Brian Castro came and spoke with us last week. He is an Australian novelist who also runs the Creative Writing program at Adelaide University.
He said some really interesting things about the nature of the novel and of the writer. He talked about his move to writing a novel as an 'interrogation of a mind' and his emphasis on voice over plot. He seemed incredibly intellectual and experimental. A real inspiration.
He also talked about melancholy artists and the power of melancholy which he differentiated from depression which he saw as a commercial/medical thing. I think he was coming at melancholy from the angle of its inherent introspection and space/time to let things sit an simmer I guess. It was an interesting idea and nice to hear a rejection of 'happiness' as an ideal, which I have heard elsewhere and I think I agree with. Why, if you ask so many people, do they say the meaning of life or their goal in life is to be happy? What is so great about being happy? Is that an honest way to live and more importantly what are the kinds of things you might have to do to attain 'happiness', what if you never attain it? Are you then a failure? Can't we be 'content' being ourselves, sometimes happy, mostly not - complex, interesting.
Here is an interview with him.
So yeah, he was incredibly interesting and thoughtful and humble, yet confident in himself. A great 2 hours.