Guest Post: ‘Go Set a Watchman’ and the Loss of Literary Belief (Calderon)

Mockingbird bookGo Set a Watchman and the Loss of Literary Belief

Chris Calderon

“You think she’s racist?” That’s the question I might have asked if Go Set a Watchman had been released instead of its critically acclaimed rewrite, To Kill a Mockingbird. If Watchman had been released in 1960 and I’d been around at the time, I might have said I was in the hands of a very immature novice, one who may or may not share in some of the prejudices of her characters; it’s kind of hard to tell (I would have hypothetically said).

For the record, I don’t actually think that Nellie Harper Lee is in any way a segregationist. Her best and only work displays a mind that is too mature for such nonsense. This is what makes the shortcomings of a book like Go Set a Watchman all the more glaring in light of what it would become. In reading Watchman, it’s possible to tell what makes it a mediocre work in comparison with the powerhouse that is Mockingbird.

WatchmanI also notice a trend in the lengths some reviewers were willing to go in order to defend what’s really just an over-glorified first draft. I think an examination of both the draft and the response of certain readers, as well as a look at the peculiar circumstances surrounding Watchman‘s publication can shed light not just on the quality of Watchman as a novel, but also what it says about how modern audiences and even publishers look at the very concept of fiction.

An Overview

In terms of story, Go Set a Watchman is fairly straightforward. It tells the story of twenty-something Jean-Louise Finch, a displaced Southerner living in New York and perhaps a failed Bohemian (there really is nothing approaching the little rabble rouser nicknamed Scout, and what little there is proves to meager to save the proceedings) during a visit back to her old home town of Maycomb, Alabama.

During the early stages of the novel there is actually very little that happens. We see Jean-Louise interact with both her father and her possible childhood sweet-heart, Henry “Hank” Clinton. Introductions seem almost cursory even with clears signs that the author is trying to do her best to make these characters relatable. Despite this Jean-Louise embarrassingly puts the reader in mind of a little known Doris Day feature called Pillow Talk, a film that somehow encapsulates 50’s era insipidity.

“She (Jean-Louise) was afflicted with a restlessness of spirit he couldn’t guess at, but he knew she was the one for him. He would protect her; he would marry her.
“Tired of New York?” he said.
“Give me a free hand for these two weeks and I’ll make you tired of it.”
“Is that an improper suggestion?”
“Go to hell, then.” (13)

On top of this, Atticus Finch appears to be nowhere in sight. Instead of the silent dignity of the patriarchal figure most readers have come to know, we are treated to a cantankerous old cuss whose country corn-pone diction is painful in its awkward cadences. While there is most likely a place for such caricature, it often doesn’t work if the mannerisms are given to a character that they don’t fit.

atticusAtticus: “I don’t understand how a man like this can have the brass to give us his views on the Hiss case. It’s like Fennimore Cooper writin’ the Waverly Novels.”…”No understanding of American politics a-tall” (18).

After spending a few pages with this character, you begin to wonder how Jean can find anything to admire in him. Amidst all this, Hank Clinton submerges into the background as just a cardboard cutout whose sole reason for being present is to first give Jean-Louise a metaphorical wall to bounce off of: first in the form of an indecisive love interest, then more like a cat post for her to sharpen her ineffectual claws on.

From there (and after a night of skinny-dipping which isn’t worth the minor stir it causes next day), the narrative more or less meanders as Jean-Louise makes her way through the town and catches up on old times. In these passages, Lee sets out the the town of Maycomb, its citizens and history. This might have been considered and interesting addition to the text we already know, and might have had some potential, if only Lee wouldn’t insist on playing a lot of it for laughs. Instead of Yoknapatawpha County, we’re given Mayberry RFD by way of The New Yorker.

The only point at which this becomes more than of passing interest is a brief foray into her childhood, as Jean-Louise reminisces about growing up with her brother Jem (who I forgot to mention is taking a dirt nap due to a week heart as the novel opens, and hence plays no role at all in the action). For the briefest moment, as this scene opens up, a glimpse is caught of whatever narrative magic it was that Ms. Lee tapped into to make her Mockingbird novel so iconic.

“Hey”, said Dill, “Let’s play Tarzan today. I’m gonna be Tarzan.”
“You can’t be Tarzan,” said Jem.
“I’m Jane,” she said. (55)

Unfortunately, in Watchman the glimpse turns out to be fleeting, so that instead of a much needed shot in the arm, the narrative is left with a series of might-have-beens (that were nevertheless not left hanging for long).

