Jonathan Carroll

“My wife said something wise a long time ago and I think it best explains your question. All art is organizing one’s personal chaos. In that I think she meant that the artist takes his life and moves the pieces around in such a way that makes things rational, livable, and insightful. For example I like Vienna (where I live), bullterrier dogs, good coffee, fountain pens, etcetera. Let’s call them ABCD. As a writer I “organize my chaos” by moving those letters around and arranging them in such a way that not only do they make greater sense when I’m done, but are hopefully entertaining to others as well. As Neil Gaiman says in his essay about the subject, you get idea from everywhere in your life, but it is not the ideas so much as the organizing of them that makes the work evolve. Life is bag full after bag full of ideas — lots of ABCD’s — but the job of the artist is to pick and choose among them and then arrange them in such a way that not only do they express his way of seeing life or the imagination, but hopefully by encountering it, adds new light to the reader’s view and perspective.”

– Jonathan Carroll
(from an e-mail)

By the age of twenty-one, I was hesitant in accepting new authors into my reading. I was burned before by a novella, which a critic raved, “is the best thing to happen to literature” and I found the book to be contrary to that.

So. At twenty-one. Someone suggested I read Jonathan Carroll’s The Land of Laughs. Up to then, I’ve never heard of the man nor his books. I gave it a chance and with the turning of the last page, I wanted to read the rest of Carroll’s bibliography. Such is the potency of his writings.

Jonathan Carroll lives in Vienna, Austria and teaches at the American International School. His work includes The Panic Hand, a collection of short stories, which won the Bram Stoker Award in 1995 and Outside the Dog Museum, which won the British Fantasy Award. I would tell you more about him but he prefers to let his writings do the talking.

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~ by croatoa on January 19, 2007.

One Response to “Jonathan Carroll”

  1. Jonathan Carroll also writes one of the best daily blogs on the internet. I read it every day like the newspaper because the quality is so high. http://www.jonathancarroll.com

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