The Writing of Patrick Whie and Me
Being able to decisively attach one’s prose to the created rhythm of one’s time and age, to the psycho-historical mood and affective state in its many dispositions and tempers; or being able to detach one’s prose from one’s age in a clean and straightforward way is difficult. In my case, the result is uneven, a little simplistic at times, some might say supercilious and pretentious and, even if it does bear the weight of my preoccupations, the weight is too heavy for many readers. But the weight of much literature in the western intellectual tradition: classical, medieval and modern---is too heavy for many modern readers raised on a diet of the print and electronic media.
Perhaps my oeuvre in all its genres is too ambitious in its range and depth; perhaps it tries to diagnose too much over too extensive a field of content. My diagnostic intelligence, if I can call it that, probes, and it does so over many thousands of pages. For some people who read my work the affect, I’m sure, is deadening. For others there is a vitality and for still others there is no affect at all because they never see it. Contemporary culture drowns its population in a burgeoning range of print and image-glut.
My writing is remorselessly and, I like to think, glitteringly intent on diagnosis. The glitter of invention is, for me, everywhere and it is linked with and provides a distinctive literary identity, a creative abundance. For some readers I’m sure this is the case, but not for most. For most who chance upon my writing, the affect on them is enervating as it is for me after a long day of writing or even periodically in the course of any single day.
I like to think my literary venture is gallant and ambitious, even if it is not really successful in the marketplace. In cyberspace, though, I have acquired literally millions of readers in the last decade: 2002-2012. My unremitting concern for detail, for analysis and for comment is not everybody’s and my advice to many would-be readers is to take my writing in small doses.-Ron Price with thanks to Vincent Buckley, “The Novels of Patrick White,” The Literature of Australia, editor, G. Dutton, Penguin, 1972(1964).
I create a world, too, Patrick;
I want to show extraordinary
things behind the ordinary,
the mystery and the poetry,
to transcend the tensions &
explore my world by words.
No mere surface impressionism
but passages, words, vibrant with
significance growing out of some
profound numbness and pervasive
inarticulateness that covers all the
surfaces of life until I bring them
alive….In the beginning was and
is the word and the word was with,
or so I like to think: with God and
the word was God….The wisdom
of the wise and the learning of the
learned can never comprehend this
unknowable, indescribable essence.
3 March 2007