It is is in Chapter 8 that the narratives stops meandering and Lee gets down to business. It is also where the big bombshell that’s been talked to death in the reviews gets dropped. It is also were she shows how little confidence she has in her own fledgling abilities or the narrative she has to work with.

Mockingbird 1On a table, Jean-Louise spots a racist tract on a table in her father’s house (101). She then makes her way to the court house where a meeting is in progress. It is here that the audience is treated what might be considered an inverted parody of the famous defense scene from Mockingbird. Both Watchman and Mockingbird involve a child watching her father unobserved from the balcony row.

The difference is that Mockingbird delivers a scene that in both setting and rhetoric almost harkens back to the classic Greek Tragedian Theater. In the Watchman version, all that happened was that Atticus introduces Grady O’Hanlon, a never seen before character who launches into a speech that’s pretty much unrepeatable here. All that can be said is that it’s racist and that the Watchman Atticus seems to share Hanlon’s sentiments.

From there the rest of the book reads more like a tract, some third rate Sunday School version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and less like an actual novel. Whereas the first half was given over to meandering failed attempts at humor, the second features the kind of speechifying dialogue made famous by Reginald Rose and Paddy Chayefsky.

In a different story written by either of these playwrights, such soapbox dialogue would have blended into the drama in such a way that didn’t insult the audiences intelligence. Aside perhaps from the defense speech in Mockingbird, Ms. Lee’s work here seems to imply that the kind of soapbox theatrics employed by Rose isn’t exactly her strong point. Characters that were one dimensional to begin with are now reduced further to mere cyphers for the point-counterpoint of the remaining chapters.

Mockingbird 2In fact, there is a scene in which the author relies on the trope of the villain sneaking behind the heroine. “She turned around and stared at her father. His hat was pushed back on his head; his eyebrows were raised; he was smiling at her” (235). The only thing missing from the above description is Atticus twirling his mustache while wearing a sinister top hat and cape. If nothing else, it should be a clue to the audience as how she wants us to view this particular character. The problem is she can’t find anywhere to go with it.

In the end, the final blow is the reveal that Jean-Louise herself, we’re told, is racist, and it is implied that this is a fact that she is, at last, willing to except. The problems with that sentiment go as follows.

(1) If the novel wants us to think of Jean-Louise as prejudiced, then it is the novelists task to write a convincing character portrait of any fitting negative trait that can clinically be associated with the term racist. However, if the goal is to show the Jean as a racist, then the character is just never given enough opportunity to prove herself as one.

Her main character trait is that of a confused and wounded idealist who is slowly being engulfed by her circumstances. This makes her neither racist, nor sympathetic given the novel’s flaws and how poorly sketched in she is.

This leads to the second problem, and perhaps the book’s main flaw of self-contradiction.

(2) How is it possible for a child to be raised in a racist household and not display any similar characteristics? To be fair, there is at least one way this sort of thing may happen, and that is when the child consciously and directly rebels against their parents misguided view of people. This sort of occurrence actually did and still does happen in real life, and it wouldn’t have been too much trouble to make Jean someone who in fact had rebelled against her father.

mockingbird 3The way, however, that she is presented in the novel gives no indication that such a fight for freedom ever has or does take place. This further makes no sense because even if her father never displayed any racist behavior to his children, surely someone in town or a local kid would eventually point the fact out, and his cover would be blown. Instead, these are all story logistics that Ms. Lee never seems to realize in this early draft.

It is important to emphasize the fact that Go Set a Watchman is in fact and early draft, and not one that, judged on its own merits, shows any future promise of something like To Kill a Mockingbird. That such a story did emerge from the ashes of such an aborted first attempt is a testament to the talent that lay hidden in Ms. Lee’s imagination all along, and for the perception of her editor Tay Hohoff  for being able to recognize the potential hidden away within her mind, and for being able to help her bring it into the light for all to see. Otherwise, it is a dull, tedious read, and one that is insulting both to a justly well-regarded artist, and the classic piece of literature to which will, I hope, ultimately stand as the only true marker of her talent.

With that said, what is shocking about the release of Watchman isn’t entirely the book itself, so much as what can be learned from the history of its road to publication, and from the reaction of a very popular majority of critics and members of the audience.

