I’m Not Selfish, I Just Love Literature

I like this remark by V.S. Naipaul: "It’s the thing about the work. If you are travelling for material or to write a book, it isn’t that you are self-centered, it is that you are with the work. You are obsessed with what you are doing. And when you start writing, it is such a delicate thing, writing, shaping a paragraph, a page, shaping a chapter, having a sense of the bigger structure of the book, you’ve got to be with it all the time. You are carrying it in you head, and things that upset you are very irritating." (Pg. 433)

That’s Naipaul’s reaction to his wife’s diagnosis with cancer.

I read books about Naipaul and Evelyn Waugh and I see that these writers had all of my flaws.

If they could be this screwed up and still produce great work, what’s my excuse? I feel cheered. I have my dreams.

I love Naipaul’s response to the Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie: "It’s an extreme form of literary criticism."

Vidia would not sign a petition in support of Rushdie because he found the novelist’s views "left-wing and trivial and antiquated."

Vidia told Moni Malhoutra that India should stop sending high culture to Africa. It was wasted and "it reinforces the belief about Indians being a weak race." Instead, India should send circuses. Africans love the circus. Bringing large numbers of African students to India is counter-productive. "It doesn’t win you any friends; it only makes you enemies."

When Vidia found out Hindi film actress Neena Gupta was having a baby by the West Indian cricketer Viv Richards, he said, "How could she have a child by that nigger?"

Richards was the greatest cricketer in the world at the time.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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