I also read Pearl S. Buck: A Biography by Theodore F. Harris in consultation with Pearl S. Buck. I love reading author biographies and catch little snippits that ring true to my life and my writing. There were a lot of great quotes from Pearl Buck that I think all writers could benefit from.
At one point Harris asks, “Are you conscious of style?” She replies, “I hear word clearly, as though they were spoken to me, and I write down what I hear. People who knew me in college never thought I would write prose, they thought I would write poetry. I very nearly didn’t write prose, but thank God for my pocketbook’s sake, I did.”
Harris talks about how Buck is as a writer, which I find to be a truth in my life. “She is a woman different from the world around her and no matter how she resents these differences, they exist, nonetheless, and she has had to learn how to live with herself. Being different from others is not easy, for then one is never completely close to other human beings. No matter how intimate may be some of her external relationships, she still has that inner place where she lives alone with her people - the people she has created. She experiences their likes and dislikes, their loves and hates, their lives, and while this creation is going on she must not have a life of her own, for if she does, it influences the writing. . . . She cannot share the creative process with anyone. I suppose one could say that she experiences much vicariously - if on can create and then experience vicariously from creation!
“Her people! She knows them all. They were there in her inner being, ready for her to bring them to life. Were they to live? She saw the possibility of her life’s ending in Nanking with her people never having lived. She knew she must write. She bought that desk and put it in an attic room of the house wehre she could go and be alone with her people.”
How true is that for the writer? People think we’re strange, perhaps aloof, when we are really dealing with the characters begging for attention, asking for their stories to be told. And if we don’t write, we explode and over time the characters fade away and die. They beg for life on the page that only the writer can create, and if it’s done correctly, and with honesty and creativity, then that character has the chance of living forever. And even if no one ever reads the story, you have still given birth to a new creation and that leads to even more, and often better, creations.