A Publishing Controversy?

In her 15 February 2015 HogwartsProfessor post on the impending release of Go Set a Watchman, Louise Freeman expressed a concern for whether or not the “new book” was released with the full consent of Harper Lee.

The news of the release is also marred by suspicions about the text, and how it just happened to be “rediscovered” three short months after the death of Alice Lee, Harper Lee’s older sister and lawyer who staunchly protected her sister’s interests and privacy for decades, until she retired from her law practice at the tender age of 100. News stories about how Lee may have been cheated out of her Mockingbird copyright and about a recent maybe-authorized-maybe-not biography have re-surfaced and have raised questions over whether the 88-year-old author is in any shape to give informed consent to the publication of this material.

harper leeCertainly she has a long-standing pattern of avoiding publicity and it seems odd for her to change her mind at her age. I sincerely hope there is a way of having someone with no financial stake in the matter look into the arrangement and confirm that everything is happening with Ms. Lee’s full understanding and in accordance with her wishes. As much as I’d like to revisit Maycomb, I would never want anyone to take Miss Maudie’s snow without her permission, even to build a rare and wonderful snowman for the neighborhood’s enjoyment.

In the aftermath of Watchman‘s publication Mrs. Freeman’s concerns have now spread to the greater public. More than one critic has raised a voice of skepticism concerning the novel’s publication. The most vocal critic appears to be Joe Nocera, who in a July 2015 column of The New York Times went so far as to label Watchman’s publication as a case of publishing fraud. This is an accusation that has existed long before the publication of Watchman, with several voices, among them Malcolm Jones and NPR. There was even talk of a boycott of the novel at one point. It is possible that the great majority of people will find such accusations far fetched. However I am curious.

My question is simply this: what if this not an isolated incident but rather part of an ongoing trend? What if the publication of an old rough draft long since discarded by Harper Lee were a pointer to perhaps a new policy among publishers in regards to the intellectual property of their authors?

To give some perspective, there are at least three more instances that sound and may be similar to what we are witnessing with Watchman. In 2013 Stephen King released a so called “sequel” to The Shining. That same year Neil Gaiman released the latest installment of his Sandman comics, several years after he brought the comic to a definitive end. And, of course, there is the case of Jo Rowling being pressured by both her publisher and, perhaps, Warner Brothers to milk more Potter.

In all these three examples, there is at least the possibility of authors having their work fall victim to executive meddling. What this has to do with Harper Lee’s Watchman is the possibility that Lee herself has fallen victim to this same publishing malady. In fact, critic Ryu Spaeth makes more or less this claim in The Week (a charge which raises similar issues to Freeman’s post about the “sequel”).

I don’t say that this is definitive in any of these cases (with the possible exception of Rowling), yet when taken together there is at least the possibility of famous stories being regarded less as masterpieces to be treasures, studied, and learned, and more as geese to be exploited for all the golden eggs they’re worth (i.e. until they are deemed unprofitable). While Spaeth and Freeman seem to be among the several reasonable voices expressing concern, it is with the defenders that I think the more revealing notes are played.

The Elephant in the Room

It If anything, the reaction both casual fans and critics to the story contained within the pages of the Watchman draft reveal a great deal about current reading habits, as well as the overall nature of how today’s audience both relate to and approach any given work of fiction regardless of medium or voice. A sampling overview of published reviews shows a very polarized reaction across the board. There is very little in the way of a middle ground. This is understandable considering the nature of the elephant in the room that’s constantly looking over the shoulder of both Watchman and its more successful re-setting and revision.

mockingbird 4To Kill a Mockingbird was and continues to be one of the most controversial texts ever released. Considering the way it is written and the subject matter it tackles, it is perhaps inevitable that controversy would dog its tracks more or less indefinitely. The major failing of a lot of the criticism of Mockingbird is detectable in the same reviews that fawn all over Watchman. The problem is how difficult measuring any work of literature in terms of multiculturalism proves to be in practice.

It is likely that the work of most authors throughout history would fail such a test, if only for the reason that their minds were focused on other subjects at the their time of composition. This is an idea that could be applied even to Harper Lee as she penned her own work. However it is one thing to acknowledge that an author doesn’t have civics lesson in mind when they sit down to write. It is another to insinuate they are part of a worldwide social problem as some critics are content to do.

