The Story of Edgar Sawtelle Webcast Transcript
David: So, again, I felt like as a—as a writer, if I were to know that in great detail, I—it would have to be in the book. And so I wanted to work within the framework that Edgar was working in. That he doesn't quite know. He has evidence, evidence of guilt, things that are meaningful to him, but not necessarily reasons. And so I can't supply the answer to that question.
Oprah: I saw another question, too, from somebody who wanted to know whether or not when Claude, in the beginning of the prologue, purchases the poison, is he purchasing it for Gar? Is he purchasing it because he's the kind of guy who just may need some poison? You know, at some point in life you just may need a couple of drops, yeah, when people get in your way.
David: And I can tell you my take on that.
David: I think it's one of those things that can be interpreted a couple of different ways. But my take is that's the moment in Claude's life when he has not yet given up hope of being a full person, a sound, good person. And he's—what he's encountered at this point is the ability to have death, which is the little debate that he and the old herbalist have about it's not good to have the power of death but not the power of life. But I don't believe that he—I believe he's—he has a sort of darkness in him that draws him toward that. But he doesn't know why, and he doesn't have a specific purpose for it. Certainly not the purpose to go many years later—
Oprah: And kill his brother.
David: —and kill his brother. But I think that in terms of his character psychology, it's something he's drawn toward. He might not know why. But like you said, one of those people—
Oprah: "I may need some."
David: —feels like it would be a fascinating thing to have hold of.
Oprah: So after you finish this book and you know that you have written that last sentence and you've sent it off to your publisher—
Oprah: —and it's about to come out of its cage, do you, you know, rest? Do you not write for a long time? What is the—what is the process after the process?
David: The process after the process is to take a new project on. That's the way it always works in anything once you finish some creative thing. You have to recover from it. And you take some time off, but you also begin thinking about what the next creative work is.
David: And so for me, I'm thinking about a new book right now. And I've begun writing on it. But it's been a very busy few months.
David: And so I haven't made as much progress as I'd like to.
Oprah: Is there a sequel to this?
David: There are three books.
Oprah: There are three books.
David: And I think of them as a triptych. As three portraits that can hang side by side. And without explicit plot lines that connect them strongly, they will tell a story taken together that is bigger than the story of any one of the books.
Oprah: So does that mean we'll see or hear Trudy again?
David: Possibly. The next—the main character in the next book is John Sawtelle.
Oprah: John Sawtelle.
David: Yes. Edgar's grandfather, yes.
Oprah: Wow. Wow.
David: And I feel about him the way I felt about Edgar when I was first starting this book. He's a character that fascinates me.
David: And I want to learn everything there is to know about him. So I'm very much looking forward to getting started.
Oprah: Okay. So you haven't gotten started. You have sort of an outline—
David: The way I've described it is right now I've built the workshop in which—
Oprah: You have the capsule?
David: Yeah. Yeah. I have the—I'm building the workshop in which that book will be written, but I'm—but I haven't—I haven't got a first draft. I'm—I have piece parts around, and I'm assembling them and filling them in and so on.
Oprah: All right. Well, it's a process.
David: It's a process. Absolutely.
Oprah: Debbie from North Carolina. Hi, Debbie. You're on the phone. Hi.
Debbie: Hi, Oprah. Hi, David. A fabulous book. Gosh, I just get teary-eyed sitting here discussing it.
David: Thank you.
Debbie: One thing I wanted to talk about which I don't think anyone has talked about yet was the significance of the storm when Edgar was with Henry and the three dogs.
Oprah: We didn't talk about Henry.
David: Yeah, we haven't talked about Henry.
Oprah: Go ahead, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt, Debbie, go ahead.
Debbie: That's okay. I was wondering about the significance of the storm when Henry and Edgar and the three dogs were together. I think I may have missed it. I know it was a significant turning point, but I guess I didn't fully understand it.
David: Great question.
David: Well, at one level the storm is the fulfillment of what Ida Paine predicted. She said,
"It's just wind. Don't let it—don't let it turn you around." But, of course, Edgar does.
Oprah: He did.
David: I think that Edgar sees in the storm some significance. He's seeing essentially played out in weather a conflict between several funnel clouds. And he's also—but more importantly, he sees Essay stand her ground or try to stand her ground in the face of something that could destroy her. And I think he—I think he thinks at that moment the thing that I've experienced watching my own dogs at certain times that they're better than me. You know? They're purer than me. They—they have strong ideas about what's right and wrong and that—those ideas are everything to them. And it is the—that is the thing that turns Edgar around, finally, because otherwise I think he would continue going to Starchild Colony. So—so to me that is the significance of the storm. I mean, now we have to go back to the braid idea for a second. The very first line of this book says, "After the dark, the rain began to fall again." And that rain comes up and storms come up again and again and again in this story. So I also felt like it was appropriate that the thing that would make Edgar turn back is a storm, rain in some form, since rain is, in some way, tied up with the thing that has exploded his life in the first place and made him run away.
Oprah: You got that, Debbie?
Debbie: I do. Thank you very much.
Oprah: Let's talk about Henry.
Oprah: Is he a composite of many people you know or—