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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Water over the Dam

So teaching and writing have been eating up a good deal of time. Sadly though, writing is a process of second guesses and head knocking. It's difficulty piled upon doubt, or vice versa, and the thing gains form but then slips away just as easily -- and what are we left with, a vague impression of having done something that is undeniably beyond our ability to judge. It's terrifying really.

I've been reading a good deal, the books come like tides. The Neap will bring a bunch that are altogether horrible. I'm beginning to be seriously appalled by the number of poorly written books that I come into contact with. I recently read two by Japanese authors, and yes there was a translation issue, but still, they were full of misapplied motives, cliche situations and words, absolutely humorless and predictable situations. I guess the word is Mundane. But unfortunately it gets even worse. Some of these books are published in Canada by Canadian authors whose first language is English. My beginning writing students with no background in stringing together words do better jobs. And some of these are published by big houses. Again I won't mention names, because the world up here is small. (Maybe someday I'll get the guts to name them. Take my course, I'll tell you all.) When it comes to reviews of these books, nobody dares call a spade a spade; the reviewers of at least one major paper seem to be paid off to write descriptions and to avoid any criticism, so the poor public gets suckered into throwing good money after bad words.

When I think I've finally seen it all, along comes a new batch of absolute crap, typos on every other page, inconsistencies in the story, bad fact checking, bad imagining, really every error of writing possible, and I'm begin generous in giving them at least nice paper and a full color jacket.

Just how do these people get published? How do their pieces of crap get past editors and publishers? My cat could do a better job. Please someone fill me in. Or maybe I'm available for reading proof copies at say one thousand a page? If it's really that great a book this is small price to pay for a decent copy of immortality.