To throw my own hat into the ring, I’d have to say that it’s an all lose, no win situation. I think that believing in the very idea of race itself constitutes racism and bigotry. Please note that when I say that I believe it is wrong for someone to treat themselves as a race rather than as a person, I am merely quoting from the Statement on Race released by the American Anthropological Society.

Anything suggested from here on in can only be controversial. I can’t and don’t ignore all the punishment meted out to those who didn’t deserve it. I also know I can’t change or erase mistakes of the past. All I can do is offer one suggestion, if you buy into the idea of race, how can you be sure you’re not playing right into the hands of people who actually are crazy enough to be racists?

Mockingbird 5To give an illustration of how such a pitfall can lead to unfortunate results, all one has to do is look at some of the review that try to come to Watchman‘s defense. The two best reviews that demonstrate the logical fallacy and pitfalls that reviewers are libel to come from The Oregonian and from a fan-supported pop-culture review site, The Agony Booth (< edit, link).

In his review for The Oregonian, critic Stephen Carter claims

in her haughty dismissal of the townspeople, (Jean-Louise) evinces what her Uncle Jack identifies as her own bigotry, in the word’s classic sense: an inability to empathize with people whose views differ from her own. The story centers on Jean Louise’s effort to come to terms not just with the shortcomings of others but also with those that she finds in herself. If there’s a message for the rest of us in “Watchman,” it’s found in that struggle.

Carter goes on to conclude, “Racism is not that simple.”

There are several problems with such statements. To begin with (1) it is important to keep in mind that the whole crux of the issue of racism is that it is, by its nature, immoral. (2) The behavior displayed by people who have publicly admitted to racism in the past and too often in the present have sometimes committed criminal acts.

Perhaps the irony in Carter’s piece is that his choice of words could lead someone reading his article to conclude, mistakenly, I’m sure, that he, as writer, holds a racist viewpoint.

Likewise, the anonymous Agony Booth reviewer seems confused about this issue as well. He states that

Where Mockingbird deals with right and wrong, and black and white, Watchman deals with privilege, false gods and perceptions, and ethical gray areas…The problem is, Jean Louise, again like most readers, made Atticus their watchman, but in doing so robbed him of his humanity. The Atticus everyone thought they knew was not allowed to have flaws, because we needed him to be our watchman and tell us what was right and what was wrong. But when Jean Louise finds out that he’s human and flawed, her reaction is much like the fans who refuse to read the book: they can’t stomach it.

Inside_OutI’m going to digress for a moment to talk about Inside Out (I have a point, I swear). Part of the plot of Inside Out is that everyone has specific memories of their life that directly influence who they are as people. When those memories are removed, that aspect of the person’s personality starts to crumble, and that’s what happens to Scout. And just like in Inside Out, she needed this to happen to become a more emotionally complete person. Scout needs to “turn and tackle no less than [her] own tin God” before she can become her own person, instead of projecting what she thinks is moral on that God. Atticus Island needs to fall so that Integrity Island can rise.

In terms of having his say or stating an opinion, the review is more or less in the clear. In terms of making a coherent and succinct case for the book, the argument does have its flaws. For instance there are several logical fallacies in in his statements. (1) A key word for his understanding of Watchman is “Integrity”, yet it is difficult to know exactly what he means by the use of this word because (2) he uses it in terms of describing the integrity of “gray areas.”

It is this perceived obsession with “gray areas” that seems to drive most of the positive feedback to Watchman. The reviewers insist on through a lens of disillusionment, all the while never bothering to ask whether or not such a stance invites further pitfalls, especially in the question of racism. In the Agony Booth reviewer’s case, his use of “Integrity” as a contrast to morality emphasizes the logical contradiction in his thinking.

His main concern appears to be a sincere wish for everybody to get along and that he not offend anyone. To be fair, his heart may very well be in the right place. He misses, though, that Merriam-Webster defines Integrity as: “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility.” All these are perfect descriptions for what the character of Atticus Finch would eventually become. In addition to all this, the reviewer is in danger of falling into the same trap of appearing to sympathize with racists, thus negating any “good” he may wish to do by not wanting to offend.

While he is welcome to his opinion, it seems may others are not willing to share his opinion. People magazine reports, for the record, that a couple has changed the name of their newborn son from Atticus, claiming that they “want him to know the difference between right and wrong.”

