiction (are) specificity, modesty, candor…the pitfalls (are) solipsism and passive aggressive self-consciousness.”
Specificity, modesty and candor all sound good but solipsism, “the view that the self is all that can be known to exist,” seems the opposite of autofiction. For me, creating autofiction means spending years writing about everything and everyone around me, the world outside of myself. As for passive aggressive self-consciousness, I’m not sure what it looks like in print but I will definitely try to avoid it.
Read Jeff’s autofiction for FREE – every chapter of Love Death Circus is posted on his site. You can also purchase paperback and e-reader editions of Secret Life of Clowns and paperback editions of The Snow Clown.