LET THERE BE LIGHT
"That day I shall always recollect with grief; with reverence also, for the gods so willed it." - Virgil, The Aeneid (V, 49)
Distracted from distraction by distraction
Stlukesguild, your words and the pictures you used were wonderful to read and a great deal to think on. Novelty in work or fashion or such has to be pretty special for it to touch me at all. I find that the simplest of melodies which perhaps are covered with intricasies as well as the simplest way of putting things with great deep and feeling are the greatest things I have ever read.I was unfamiliar with a couple of the paintings, they were most interesting.
Virgil, what do you mean calling this person a nut? What is meant by that and how do you know it for a fact? I have read some remarkable unbelievable biographies of people over the ages that were referred to like that, either in a joking or serious way. But upon reflecting upon their lives and looking at the ones who said so , I generally found it to be the other way around.
He said, 'she has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace
The Lady of Shalott.-Lancelot-Lady of Shallot
Virge is right, Wolf's a nut---you know, like a crazy nut, eccentric, cool, in that amusingly kooky way. He's a writer who craves for a revolution in literature...what's not to like about the guy? And his poetry is...um, well, nutty. Virge is a nut too, and so am I. Maybe you're a nut, Janey. Where is Wolf, good question.
Last edited by jon1jt; 01-07-2008 at 07:14 PM.
"He was nauseous with regret when he saw her face again, and when, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Neal; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad."
---Jack Kerouac, On The Road: The Original Scroll
I agree with you, our literature has remained stable for almost fifty years. It has actually become boring; everybody writes about the same things in the exact same way. No one has followed the path of Joyce, Faulkner, Borges, and other great innovators of the 20th century.
But why is that? All of what you said is true. But there is another factor that is virtually killing our creativity: conformism. Have you noticed that the most passionate, innovative and great works of literature have been produced in times of poverty, oppression and injustice or when their writers found themselves in desperate situations? Well, I have. Therefore, I believe that a writer has to be pushed by an internal or external fear. He has to be seeking to change the world, not to become rich enough to buy a Ferrari. Art is produced not by the brain, but by the heart. So, we need a big revolution in society, in our mentality, in our lives, to start writing more revolutionarily (new word?).
"An innovation in a literary form cannot establish itself as a new direction unless a sense of shared aims and objectives develops among experimental writers." -Patricia Waugh, Metafiction: The Theory and Practice of Self-Conscious Fiction
While this citation is an extract from a work that focuses on detailing metafiction, [furthermore, it is not as recent as I would prefer -- 1984], this particular section hits some points that are obviously closely related to where the subject matter of this thread began.
Although I am as excited as anyone else for the prospect of some type of a "nouvelle avant-garde", I am not so sure if attacking, (or at least, questioning), the economic motives of publishers or authors really accomplishes the true objective of this anticipation.
if you ask me, fifty cent and p diddy are more innovative than Toni Morrison and Alice Walker combined as far as language use and poetic innovation are concerned.
Even Palin will kick their asses. At least, she creates new words everyday.
The role of literature is to make language dynamic, active, and alive.
Was it Faulkner who made up and used his own words?
if you want innovation, read syjuco's illustrado. now, that's a non-conformist piece of writing. But I doubt if Americans will read him; he's Asian who happens to be anti-prosaic literature
Last edited by miyako73; 07-22-2010 at 05:46 PM.
I wholeheartedly support the idea that there must be a revolution in literature. I am fed up with too many conventionalist ideas and let us have a different approach to literature and reverse all that is old the way our values have undergone dramatic changes. Our literature has its roots in age old dead values, for today we live in a different world and I savvy that we all are averse to old values and we take on new philosophies and yet we seem too much obsessed with the obsolete.
I feel we must kind of give up all our obsolete literature. Let us writer in such a simple way any man, even dimwit can understand the meaning underlying a particular piece of literature.
