It's been forever
What has literature become?
It's been creeping up on me -- the traps that haunt contemporary writing. A few of my bugaboos are:
1.) Writers who try to novels as movies. Words, words, words! We should dream of the beauty of words. What have we if we reduce the song of alliteration and the snare of friccatives to what amounts to de-literatured plot? Notice I'm not talking style here.
2.) Soft or hard-porn as literature. I just don't see the WOW quality of literature that is merely and, I mean merely, a rehashing of letters one might find in Hustler magazine. You know the main guy -- he just published a new book which for reasons beyond my comprehension are loved by critics. Personally I think the critics are dirty, horny, lonely old men who don't dare buy porn and this gives them the excuse.
3.) Essays that are not well thought out or written. Aren't these both the key ingredients of the essay? You know who (hint: she wrote for the NY Times for years) wrote a book of essays with a sappy intro about 9/11 and some terrrible pieces that were rehashings of pop-culture ideas existing since the 1980's and earlier. Did you know kissing a smoker is like licking an ashtrya?! Can you imagine some girls want to model their body on Barbie?! Ug. It's like watching commercials over and over. I'm doubly amazed how some upper West-side people about crap their khaki's in admiration of her.
Quote of the week: "Brad Pitt's testes are the new Mother Theresa." I forget where I read that one but I like it.
The last couple of weeks were non-stop writing and my reading was generally related, lots of research. (I'm the sort of writer who if I mention a particular place or idea, I have to start digging deeply -- it's the former archives experience in me. The last thing I want is to miss a critical point -- so even though I don't use the majority of what I find, I will often discover one salient tidbit.)
So the writing, rewriting, re rewriting has created long evenings. (which in part is why I don't spend much time revising these posts -- craft what should be crafted and let the rest sit.)
Put on some streaming ambient music and a ten hour stint is around the corner. It's good, it's bad, it's non-stop -- how to describe the process. You do it. You keep doing it. You force yourself to do it. You cut and add, chop and invent. Eventually you coax it into something better (hopefully) than it was at first, a process tempered by the writer's continual self-doubt. But I'm really on track for getting exactly what I want by the end of August, and that's a manuscript that will be in a form where I can begin to send it out.
Books I'm really looking forward to this coming week or so include Stories by Gogol, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, more of Sylvia Legris and her stunning poetry, Interviews with American Women Writers, if nobody speaks of remarkable things -- by jon mcgregor, and Monkey by Michael Boyce (which I meant to read weeks ago.)