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Greetings forum member (or would-be forum member)! This day was announced months ago and has been long in coming, but it is - sadly - here at last. The John Connolly discussion forum will be shutting down for good on Friday, February 24, 2012. Please join John's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/John-Connolly/100276323350855 and feel free to start new discussions there, or find John on Twitter at @jconnollybooks. Thanks for your participation, friendship and support.
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Author Topic: Do writers' lives creep into their books?  (Read 17364 times)
Mark PL
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« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2011, 10:49:00 PM »

My family has a history of dementia/Alzheimer's.  It is a particularly cruel affliction. Sorry for all who have to endure the results.

To go back to the original question, I'd say all good writers put themselves and their lives into their work, whether they know it consciously or not. The most blatantly autobiographical works tend to be their first novels, after that everything's sorta hidden a little bit more carefully. But the themes for the rest of the writer's publishing life are often evident in the first book, even if only in embryonic fashion.
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Mark PL
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« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2011, 10:52:37 PM »

Oh, and I'd suggest Terry Pratchett was writing about Alzheimer's before he knew he had it. His book Nation would seem to suggest that he had a clue something was wrong long before any visible sign of it. Allegorically, at least.
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Heidi
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« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2011, 08:00:24 PM »

It's funny you should mention that about Prachett, Mark (and apols for not quoting the comment from a few days back; cannot do so from phone). I've not read Nation yet, though I got it for one of my son's for Christmas, as he mentioned wanting to chose it for read aloud at dinner when his turn came round.

I was, however, listening to the audio of Carpe Jugulum I shamelessly nicked from a friend, and I ran across several references to memory/memory loss that struck me as weirdly prophetic, given the circumstances.

I know Nation's been out awhile and CJ a good deal longer. So do you think he somehow knew, or are we perhaps cross-referencing his words in light of what we now know?

I know you said you've family who have gone through dementia, and I'm so sorry. I also know, though, that because of that, you probably have a greater insight into just how much earlier a person may notice symptoms, albeit in a half conscious sort of way. I do wish that you didn't have that insight, though. :-/
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Mark PL
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« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2011, 08:50:50 AM »

From my own painful little attempts at scribbling I've found that I tend to write about things without knowing I'm writing about them. I also know it's easy to imbue such things with more meaning than they deserve, very much after the fact. But what's been sailing the seas of the subconscious often gets washed ashore on the arid shores of my prose.
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Heidi
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« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2011, 07:31:24 AM »

From my own painful little attempts at scribbling I've found that I tend to write about things without knowing I'm writing about them. I also know it's easy to imbue such things with more meaning than they deserve, very much after the fact. But what's been sailing the seas of the subconscious often gets washed ashore on the arid shores of my prose.

I'd have to agree with you there, Mark. When I was plowing through my longest work to date, I had several times that I just stopped writing, rather amazed that I'd discussed such things (politics, religion, relationships--you name it).  It's kind of an odd sensation to meet yourself through imaginary characters, is it not?
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Mark PL
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« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2011, 08:23:38 AM »

Ah, well. Mirrors do the same thing to me now. I wonder who the hell that is, then realise it's me. Then I wonder how the hell that happened.

(I'm assuming forum members on this side of the Atlantic are allowed to use the word 'hell' still, while of course those on the side of North America will use a suitable none religiously-connotated substitute.)
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RachelAllshiny
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« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2011, 09:34:27 PM »

Ah, well. Mirrors do the same thing to me now. I wonder who the hell that is, then realise it's me. Then I wonder how the hell that happened.

(I'm assuming forum members on this side of the Atlantic are allowed to use the word 'hell' still, while of course those on the side of North America will use a suitable none religiously-connotated substitute.)

Our computers automagically modify anything that might offend our delicate sensibilities.  For instance, I read that as: "I wonder who that person of advanced years and dilapidated physicality might be, then realize it's me.  Then I wonder which commercially available products I forgot to use this morning to preserve my dashing good looks."

You're welcome.
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elliotaw
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« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2011, 12:44:22 AM »

 Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy @ Rachel!
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« Reply #23 on: May 03, 2011, 01:05:24 AM »

Ah, well. Mirrors do the same thing to me now. I wonder who the hell that is, then realise it's me. Then I wonder how the hell that happened.

(I'm assuming forum members on this side of the Atlantic are allowed to use the word 'hell' still, while of course those on the side of North America will use a suitable none religiously-connotated substitute.)

Our computers automagically modify anything that might offend our delicate sensibilities.  For instance, I read that as: "I wonder who that person of advanced years and dilapidated physicality might be, then realize it's me.  Then I wonder which commercially available products I forgot to use this morning to preserve my dashing good looks."

You're welcome.

I know exactly what you mean folks  Embarrassed
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Heidi
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« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2011, 07:03:24 AM »

I was going to point out that the concept of Hell predates the predominate religion here in the becoming somewhat prissy US, but Rach's response was way funnier... Wink Grin
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« Reply #25 on: May 03, 2011, 12:23:37 PM »

Haha...sorry, couldn't resist.
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Lisa B
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« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2011, 01:31:50 PM »

On the Terry Pratchett thing, there's a documentary on tonight where he explores assisted suicide. That's followed by him being interviewed on Newsnight. Certainly the former, if not the latter, should go onto iplayer. I'll add the links once they come up, for anyone abroad who may struggle to access them otherwise...
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Lisa B
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« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2011, 12:27:07 AM »

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0120dxp/Terry_Pratchett_Choosing_to_Die/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b012119k/Newsnight_Choosing_to_Die_Newsnight_Debate/
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Helen
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« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2011, 01:19:38 AM »

I watched this last night and am lost for words, as I have been sitting here for the last five minutes wondering where to start!  I just can't seem to get my head around it.  At this moment all I can say is I cried nearly all the way through  Cry
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« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2011, 08:54:14 AM »

Thanks for the links, Lisa. I'm not allowed to watch at work, which is where I have proper internet, but I'll see if I can phone access them soon.

Helen, I'll bet it was a tough viewing. Is this an option that Prachett is considering? To go while he still remembers who he is and whom he loves?

I know it has some religious implications for some, but...in the case of Alzheimer's patients, it somehow seems, I don't know, like a kinder death, both for them and their families. I keep remembering bit in I Shall Wear Midnight, where one of the characters talks about the idea that everyone should have at least one perfect memory to carry with them into death. It's always seemed cruel to me that A's patients do not have that.
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