Why should we follow Alexander Pope's hard-some, mind-boggling tough phrases and to hell with James Joyce's experimental style and I abhor and I am reproachful of this heap of nonessential stuff. Being and nothingness engaged me for many days and at the end of the day all I arrived it is drivel and now I am into grammatology by another pretender named Jack Derrida. What the heck has he done by simply meddling us in sets of theories. Literature and particularly classical literature is already tough and these few so called theorists, propagandists are getting them more complicated.
James Joyce and Derrida have written for less than 1 % people, to instruct and entertain a few readers of professorships.
Let new writers emerge who can outshine all those old stuffs and herald a new horizon of literature
“Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature””
“If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.
Your analysis of the mainstream is correct, but as with youth & music cultures, the next happenings are already occurring beneath the awareness of all but a tiny few. The internet and online publishing have busted the field open wide, though most are bogged down in debates over delivery systems over content. Time to restore the art of literature over its commerce. The internet will unlikely be able to deliver my work, which uses alphabets, typographies etc as well as words to examine the language and communication we all take for granted.
Any revolution in literature must restore the primacy of language to the novel, to nail down the slippery and elusive nature of meaning that words actually shroud rather than illuminate.
It's a big undertaking, but I'm game
LOL the essay sounds like one of the rants from The Fountainhead.
I agree though. The literary community is mainly composed of pretentious hero-worshippers who consider uneducated drunkards geniuses, and those who read Twilight.
Been a long day and I only got as far as the writing / music analogy. They're not the same.
I can open my mouth, vocalise or click my tongue; or I can keep my mouth closed and whistle, or hum; I can clap my hands, snap my fingers, slap my cheeks; I can stamp the floor, kick a dustbin [trash can, US] or rub my denimed backside on a brick wall. It's music. I can play an external instrument. I can do any or all of these alone, with a bunch of mates in a bar or for money at Carnegie Hall. It's the range of possible variants that creates the varieties of form.
Verbal language - the words, the tone, the narrative context - is as varied as music. All Writing is just capturing language. Writing is to verbal language what trumpet playing is to music: it's a means of expressing it. Of course one can make a range of sounds with a trumpet, in traditional or completely erratic forms. Whether people will stay to listen -and particularly whether they will pay to hear it once or repeatedly - is a matter of experimentation.
Exactly the same is true of writing. Write what and how you like, there have probably never been better opportunities to put your creations before people's eyes. Who cares if it doesn't sell? If you care, write something else or don't write at all.
author of The Middle Prince
Available now on Amazon Kindle for all e-readers
I notice that the comments get less hostile with the passage of time. Perhaps that's because we are in the midst of some of the greatest changes in communication since the invention of the printing press. In terms of the written word we are in a revolutionary era.
Perhaps most of it is worthless but the Shakespeares of today don't even realize how talented they are. They're typing away on their various "telephones" which have become small computers far more sophisticated than virtually anything that was in most of the sci-fi movies of my youth. These people typing away are reinventing the English language and all of the languages of the world, and they're having fun doing it. We are truly in the midst of the written word being constantly innovated by the masses. The written world has gone from the monasteries to the universities to the publishing corporations to the masses, and in those masses are the Shakespeares of today. And I could care less if I spelled shakzpear correctly, who cares?
The big publishing corporations owned by people like Rupert Murdoch are nervous. There is no longer any reason for the big publishing corporations to exist. There are just simply every year more & more options for the general public to get a hold of literature in unconventional ways. Soon there will be no more books. Books may very well go the way of CDs. And if you can download the book for two dollars from some author's website what do you need a major publisher for? The author is happy because he got his two dollars, the reader is happy because the book only cost two dollars, and well the publishers like Rupert Murdoch can go find some other hobby. Big deal. As writers you are now free of the publishing coroprations. You don't need them anymore. Let the publishing corporations go the way of the horse and buggy.
You can say you don't like the idea of a revolution in literature, but the whole infrastructure for revolution in literature is there. What is lacking is writers with balls. Too many writers don't have the courage to stand up to all the brainwashed ideas in their heads that were planted there by their grammar school teacher. And if you don't have balls you're writing probably isn't worth reading. Why should I take the time out to read a book that's too much like a whole bunch of other books I've already read?!
