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Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Time Event
The Fountainhead of Bedford Falls (Joe Carter)
An article from FIRST THINGS which I found fascinating. I reprint the whole thing here without comment. http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2009/12/03/the-fountainhead-of-bedford-falls/

The Fountainhead of Bedford Falls
Thursday, December 3, 2009, 9:00 AM
Joe Carter

Frank Capra and Ayn Rand aren’t often mentioned together. Yet the cheery director of Capra-corn and the dour novelist who created Objectivism have much in common. Both were immigrants who made their names in Hollywood. Both were screenwriters and employees of the film studio RKO. And during the last half of the 1940s, both created works of enduring cult appeal, Capra with It’s a Wonderful Life and Rand with The Fountainhead.

Capra and Rand were also both masters of sentimentality, a literary form that is foreign to those of us weaned on irony. The inability to appreciate sentimentality leads some critics to dismiss Rand and Capra as amusing but minor talents rather than as gifted storytellers. Yet each produced work that will outshine their more critically acclaimed peers. People will still be reading Rand’s novels long after the works of Sinclair Lewis and Norman Mailer have been forgotten. And Wonderful Life has already earned its place on the short list of great American films.

My purpose, however, is not to defend the genius of these creators but to compare two of their protagonists, The Fountainhead’s Howard Roark and Wonderful Life’s George Bailey.

To anyone familiar with both works it would seem at first glance that the two characters could not be more different. A closer look, however, reveals that they are not only similar but a variation on a common archetype.

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On Writer’s Block
A reader asks: “As an amateur who's trying to simply get in the habit of writing something coherent on a somewhat regular basis, I'd love to hear your take on the problem of "Writer's Block." I'd also appreciate any general tips or disciplines you might be willing to share.”

Certainly. Let me, before I answer, announce my disqualifications to answer: There are two major disqualifications to answering not merely this question, but any question on the topic of writing.

First, writing is mysterious. Each writer approaches his craft in a different way, and advice from one writer to another is useful if and only if you happen to be a writer of the same method and temperament as the first.

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Second, writing is mysterious. No one really knows where stories come from or why human beings tell them. (See footnote).

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FOOTNOTE: You may be wondering why I repeated myself. I can only quote RED DWARF by way of justification:

CAT: What? Am I the only sane one here? Why don't we drop the defensive shields?
KRYTEN: A superlative suggestion, sir, with just two minor flaws. One, we don't have any defensive shields, and two, we don't have any defensive shields. Now I realise that, technically speaking, that's only one flaw but I thought it was such a big one it was worth mentioning twice.

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