Alice K. Boatwright

The Writing Life

Notes on writing, reading, publishing and life

 Still a gunslinger, any time I want. . . 

In her novel Real People (1969), Alison Lurie wrote: “… you can’t write well with only the nice parts of your character, and only about nice things. And I don’t want even to try anymore. I want to use everything, including hate and envy and lust and fear.”

My first ambition was to be an actress. Then I discovered that actresses could only play the parts assigned to them, in plays written by other people, and according to the directions of the director. Plus there were all those other egomaniac actors to deal with.

This did not suit me at all. I wanted something more like playing, where you had the freedom to be anyone, anything. A gunslinger, a cripple, a heroine, a dog. That’s why I became a fiction writer.  I enjoy inhabiting all the characters in my stories and letting them inhabit me.

I might need to be well-behaved in real life. . . but when I’m writing I can “use everything,” be anyone, do anything. There are no limits.