21 February 1958
Seltzer says his father told him to read books with two thoughts in mind: what has the writer in mind in the book and how is it written. To quote exactly: “Read the books, Son, with two things in mind – how they are written and why they are written. Each person who writes a book has something in mind. Some purposes behind it.”
How they are written… And why, the purpose of writing.
Why would I want to write?
- To explain or make clear some facet of life generally not known.
- To promulgate some theory of mine.
- To indicates some human inconsistencies.
- To tell some philosophy I have found helpful – some point of view which gave me an clearly output look upon the human drama.
For instance – how human superstitions are fostered and handed down from generation to generation.
Story of a man who has a superstition of some kind: someone tries to dissuade him from it and thinks he is succeeding. The story ends when the superstitious person shows evidence of being not at all cured. Could be a humorous story a la O. Henry – but the wrinkle would come when the superstition popped up again.
What else would one want to write for? Why would I want to write? Not what would I write, but why write in the first place?
5. Write so that others would know they are the only ones who have experiences of tragedy – or trouble. Also, that much of our grief is imposed upon us because of faulty thinking, poor personality formation and personality education – not formal but generally human education.
6. To clarify roots of heritage where false beliefs of the past affect the present. To cut away the bonds of humanity. Primarily, to help understanding of the individual in being a real person – limited by time and space, but to recognize personal worth and dignity. Eh-h-h! That could be a tough one! I remember when that gal in P.T.A. who got quite obnoxiously superior when I used this technique on her. She began to think she was the P.T.A.’s wise man – which she obviously was not! Muriel Huml [?]. How can I forget her!
That could be a story in itself! Power given to those who are ignorant, without knowledge, can’t create can create quite a ruckus: Beck – the big union racketeer! Unions seem a shining example of this. That horrid union steward at the picnic behaving as though he was personally giving something away – urging you to eat as much as you want, it was free! What the hell did Kurt pay $3.50 a person for? If he was giving away for free? Or did he and his family get in for nothing?
Why should anyone want to write?
Couldn’t good writing have “education” versus “ignorance” as a basis?
Why are books written?
If education is used as a base – it follows just as the night follows day – the writer must know what he is talking about.