Today I discovered Ben Peek reads our blogs (or did, maybe he still will because we have yet to discuss the end of the book). It was a very surreal moment when I found out. Kind of humbling as well. I mean, how often have you wanted to talk to the author about anything and everything in their book? Reading his blog I found out he actually posted some of our responses on his blog. It looks like some of us in the class weren't expecting that, because some of the posts aren't exactly kind to the novel or to the author. I wonder to what level of offense (if any) he takes to that. I mean, I know not everyone can like a book and everyone is entitled to their own opinions and all that jazz but if I worked hard on a book and thought it was good and worth publishing, I would be a little bias and think that it is a damn good book right? Then when people say otherwise, I would naturally get offended. But maybe real authors have learned to get over this and just ignore the critics, no matter what.
This makes me feel really stupid about my past obligitory 26 Lies post, because looking back on it now it was just something to do quick and dirty to get the requirement done so I could get on with my yucks and youtube videos. But now knowing he actually took a look at them and probably thought "Wow this kid has nothing intelligable to say or contribute to the discussion of my book" makes me. It's cool how simply the author outside the class knowing about our blogs vindicates these posts. Blog posts I would have otherwise not cared about now become meanful and worth returning too. Interesting how that works.
Anyway, thought it was cool the author was reading our blogs. Hi Ben Peek.
Hi, Erik (and everyone in Erik's class).
I figure I'll reply to this post, because I haven't replied to any of the other posts, and don't plan too.
I found you guys through a google alert, believe it or not. A lot of artists have them--I learnt to use it from a musician--because it lets you know when reviews of your work show up, or when people start talking shit about you, or love, you know how it is. Anyhow, what I'm saying is I only find out about the blogs when google picks them up. I figure I've missed a few, which is my way of saying if I haven't linked you here yet, it's simply because I don't know who you are. When I do, I'll link you, no hassle, even though I suspect the people who read this blog are getting a little tired of it. When they start complaining, just ignore them.
Like I said, by and large, you're not going to get much commentary out of me, because when I wrote 26lies, I made a deal with myself that I would never discuss anything within the book. It might seem a little strange, but I don't want to give validity to anything, or to tip my hand to anything that might not be true in the book--one of the concerns with the book is just how much does 'truth' mean to the reader, and how they respond to it, and if I sit round telling you all how to decipher it, it kind've fucks up that. Which also ties into the concern you have about not being intelligent enough, or concerned that I might be insulted, or anything like that. It's really, honestly, nothing you have to worry about. All readings of 26lies are valid, though in discussion, some will prove to be more valid than others; also, in a class environment, where marks are given out, there will be readings that are simply more correct than some others. School, University, College, it's all about following someone else's thought and learning the process to reach that end; it doesn't mean you have to agree with it, but it's there, I figure.
However, you won't find me telling you that you have read the book wrong, or that you've proved to be the equal to a down syndrome kid because you've said bad things about me. The truth is, I don't know any of you, and so your opinions don't have any consequences for me. A lot of authors fuck up on that--there was thing a while back when Anne Rice, the author of Interview with a Vampire, among other badly written horror novels, got onto Amazon and started arguing with people about their reviews of her work. It was idiotic, just as it always is when authors argue with you about their work, because you can't make someone like you're shit. It's also idiotic because she ignored the fact that any one of her readers could have been addicted to meth, touched their little brother, and sniffed the underwear of old people, while also being a hardcore Christian who believes that dinosaur bones are God's test, and the world is flat. Of course, they could also be nobel prize winning activists, porn stars, and people who have worked hard and quietly throughout their entire life to carve out their little bit of happiness in this world, and have a bliss that you and I will probably envy. The point is, you just don't know, and because you don't know, when people start saying they didn't like this or that, you just read it, laugh, and move on, because these people are strangers, and the opinions of strangers are ultimately meaningless to you.
But there's something more important here, which I'd like you all to consider (and everyone else who reads this, I guess). It's not wrong to dislike something. You don't write a book to make everyone happy. You can't. But what you want is that you want people to feel something--you want to hit some kind of nerve in them. Hating a book means you hit that; loving it means the same thing; but it's when someone reads a piece of work, and feels absolutely nothing, then you know you've missed you're mark. I mean, what's the point of doing this kind of shit if it's just so everyone can say, at the end, 'I don't know, I didn't really think anything about it'? Might as well get an office job, holiday pay, and some super. To me, art is about wanting to make people feel something. You want them to love it. To hate it. To feel something passionate--to feel that nerve inside them being hit, like I said. It can be hit in so many ways, through theme, through style, through content, and it's what I demand from authors as a reader, and what I demand from myself as an author.
So: You hate the book? Cool. You love it? Fucking awesome.
But at the end of the day, I sleep the same, write the same, hang with me friends, wonder what the deal is with this girl (or that girl), learn to cook a little, and get by the same either way.
Which is my way of saying that you shouldn't let my presence stop you from feeling that you can't write or say whatever you want. You can. It is one of the coolest things to have a group of people sit around and discuss your work. The pleasure to be able to read the comments, to watch what you're all saying, that's mine, and I don't aim to get in the way of anything that any of you are doing.