Creativity that knows no bounds

Author T.C. Boyle is coming to Butler University

Hera Boyd, Co-editor-in-chief

The idea of writing more than 25 books is daunting to any committed author, but for T. C. Boyle the stories just seem to keep on coming.

Boyle has steadily released a large sum of novels, short stories, and collections since 1979. His stories have been showcased in many American magazines including The New Yorker, Esquire, Harper’s, The Atlantic Monthly, and much more. He’s been given awards since 1977 and has been presented with more than 40 unique and prestigious awards and honors, some of the most recent being The Mark Twain Voice in American Literature Award in 2016, The Robert Kirsch Award from the L.A. Times in 2015, and The Rea Award in the Short Story in 2014.  

And yes, this talented author will be visiting Indiana’s own Butler University, but more on that in a moment.

Boyle stands out in many ways from the authors currently on the scene.

“I am taller than practically any of them,” Boyle states, bringing out yet another great aspect of his personality and writing: the humor.

It’s true that Boyle’s creativity knows no bounds as he writes mostly satirical pieces that are also meant to make a point and get people’s minds working and thinking. He tackles some of the roughest parts of today’s society and brings them into a new light. According to Boyle, his current work in progress is a novel about the early days of LSD and its influence on society, called Outside Looking In.

“I began the novel at the beginning of the year and hope to finish and deliver by December 31,” Boyle stated.

An ambitious and impressive goal as his novels are typically 300-500 pages upon release, but for someone as experienced in writing and finishing novels, the deadline is probably not as formidable as it seems. Or perhaps it never ceases to be strenuous for an author to hit that deadline.

“Will this happen?” Boyle asked, “We shall see.”

“The process for all my writing is the same: imbibe caffeine and pray to get to that place where the unconscious runs free,” Boyle said, stating that the middle is the hardest part of the writing process to get through. “The most difficult part of writing either a short story or a novel arrives when you hit the wall because you haven’t yet discovered what it is you are moving blindly toward.

“I keep a loaded .357 magnum pistol on my desk to help ease me over the hump, the pistol—or, more accurately, the bullets it contains—providing a more drastic alternative than the completion of any given story.  At least, that’s the way it’s worked so far.”

And worked, it has. With 26 — going on 27 — novels published, his method seems to be extremely effective indeed. His work is so exceptional that he’s coming here, to Indiana, all the way from Santa Barbara, California, to “entertain all and sundry, both by performing onstage and speaking with students” at Butler University

“I do have an enduring fondness for the stories I regularly perform onstage,” Boyle said, “including “Are We Not Men?,” which is from my just-released collection, The Relive Box.  I intend to stun and amaze the entire student body of Butler with this one once I find my way to the stage.”

And, lucky for us high school students, we too can attend his event without worrying about breaking

any rules or biting the bullet when it comes to paying. The event is open to the public and absolutely free of charge so anyone is welcomed. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. on November 14 at Butler’s own Schrott Center for the Arts.

So, mark the date on your calendars and be there, because there will be plenty of knowledge to acquire from this professional.

As a final piece of advice to young writers and a small preview of what’s to come with his event, Boyle gave this:

“My standard advice: Come from a wealthy family. The best way to get your writing out there is, of course, to take hostages,” he said. “Beyond that, know that an artist makes art because he/she has no other choice, no matter what obstacles are thrown in the way. Persist. Believe. Open up.”