Cultivating Interview 8
Where do you hope to see this book go – what kind of influence do you hope it will have? Is it different than what you had hoped for The Company They Keep?
In The Company They Keep, I corrected a lot of vague and misleading ideas about the Inklings and the nature of their work together. I also tried to raise some theoretical questions, especially questions about what counts as literary influence. There is such a strong tendency to think that influence means imitation. As I argue in The Company They Keep, influence isn’t a synonym for imitation: it means change.
But in Bandersnatch, I raise the stakes. In a way, I go from describing to meddling, that is to say, rather than just looking at all the fun the Inklings were having, I invite readers to have a go at it themselves, to jump right in and do the same.
That seems to be the way that readers have been responding. I got a note from one reader who was so excited about the book. She wrote, “I’m about half-way through Bandersnatch, and I want two things: to start writing again, and to have a community like the Inklings.” That’s it. That’s it exactly.
This question-and-answer is part of a larger interview conducted by Lancia Smith with Dr. Diana Glyer in January 2016 on “Cultivating the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.” To read the full interview and gain further insights into creative collaboration, click here.