WORLD: You've said that you learned from parents and teachers that your "business is not books. It's nourishment." What do you mean by that?
ERICKSON: People need good stories just as they need home-cooked meals, clean water, spiritual peace, and love. A good story is part of that process. It affirms divine order in the universe and justice in human affairs and makes people better than they were before they read it. If artists are more gifted than ordinary mortals (we keep hearing that they are), they should find order and harmony in human experience. That's what Bach and Handel did. Artists should nourish the spirit, not poison it.
WORLD: You wrote that you once received three letters in a month from mothers of autistic children. You found out later why the books connected with these kids. Would you explain?
ERICKSON: One of the mothers explained that autistic children fight a constant battle against mental chaos. They crave structure and order. My stories are tightly structured. They all have happy endings and in every story, justice is affirmed. The grotesque irony is that, while the mothers of autistic children fight day and night against mental chaos, popular culture scoops it out by the ton: frantic television images that have no coherence, movies that can't distinguish between heroes and villains, art that seems to have lost all vision of form and beauty.
hat tip: Amanda Witt