DVD hawker: I got Superman, X-Men III, all high quality.
Guy: Those are illegal! You're stealing from me. I'm a writer.
DVD hawker: What? Did you write any of these?
Guy: You're selling illegal goods. I'm a writer. You're stealing from me!
DVD hawker: If you wrote any of these movies, you wouldn't be riding the subway.
--Uptown E train
Overheard in New York
This week has been a bit skint on content, and that might continue for the next month, I'm afraid. I've been busy working my way through Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth, so you know it goes. Of course, I've said this before, then returned the next day with a week worth of solid blogging.
I'm enjoying my time with Twenty-Six, really. It feels good in me and, right now, at least, that's a fine feeling to have. I'm going through the seven stages of writing, beginning with What Am I Doing?, to Fuck You! It's Frustration and now I'm sitting somewhere in Knowing And Feeling Good. I suspect that soon it will be the Return of Doubt, What Will the Editor Say, Who Will Buy This? and then, finally, Take It Away! I'm Sick of It! Sick! but why dwell on this? It's going well tonight, and it's nice to be able to write something like Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth, knowing you've got the support of your publisher, and that she's supporting you even as you stop making any sense in the emails you send.
Outside that, I've been thinking, in the last couple of days, about how experimental fiction can distance the reader from it. The comment was brought up in the post on Danielewski's Only Revolutions, and it's a fair one. A lot of experimental writing is, by its nature, about playing with the traditional form of prose on the page, or playing with language, and it draws attention to the new form. Burgess' A Clockwork Orange is a good example of experimentation with language, and while I do quite like the book, I have to admit that I don't respond to it in an emotional way; whereas, in the case of Danielewski's House of Leaves, I do connect with it emotionally. Now, everyone is going to connect differently, and that's cool, but I do wish my brain was a bit more awake so I could think of less obvious examples.
But I've been thinking about that emotion, and I don't know that I've got anything to say--some people are either going to pick up on that, and some people aren't. You can't do a whole lot about that. But I think it's important for the author, when writing, to see it as more than an exercise. Where a lot of frustration comes with experimental work (and yeah, I'm running that word into the ground tonight) is that a lot of it is simply an experiment for the author. They're testing something out. They're playing with form. It's an intellectual, not emotional, exercise.
Something in that, I think.