10/CHRONICLESnabout anything dead. And at that time I happened to benreading Jung and Newman and Zimmer and mythology,nand that gave me my enveloping action.nBell: Could you say what the enveloping action is?nLytic: Enveloping action is the universal, the thing whichnis always true. The simplest example is the triumvirate: twonpeople in love with one person. You can have a millionncircumstances there. So what you do is envelop the wholenaction, as a particular action representing that universal. Sonthe present action will also represent the other.nBell: Would you say what it was in The Velvet Horn?nLytic: I don’t know. Incest—spiritual and otherwise. Inwouldn’t say absolutely.nBell: Well, I wanted to get you to talk about shifting pointnof view, which it seems that you don’t much approve of. Inam wondering when it can work and when it can’t.nLytic: Oh yes. It’s a weakness for two reasons. On thenreader’s part, he gets identified with a person and a point ofnview—you do that, certainly, in James’s central intelligence.nWell, if you use that and then shift it to somebodynelse, then it puzzles the reader. He doesn’t know what tonbelieve, finally. That’s the effect.nBell: And a book can’t get resolved if the point of viewnshifts?nLytic: It cannot, there is just no way for it to.nBell: What about the couple of Faulkner books that worknthat way, such as As J Lay Dying?nLytic: Well, the dead woman holds it together in As JnLay Dying. She’s there. Think about it. She’s alwaysnpresent, as if she is not dead. That’s how it’s held together;nthe presence is there, and that’s why the voices work.nBell: But in The Vanquished, for instance, it’s all told innthe voice of the boy. So you don’t have the problem ofnseparating voices.nLytic: Yes. It’s in the first person; that’s the mostndangerous point of view of all. With first person, I say you’vengot the limitation of prejudice, and then you don’t get thenwhole truth because the actor is involved, and then you’vengot omissions. But if you can have that attitude and stillnindirectly show the whole truth, then it works.nBell: Then that would make the narrator the hoveringnbard?nLytic: It would make him the bard, don’t you see?nBell: You’ve written that dialogue is not enough to makenfiction, and that summary is important.nLytic: Summary is fiction. Because the summary includesnscenes and also the implications of scenes. You’ve gotnto have the scene, the scene is the center, it’s drama. Younhave to have it because it’s concrete. So you hear peoplenspeaking in terms of the action, but summary comes out ofnthe enveloping action, I suppose. I think that fiction is ansummary — summary of scenes leading up to the scenenwhich you need.nBell: Did your acting career contribute to that understanding?nWhat did you do in the Yale Drama School?nLytic: I went there to study action, scene, really, what itncomes down to, and I learned that.nBell: What sort of parts did you play?nLytic: Different ones. I was not a matinee idol. I wrote anplay that was put on, a one-act play. Made a big hit innNashville. Called The Lost Sheep. It really went well, fornnnthree weeks.nI was in one play on Broadway, ran for four months. Itnwas called The Grey Fox, about Machiavelli. Henry Hullnplayed in it. Crystal Hull was the female lead. I wasnMachiavelli’s clerk.nBell: You were in damn good company.nLytic: Oh yes, that was pretty good company. And I got an$50 bill and a $10 bill every Saturday night. You could livenon it then.nOnstage, you see the actors physically moving, and theynarrange their movements, acting together, and you get ansense that you never can in the written word. But you’ve gotnto try to get that sense. Your problem is how, by the use ofnthe five senses, to make the reader see what he would see innthe theater. That’s how it seems to me.nEverybody uses the five senses who writes. But Flaubertnis the man who almost made a law of it. He said the morenyou use the senses, the more sense of being, of the reality ofnliving people, you get. You’ve got sight, the sovereign sense,nand hearing is awfully close. The mortal senses, smell, taste,nand particularly touch: you can’t reach the world, you can’tnlove, you can’t do any of these things without touch. Andnthe more of those you use, the more imitation of life you willnget.nThat’s why you’ve got to have the scene, but you’ve got tonhave behind that all the enveloping action, all the summarynleading up to it. And scene is very extravagant. Hemingwayncan make a scene, his is nearly all scene, some of it. Hisnpanoramic summaries are stage directions, certainly in “ThenKillers.” But he can take dialogue and not only make thenaction advance, but the understanding of it. Well, you canngo through the whole of “The Killers” and just see what thensummary will do with the scenic directions.nBell: Do you have any ideas about ways of living thatnwould allow a person sufficient time to write?nLytic: There’s no one way. I think you’ve got to have anlittle luck, for one thing. You can teach in these places, theynhelp. You might farm. I tried farming. Now if you own thenfarm, and have some cows, and want to go and milk, and donthose things, then you might do it.nBell: Except it ends up that takes most of your time,ndoesn’t it?nLytic: Well, don’t try to do too much. You’ve got to havensome help, you know.nBell: I’ve heard you say it from time to time that youncouldn’t farm even with help and write at the same time.nLytic: I mean, really farm. But you can do, say, onenthing. Cows, you can have something to live on. You cannmake a garden, I do that here, you can do certain things.nYou cannot really farm and write.nI’ll tell you what I did, I had a man do over an old log barnnon one place, and I ought to have been out there watching.nBut I was trying to write, and I wrote four pages, I thought itnwas perfectly beautiful. When I looked at it, when I gotnthrough, I kept one sentence.nBell: You were watching him out of the corner of yourneye, then.nLytic: But you’ve got to do something. And if you ownnthe land . . . but if you’ve got to pay the mortgage, you’vengot to grow things you don’t want to grow, like tobacco.nThat’s 14 months a year, tobacco. And there it goes. Now In