Sunday, March 28, 2010

Temple Tells Truth, Terminates Talk

Crime novelist Peter Temple told the truth on a phone-in interview on a Brisbane radio show this week and apparently it has caused quite a kerfuffle. (Or so I read in today's Melbourne Age.) Appearing on Greg Cary's 4BC show, Temple admitted that he wrote books "for the money" and as for his ideas, well "he just made things up." Reasonable enough, eh? Dr Johnson famously said that "only a fool ever wrote for anything but money." Cary, however, was aghast and seemed to think that Temple was being deliberately provocative. Cary, who was apparently born yesterday, obviously feels that writers should be driven by their personal Furies to some isolated tower where they scream into the raging tempest and then over a tear-strewn manuscript attempt to exorcise their demons by turning their gut wrenching pain into prose. Only Cormac McCarthy operates this way. Everyone else sits in a room at a desk with a laptop, staring at the wall, trying desperately to think of something before the lunch-time news.
Not liking Temple's answers Cary grew increasingly rude to his guest, accusing him of being a "pain in the neck" and asking why he was so annoyed. "I'm not annoyed at all," Temple replied placidly, which apparently drove the poor man into apoplexy. According to the report in the Age Cary said "I'd just like you to answer the questions, not for me, mate, I couldn't give a rat's arse-" whereupon Temple sensibly hung up.
Here's a wee tip for Greg and other polished souls naive about the writing business: everytime you read an interview with a professional writer and they tell you that they're doing it for any other reason other than the money - well, they're bloody lying, mate.