University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture

Page View

The craftsman
Volume XXXI, Number 3 (December 1916)

The "play-girl" in fiction,   pp. 217-223 PDF (2.6 MB)


Page 219


DISCUSSED BY ROBERT W. CHAMBERS
and spacious. Afterward one knows that every detail is a happiness
to the spirit.
   Mr. Chambers does not do his writing at this home. Here he lives
through the summer months from early spring to late in the fall,
roaming over the estate, helping to build bridges, to make lakes, to
reforest the hillside, to make the land as beautiful and valuable as such
a place has every right to be. For many hours in the day he is out on
the hillsides with his Great Dane dogs, and often Mrs. Chambers is
with him, loving the country, interested in all the development and
perfection of the outdoor as well as the indoor part of the home.
ITTING before the firelight just at twilight on an October day,
    Mr. Chambers talked of his work, of American fiction, of young
    American life, of the new type of young people of the day with
a kind philosophy, a wide interest and tender sympathy. "The old
days of my writing are past," he said; "quite gone. A man does
not
turn back to those things, whether they have meant much or little to
him. They belong to youth, they are memories, and no man dissects
his memories if he wishes to keep them bright. How can I tell how I
would feel about those books today? I do not see them. I might find
much to change, much to criticize. They came in their own time and
that is past.
   "Today my attitude toward work is quite different. As a man
grows older he does not write from emotion, he writes from an intel-
lectual understanding of his subject and with a technique which he
must become past-master of. I may feel emotional about the plot of
my story when I am first planning it. There is always a kind of ad-
venture in planning a book. You are traveling into a new bit of life,
a new land, and there is always the excitement of the quest; but after
this is over, then it is a question largely of fluent technique, giving
your characters their head, letting them go their own way within
bounds of writing, and coolly and quietly understanding them, their
nature, their psychology, the conditions in which they are moving, and
presenting them as clearly as though writing were merely a looking
glass and the people passing by. I feel that every man who is writing
should gain this mastery. He must, before he can give anything to
the public that will reach them and stir their emotions.
   "Personally, I feel that I must be a part of the tendencies of this
age-I must know them, understand them, digest them. I never feel
emotional for a moment when I am actually writing. I feel perhaps
then as a scientist does in his laboratory. He knows his purpose and
he knows his scientific machinery. What he is developing is all done
in a cool, intellectual way,--otherwise you do not convey to your au-
219


Go up to Top of Page