Shalom Auslander talks with Nextbook’s Sara Ivry about the inspiration for his impressive short story collection, Beware of God, which appears next month.
The second half of one answer (the italicized part) reminds me of the prologue to my novel-in-progress, but of course it’s smarter and more succinct and makes me want to throw all 55,000 words of my manuscript in the river and start over:
Ivry: Your stories all revolve around the idea of God. So, I’ve got to ask — what is your conception of God? And, do you believe?
Auslander: It’s ever-changing. I do, because I don’t want to not. And because I can’t — that picture of a frowning angry God is something I’ll never get rid of, no matter how hard I try. I have a hard time believing the opposite, believing that me and my wife finding each other and our love and our child are accidents. It would be hard to live thinking that things are that random. Life is hard. One of the ways people get through it is philosophy. One is drugs, one is religion. Whatever you need to get through your 80, 90 years here, it’s fine with me. But religion will never really get me through anything, and I’ve always resented the fact that it was taken away from me. I’ll have to smoke a joint, I’ll have to write, which for me is religion, solace, laughter, and forgetting.