At the New York Review of Books‘s blog, Tim Parks explores how authors might subconsciously get inspiration for their novels from unresolved personal conflicts.
Specifically, he reflects on the lives of Chekhov and Faulkner, making connections between their real-life hardships and the perils confronted by the protagonists in their work.
This is congruent to Joan Didion’s thoughts on the purpose of keeping a journal, available for free right here.
What Parks and Didion both point out is that people tend, however unintentionally, to write fictional accounts of personal problems they’ve had to face. Writing fiction helps us depersonalize our pasts.