I think Richard is asking David if David isn’t experiencing a certain amount of depersonalization, Gwen. Is he using his art and his quest to see and understand as an excuse not to really live?
I think Richard stopped trying to understand everything a long time ago. He’s embraced life and a sense of the ridiculous.
That may or may not be the right path for David, but Richard seems to feel that whatever path David is on, it’s not taking him to a place of fulfillment and happiness.
I don’t know if Richard is right about that. All I know is what he whispered into my head as I was writing the novel.
It’s funny. The “real” Richard was actually named David. He really was a retired ad exec, and his Carla persona really was quite celebrated and well known around the Village. He and and Hilda were very good friends, spending much of their time together.
If either of them were still alive today, I’d have so many questions to ask that never occured to me when I was younger.