Saturday, June 1, 2013

Creating a World

Michelle: Welcome back to MVSB Radio!  I find via our statistics that after the United States the country which views Extensions of Thought the most is Russia.  So in honor of our Russian friends out there I am very pleased to introduce our next guest, the acclaimed writer and philosopher, Mr. Leo Tolstoy!  Welcome, Mr. Tolstoy.

Tolstoy: Thank you.

Michelle: Sir, your literature and philosophy has proven so important to so many people during your lifetime and after it and your work War and Peace has become a well known icon throughout the world.  There is something that connects with people on a tremendous level.  What do you think makes your work so distinctive?

Tolstoy:  Well, I think most writers write novels.  War and Peace is not a novel.

Michelle: You certainly produced a masterwork, and at your request I would never pretend to call it a mere novel.  It is so much more than that.

Tolstoy: You've read it then?

Michelle:  I've read it, Anna Karenina, The Death of Ivan Ilych and some of your other stories.  And I have studied events of your life as well as some of your journal entries.

Tolstoy:  Then you have done your homework on me as I did my research in creating War and Peace.  It was a phenomenal undertaking and quite exhausting.  I studied people, land, life, history, religion, philosphy -

Michelle:  Languages and the nature of society.  Social rank and the life of common people.

Tolstoy:  Yes.  Then I took the characters I found around me, changed the names as it were and transplanted them in the historical fiction I created.  It was more than creating a novel.  It was creating a world.

Michelle:  Indeed.  Which brings me to what I think drives to the heart of the matter.  Your character Natasha mentions something which intrigued me.  She mentions something about remembering a time before her life in this mortal realm began.  I can't help thinking that you feel that we came from somewhere else.

Tolstoy:  Existence is much greater than we tend to think.  We often think of life as what is immediately before us but in truth it keeps expanding outward to an extent that in the end baffles human imagination.

Michelle:  So just as your characters came from a greater and truer life, being modeled by the people around you in your own life, so we here in this life are only shadows of our truer spiritual selves, perhaps?

Tolstoy:  Well put.

Michelle:  Thank you.  I feel I could discuss War and Peace all day with you, but most people with whom I have spoken tend to prefer Anna Karenina.

Tolstoy:  I liked Anna as a character myself.

Michelle:  She is a tremendously immoral woman and yet...

TolstoySmiling.  And yet?

Michelle:  She is not malicious or vindictive.  She is human and profoundly imperfect.  And we can't altogether tremble at her death except in pity.  She brought it upon herself by the demons that overtook her.  It is a lesson to never give up and keep trying to do that which is right, I think.

Tolstoy:  She is human.  Correct.  We all are.  We are all in a process of learning and development.

Michelle:  You create such realism in your characters, and I have been impressed that you take a great deal of love in describing and understanding each person.  You love each character, I think, even those of lower classes and when one of your character does wrongly you clothe him or her in compassion and understanding.

Tolstoy:  A creator loves his creations.  I created these worlds as the great Creator created us.  He understands us perfectly as I understand the weakness, failings, strengths, triumphs and growth of my characters.  And yet they still surprise me.  I have intended to kill some of my characters off and they have surprised me  by continuing to live and continuing to progress.  Then I watch them with interest, finding out what they will yet accomplish.

Michelle:  Beautiful.  Well, Mr. Tolstoy, it has been a wonderful pleasure having this little chat with you.   I have intended to write a paper regarding a thesis born of much consideration regarding your works.  But writing about you is much like writing War and Peace.  You are a topic that doesn't have an end.

Tolstoy:  Neither does existence.  We just keep progressing and expanding outward.

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