Paul Pawlowski and the Church of Aphrodite
According to Ernest Hemingway, ‘When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.’ A similar suggestion can of course be made for biography, or indeed any historical non-fiction. It smacks of a lazy, hatchet-job if your subject emerges with the emotional complexity of an Ikea bookshelf, or the mindless capacity of a broken television forever doomed to be stuck on BBC1.
Yet some of the most fascinating figures in history are also its greatest characters; individuals who have acted themselves out to such a degree that they come to characterize the very facets they chose to embody. The Marquis de Sade or the Earl of Rochester come to mind—writers who caricatured themselves for posterity. It is easy to go along with their simplistic self-fiction when it’s the cultivated mythos of their living person.
Just such a figure made a brief appearance in my Acid Anarchism…