Regarded as one of the most well known 19th century literary realists, Henry James was an American Writer who wrote from a character’s point of view, allowing him to reflect on themes related to consciousness and perception. His work grew out of his creative use of point of view, interior monologue and unreliable characters. He believed in writing to explore and to encourage readers to think deeply about some of the major themes of life , such as abuse, oppression, conflicts of moral character, personal relationships and how the abuse of power influences the outcomes of those relationships. James believed that human beings should ” Try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost.”
Soak up knowledge- not only in academics but in the behaviors and motives of human beings. Observe the world around you and learn from it. Take away lessons and apply them to your daily interactions with everyone you encounter. This advice works for everyone -regardless of the passion or pursuits, and most especially to us writers. Writers are always researching, paying attention to what is going on around us, learning about people and about life experiences. We explore themes and we create stories to “show and tell” what we have learned, or even what we still question. We do not always find the answers in our research, but we raise the questions and we make readers think.
Jack Smith, the author of Write and Revise for Publication, and two novels ” Hog to Hog” and “Icon”, interviewed the Writer and Poet, Julia Alvarez, and in his article for THE WRITER, he asked her the question: ” What can early stage writers take away from your idea to write what you are thinking, to find out who you are to understand things?” Ms. Alvarez responded as follows:
” Writers write not because they know things but because they want to find things out. And not just informational things- emotional ones, the whole landscape of human feeling, emotion and passion. They want to experience things. they want to discover. ”
She added a quote from Robert Frost ” No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.”
To summarize, if one is not discovering, the words will die on the page. And for those who do not write, if one is not discovering, the thoughts, goals and passions will die on the page. So, try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost and find a way to raise a question to make us think.