The weeklong workshop I spent with Ray was at Centrum in 1980, two years after John Irving published The World According to Garp...
Ray used Irving's title to explain how a writer has to take responsibility for the world he or she creates. He said a similar phrase was the subtitle of every artistic work--for example, the subtitle of "The Hunger Artist," would be "The world according to Franz Kafka." Even in a work with close first-person narration, a reader perceives a writer who is 'larger' than the narrator. This knowledge allows an author to create a narrator who has emotions or attitudes which are 'non-sympathetic,' even offensive. Ray spent much of the conference going over our stories line-by-line, showing the implications of each sentence--each word--in crafting a personal universe. And how a key responsibility of each author was to take total responsibility for what he or she creates. I remember being embarrassed that Ray read my story more carefully than I ever had.
Causes Kevin Arnold Supports
Poetry Center San Jose, East Palo Alto Police Activities League (EPA PAL), Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Yale Writing Conference, Gold Rush Writers