Writing is a solitary pursuit--the imagination guiding the hand moving the pen. I'm pretty old-school, valuing the work of good editors and the revisions process before letting my words go public. But life is short, right? And sometimes, just sometimes, we need to spout off.

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A writer, mother, teacher, friend, I love books, blizzards and beaches, music from Hildegard von Bingen to the Beatles to Bonnie Raitt to The Brood; I love medieval churches, red wine, creme caramel, and roasted beets, and walking the woods and coastlines of home. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Hungry Artist

An interesting review in Saturday's Globe, all about challenging fiction's conventions, and, indeed, originality itself. The piece is well worth reading:

Shields' approach appears to be the literary equivalent of sampling a la hip hop. That the way, the truth and the life of the novel lies in patching & scratching together found bits and pieces, all without accreditation. (I mean, why bother inventing and building your own distinctive characters when you can rip off whole chunks of other people's?)
Hmm. I would agree with the view that as our attention spans shrink and with it our reading habits, the way we write novels has to adapt too. To churn out a 400 page story now seems antiquated--a no-brainer that its audience will be small? But stealing? (er, borrowing?)
Some would say this is dishonest, pegging the craft of sampling as such.
Because everything we create comes on the heels of others' creations--the whole creative process one long concatenation of influences upon influences.
But doing away with characters, narrative?
Doesn't that pull the plug on story?
Isn't writing about finding form out of chaos, seeking and constructing meaning?
Isn't that the writer's job?
I'm not sure it isn't cheating--lazy--a cheapshot--for a writer to fling down a collage of found words and hope--expect--readers to make great sense of it. If in fact sense is what readers seek. Or is it breaking narrative down into the cyber bits and bytes we no longer consider virtual but real and/or just as important as the stories, the experiences behind them?
Reality, man.
But just because the new reality is sampling/splicing/skimming/skipping, should fiction necessarily image that?

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