Ed Champion’s latest edition of The Bat Segundo Show is an interview with the prolific writer T.C. Boyle. Boyle stated that writers tell stories from their own worldview, but he did not write with a truth or point in mind because that would kill the art. While he’s confident a scholar could distill from all of his stories a long list of Boyle’s positions on various issues, he did not write to advance those issues. Stories must have moral content and judgements within them to be good, he said, but what his worldview is he didn’t know. “It keeps expanding,” he said.
I wonder how he would do in an argument or discussion on truth. Would anything be settled absolutely or would we just get comfortable with the rightness of a decision for the time? I remember an interview with Joyce Carol Oates in which she couldn’t conclude a particular action was unethical because she kept bringing up caveats. Isn’t the strongest literature that which illuminates wonderful truth? How strong is the artist when he confines moral judgements to the current story?
As the Jars of Clay song goes: “Cold is night, but colder still is a heart made of stone turned away/ And if you follow me, you’ll see all the black, all the white, fade to grey.”
Kudos to Ed for the good work on this. Maybe 50 minutes is too long for radio, but some of it would make a on-air great feature (by which I mean, he ought to be paid for an interview like this).