I agree that there's no point to be different just for the sake of being different. And if you're not different why are you writing? If you're writing is like everybody else's writing than why don't you become a garbageman instead, you'll be contributing more to society that way.
I'm different because I grew up in different circumstances. The lake was on one side and the black ghetto was on the other three sides of my neighborhood, and one of the best universities in the country was also in my neighborhood. I'm white with blond hair and blue eyes and I went to schools that were 90% black.
After a graduated from University I went up to Alaska where I worked a seasonal job of about a hundred hours a week. I spent the other eight months of the year writing whatever the hell I wanted to and traveling around the world, when I wasn't hanging out in New York City and taking in the advant-guard scene. I've been to over 50 countries, and I speak three languages. Maybe if you had a background like mine you'd be different too! Being different is not a choice for me. I am different. And that's why I write differently. And if anybody doesn't like it I could care less.
The brief time I lived in the suburbs I saw conformity and closemindedness on an appalling scale. It was pathetic.
My purpose is not to insult anyone. But I merely wish to explain to the traditionalists that not everybody chooses to be different. We just simply are.
Best wishes to all.
Animals have the right to be delicious! Yum Yum!
Hello once again.
I will now take the time out to answer some of the comments that were made on this thread while I was gone.
Somebody said $.50 - the rapper - is more innovative than some of the writers of our day. That is how pathetic writing has become - or at least commercial writing. The only thing that big publishers care about is money. When $.50 is contributing more to culture than contemporary published writers that says a lot! I like rap. But as a writer it's disturbing to me to admit that rap music is more innovative and contributing more to culture than contemporary traditionly published literature.
Contrary to what some of the earlier posters said I do not think that everything in the canon is garbage. But some of it appears to be.
Somebody said let new writers emerge that are far greater than anything in the past. That will be great! And if the human race survives there will be new writers emerging who will be far greater than any of the greats of the past. It's important to study the writers of the past. But we should not be enslaved to the past.
Somebody said we need a revolution in the world too. They are right. Half of the human race lives on less than two dollars a day. Unions in places like Wisconsin may be smashed. It's time for the working people to rule, because working people produce the wealth. The bourgeoisie are about as useless as 19th century French royalty. The only thing the bourgeoisie are good for is ruining the economy.
Somebody had to cool idea of swapping beginnings and ends and middle parts of stories with different writers. Sounds exciting!
Some of the traditionalists sought to discredit innovation in literature by giving us some crummy examples of innovation. I don't ever expect a traditionalist to write a good piece of innovative literature. That's like asking garbagemen to dance ballet.
There are times it's best to write in a traditional manner. For example, you would not want a book on plumbing to be written in a experimental manner. When you need to clean out bodily fluids from your plumbing you want a book written in a traditional manner. In addition, some books are best written in a traditional manner. There was a book about a boy soldier in Africa written in a traditional manner that was great powerful. A traditional manner of writing was best for that kind of book.
I guess there are no rules. The only rules are the ones you make.
All the best for everyone.
Animals have the right to be delicious! Yum Yum!
What Wolflarsen is claiming to be a need is something that already has come to pass. And it is never going to go back to what it was. Many good points in the essay.
Grammar can't be tossed away completely because it is grammar that clues words together into a coherent sentence. You compare literature to art and music, but you forget something: literature is an art created out of words, and words are communicative tools. Art and music and break all boundaries they want, but to literature, there is the boundary of grammar, because without grammar literature is rendered incomprehensible.
I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.
Edgar Allan Poe
also I don't really understand the ranting about capitalism. Capitalism has existed since the 18th century. During those time of capitalism we have produced the best writers possible: Dickens, Austen, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Hemmingway... People cannot just sit down idle all the time and write, we do need economic developments as well.
I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.
Edgar Allan Poe