The New Yorker: ‘Autobiographical Notes Argentine Writer' 19/09/1970 by Jorge Luis Borges
*and young women? I wonder how much of this is created and how much is real. Claiming I have control often makes me feel better but sometimes I wonder if it isn’t something a touch more… chemical? Goodness knows. Borges is such a favourite.
Q: You usually talk of Scott Fitzgerald, a melancholy man.
A: Yes, I have spoken of him to make a distinction between a writer that due to nature and talent had the impulse to write and could not share this need to write with his social life. I mentioned him because these days with so much emphasis on the media, it seems as though there is some sort of obligation, which says that a writer must be a public person. In my case, people think that because I am a well-known author, I should be good giving interviews and appearing in photographs. People expect to see you enjoying yourself on television programmes and expect that you like to be a public person, a performer. But I’m not. I like the life of the writer. I enjoy the solitude.
Q: It’s interesting, sometimes in Harry Potter, above all the most recent installments, there has been a certain amount of sadness and solitude, which is reminiscent of Fitzgerald.
A: Undoubtedly. It’s sadness, which is born from grief. And Scott Fitzgerald had two afflictions: that of his talent and his need to create and the affliction of his private life, which was catastrophic. Those two afflictions are enough to lead anyone to alcoholism.
Q: Those afflictions can come in that time between childhood and adolescence, when the phantoms arrive and they stay with you forever.
A: Yes, I think adolescents are very aware of death. They feel as though they are so pressured that, for them, death is only a step away. They are very fragile people. In Great Britain there is a culture of fear towards teenagers, towards young people in general. And it shouldn’t be that way. We need to be protecting them instead of protecting ourselves from them.
— Jo Rowling to El Pais, Feb 2008.
A full translation of the interview, with many mistakes I’m sure (I translated it and sent it in), can be found here on Leaky.