How long has it been? Is anyone counting? No, not even I. But I figure it is about time. At the present moment I have nothing in particular to say, so I suppose you might stop reading right now. But forward movement, regardless of its direction, has a wonderful way of bringing up new areas of intrigue. That is why I write the way I do. I never, rather rarely, have a particular vision when beginning to write. Usually I just visualize something and then follow the currents of my mind. How much of that current is nature or nurture is unknowable, but I don’t really care. In any case, my point is that, if you’re still reading, you might still get something out of this post. No promises though.
I’ll continue with a topic that has been bothering me since I began school here. Before I go any further I’d like to preface this by saying that I do not have any illusions that I am some sort of genius or visionary writer. At least I remind myself of that regularly, which I suppose does not bode well for my public image (admitting this, I mean. Nor is this self-perception consistent. I am after all a man raked by the residual effects of anxiety). To get back to the topic, now that the preface, and the beginnings of a segue, are taken care of, I am slightly disillusioned by how conventional my program is proving to be. Granted, I’m only a month and half into my first semester. However I was hoping to have my world brought to its knees, to have my peers and professors rip my writing apart and say, “Good, but make me hard (or wet). Don’t just give me the same old, same old. Spell it out backwards and upside down and tell me all the things I don’t want to hear but have to if I’m to die with some level of humanity.” Okay I got a bit carried away with that, but maybe you get the gist?
What I’m getting is a lot of talk about character development, and story arc, and proper plot structure, and this is what the reader will want and this is how you make them cum. Of course there is value in learning the established particulars of the craft. I, just like everyone else, or most everyone else, want to make money and live a comfortable life. And there is no money in force-feeding people their own vomit. In fact, and going back to the value of conventional penmanship, I have learned a great deal in the short time that I have been here. Indeed I have learned an inordinate amount. I love my peers and my professors! Platonically of course, although maybe desirously for some. I must say that I truly appreciate the people I have met, the connections I am making, and all that I am learning. This is the absolute truth. Especially considering that I am far from being a master at my craft. But I am still fucking disillusioned!
Perhaps it’s me. I have this odd desire, or this odd idea rather, that writing can reach beyond traditional forms of expression and do something else. I like to tell people that I want to “capture movement through writing”, which is the truth. What does it mean? Hell I couldn’t give you a straight answer. But that is exactly why I want to push the boundaries! How many of us feel something when we read or write, when we play with language? Most everyone. However I see there being two broad types of literary folk: the editors and then the writers. The editors are the conventional types, the ones who write well and can produce good work according to the established doctrines. They don’t so much feel as they do think. Valuable people, no doubt, but utterly boring. Then you have the writers, and I tend to include myself in this group (sorry for my presumptuousness). The writers are the edge of your seat creators, the ones who spew out words that magically make comprehensible sentences and paragraphs and have personal meaning unconsciously littered throughout. They have some level of mastery of their written language, derived not from focused study but rather from a simple, innate drive to express themselves. These are the individuals who tend to push the limits and open up the arena to new challenges.
I can’t tell if people in my program are content with the status quo, afraid, or just oblivious. To a certain extent it is the university’s responsibility to engender the feeling that options exist, and what path you choose, or combination, does not reflect on your worth as a writer. Still, it is important for the university to force its students out of their little boxes and make them face the light, meaning that the university must enlighten its students to the massive, formless world that exists beyond their flimsy literary training and within which they can create their own prison. Why assume another’s? I do have to admit that the mere fact that I am writing and publishing this is due largely to the influence of one of my professors, evidence that the university is serving its purpose, to a certain degree. However I still feel like the university is failing in some way.
The question now is who is going to start a “movement”. Any takers? I know I won’t. I’m too afraid. I’m unfortunately of the “let me sit here and wait for someone else to open the flood gates so I can ride along” mindset. So I think what I’ve been getting at here is that I want someone to challenge the establishment and embrace the absurd and the irrational, because that is what I want but I’m too much of a pussy to do it myself. Enculturation is a bitch.
Let me end with this remark: fuck what the reader thinks they want! They should take what we give them and if they don’t want to deal with it then they can shoot us or they can shoot themselves. Either way, good riddance.