Mockingbird 6A final pitfall, one shared by many other Watchman advocates is, a lack of understanding about the composition and chronology of the Watchman manuscript. For instance,Watchman, as David Ulin, author of The Lost Art of Reading, notes, is in fact a first draft Lee submitted to her publishers way back in the mid-fifties.

Mockingbird, which is set twenty years before Watchman, grew out of this draft rather than following after like a proper sequel would. As Ulin also points out in another review, the character evolved over time into the cultural icon he has become. Ulin further highlights how this change in Atticus’ character reflected real life changes in Lee’s actual father. These are all factors that many who rush to pillory the novel should bear in mind.

It’s clear enough that the stumbling block to many defenders of Go Set a Watchman is the question of morality or just exactly how does one avoid being prejudiced? My answer to that question has already been given above. All I can add before moving on to the last major point is that it would be a mistake to think that the problem of bigotry can be judged without an appeal to what is right or wrong.

Conclusion: The Loss of Literary Value and the need for Cultural Literacy

There seems to be two related causes for the errors of judgment regarding what is little more than an over-hyped first draft of what later became To Kill a Mockingbird, and it is difficult to decide which is more harmful.

The first is a simple lack of cultural literacy. The second would have to be called a loss of “Literary Belief”.

The term ‘cultural literacy’ was coined by educator E.D. Hirsch Jr. He used it to describe to the necessary level of background knowledge that high school and college students need in order to have good reading comprehension. This background knowledge consists not just of various works of fiction, but also related fields such as history and culture, both national and global.

Hirsch describes how he discovered the importance of cultural literacy:

Back in the 1970s, I had a “Eureka!” moment as I reviewed the results of reading comprehension tests. The community college students we tested had done almost as well as students at the highly selective University of Virginia — as long as the passages the community college students were asked to read dealt with familiar, everyday topics. But when they encountered passages that required historical background, they faltered. These Richmond, Virginia, students had difficulty understanding a passage on Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee because many of them were unfamiliar with the Civil War. That shocked me.

These students had been cheated. They hadn’t acquired important general knowledge in their homes and communities, and their schools hadn’t compensated for that. Their basic intelligence was sound. They simply did not have the knowledge they needed to make sense of many texts.

Since then, I have argued for a deeper understanding of reading. Successful reading requires more than an ability to decode, or “sound out,” words. It also requires adequate background knowledge, or “cultural literacy.” Without background knowledge of history, literature, art, music, science and math, students will read — but without comprehension.

Further studies eventually led Hirsch to publish his findings as a book entitled Cultural Literacy. In his overview of Hirsch’s career, Sol Stern relates the impact of Hirsch’s book:

Like A Nation at Risk, Cultural Literacy came under fierce attack by education progressives, partly for its theory of reading comprehension but even more for its supposedly elitist presumption that a white male college professor should decide what American children learn. Critics derided Hirsch’s lists of names, events, and dates as arbitrary, even racist. The progressives often lumped him in with the three “killer Bs”—Bennett, (Allan) Bloom, and (Saul) Bellow—whom they loved to hate at the height of the 1980s culture wars. Because Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind appeared just above Cultural Literacy on the bestseller lists for most of 1987, many liberal commentators paired the two writers, calling them conservatives agitating for a return to a more traditional, elitist education.

In fact, Hirsch is and always has been a liberal Democrat. Far from being elitist, he insists, cultural literacy is the path to educational equality and full citizenship for the nation’s minority groups. “Cultural literacy constitutes the only sure avenue of opportunity for disadvantaged children,” Hirsch writes, and “the only reliable way of combating the social determinism that now condemns them to remain in the same social and educational condition as their parents. That children from poor and illiterate homes tend to remain poor and illiterate is an unacceptable failure of our schools, one which has occurred not because our teachers are inept but chiefly because they are compelled to teach a fragmented curriculum based on faulty educational theories (Stern, web (< edit, link “web” as before).”

There is a possible relation between our cultural lack of reading comprehension and what I’ve already mentioned as a loss of “Literary Belief.” I would use those words as a description of what happens when a person decides (whether consciously or not) that a work of fiction doesn’t matter. It’s a simple question of value.

