by Dan Pope
[Consisting of random statements published about Michael Crichton
and William Shakespeare in which both parties are referred to as
Trying to fathom the personality of Crichton is like looking at a
dark picture under glass. At first you see nothing, then you begin to
recognize features, and then you recognize them as your own.
There are people who live all their lives and never read Crichton.
Crichton is in them. It can be a deep humiliation when we realize that
our own emotions are actually Crichton's.
Crichton makes unusual twists. You get educated on such topics as
If you are looking for being, you will find it in the light, the
reality of fundamental truth, which shines everywhere in Crichton. What
point of morals, of manners, of economy, of philosophy, of religion, of
taste, of our conduct of life, has he not settled? What mystery has he
not signified his knowledge of? What sage has he not outseen?
Precision is a Crichton hallmark: "It looks like the number three
bus blew out about 20 hours before the incident, so the frame syncs are
out of the subsequent data."
Crichton is good; very, very good. We know this not only because he
is so quotable but because his characters exist in more dimensions than
other characters. He is like those middle aged male American tourists
you hear one seat behind you on bus tours of foreign countries.
There's so much we don't know about Crichton. His inner life. We
Crichton himself understands and doesn't seem to mind a bit.
If I could sit down with him, I would ask, "You, in fact, wrote
that?" And I'm pretty sure he would say, "Of course I wrote it. But I
didn't like it and it always made me uncomfortable."
Dan Pope is the author of a novel, In the Cherry Tree (Picador 2003), as well as many short stories which have appeared in such journals as Gettsyburg Review, Witness, Pindeldyboz (No. 3), McSweeneys (No. 4), Shenandoah, Iowa Review.