Here’s an email I sent to a friend on Monday. You can invent whatever context you like.
Thinking about your perspective on the situation… Somebody told you that they never thought they really knew X, but does anybody really know anybody? You made a conscious effort to empathize with her situation, but since she wasn’t communicating you had to imagine her perspective, perhaps trying on varying points of view to see which made the most sense. Isn’t it a kind of invention, with no sure way of knowing whether what you’ve imagined corresponds to the reality? Somebody told me that the characters in my fictions are opaque, that the reader doesn’t know what they’re thinking, but in my view that’s more realistic than the novelist — or the psychologist for that matter — with purportedly probing and infallible insight into the inner workings of the human mind and soul. And then there’s X, who seemed so sure of her direction and intent, but at the same time you experience her as being under some sort of spell or cult influence. I imagine her in these long fraught silences listening for some voice to tell her what to say, what to do next, and hearing either a cacophony of conflicting voices or just silence. You have to wonder: does she know her own mind any better than you know it? Does anybody know themselves any better than others know them?
I sent this on Monday; as yet I’ve received no reply. I don’t expect to receive one, not ever.