A person can’t relate to something they think is meaningless. If modern audiences truly believe there that fiction is worthless, then they have no reason to try and comprehend the language it’s spoken in. If a person can’t learn the lingo of make believe, then, following Hirsch, it is possible that they lack the ability to be either entertained, or to grasp the more subtler nuances in contained in a text like Mockingbird.

Together, this combination of Cultural Illiteracy and lack of Literary Belief help to produce a true anomaly: an audience member who is unable to work up an appreciation for entertainment and is probably not able to get much from what little he claims to enjoy. And yet they still keep coming back, even when they know the result can only be disappointment due to their lack or inability from imaginative enjoyment, which is an “acquirement”, not something given.

The result, as Jake Flanagin points out, is

Narrative arcs no longer need to be quality standalones—merely episodes within a broader universe. Whether this dilutes the quality of the narrative is a matter for debate, but it does tell us something poignant about how consumption of art and media is changing.

Kenneth P. Morefield is willing to go even farther as he addresses the same issue in a different medium.

We’ve learned that there are no sacred texts…so beloved that they can’t be remade or rebooted or reimagined into banal insignificance.

If it were just a question of dismissing a book like To Kill a Mockingbird for the simple reason of it’s being fiction, and therefore something that never happened, that might be one thing. However, there is the possibility that an audience’s inability to find meaning in a work of fiction may somehow be related to their problems comprehending or finding meaning in real life, especially if we are so befuddled by concepts such as race.




  1. This whole thing is rather sickening. I’m glad I chose self-publishing for my own novel and now I’m inclined to start destroying first drafts.
    I think people have a fundamental misunderstanding of how the creative process works. I keep seeing people claiming that particular authors “got their inspiration from” other books, events, etc. Don’t they understand that everything an author writes comes from what they’ve read, what they’ve seen, who they are, that it gets taken in and mixed about and then re-issued? They think the world “evolved” and men “create” works of art. It’s just the opposite. Works of art “evolve.” They don’t drop into minds and emerge unchanged over a month or a year or six years. It’s a process. I mean, the stories I write change as I write them. They are completely different when I decide they are finished as they were when I started. And I would hate it if one of my first drafts, that I rewrote because I was unhappy with it, got let out into the world and ran amok changing the way people saw my finished work.
    Anyway, I hope “Watchman” doesn’t ruin “Mockingbird.”

  2. Ms. Leavitt,

    Right on!

    Also I note what you say about how stories “evolve”. While before the release of “Watchman”, if someone had told me they were going to release a scholarly edition, let’s call this hypothetical version “Following the Mockingbird”, and that it was going to be released in the same vein as Christopher Tolkien did with “The History of Middle Earth” series, or Valerie Eliot’s release of her husband’s drafts of “The Wasteland”, “then” I might have been curious.

    However the possibility that publishers “may” be resorting to false advertising in a troublingly over-eager cash grab seems to have made me a lot more skeptical of any such future releases. It’s even more ironic if you’ve read Rowling’s “The Silkworm” beforehand, as the whole suspicious “Watchman” marketing campaign almost reads in the press like something out of her own novel. It has to be the weirdest, most disheartening example of life “possibly” imitating art.

    What’s most disconcerting for me, and maybe this is something any aspiring author should hear, is that there really does seem to be a growing lack of respect for what might be called the “integrity” of the written word. The way I see it, if any given work of fiction can be said to contain elements that are “memorable because valuable” in (perhaps) a thematic sense, then I’d argue that maybe the wisest course for an audience (and perhaps an author? (flashes peace sign!) to recognize when a work is the best it can be and to work to promote such artistic standards as an example for others. I really do believe that if any given fiction has this “integrity” then it perhaps should be kept as is both for posterity, and to perhaps show others the right way to handle a good story.

    That said, I’m smart enough to know that’s a coterie, minority opinion, something only die-hard bibliophiles might think. The “Popular Majority” of today’s audience not only seems to not believe in the value of make-believe, they also seem willing to treat its function as a mere wish-fulfillment, nothing more than an extension of this or that person’s own ego. That the personality of an author may find its way into a story, that I don’t disbelieve, but I do think there is a difference between writing and Mary and Gary Stu fiction of the kind I’m thinking of. I worry that this non-belief in the value of fiction might result in further harm to a lot of classics (one only has to look at the sequelitis disease that’s plaguing showbiz at the moment to know what I’m talking about).

Speak Your Mind