About Something Only the Author is Interested In
Writing is so egoistic. It is entirely writer-centric. What do I want to write about; what have I experienced? Of course, the writer must have some input, but what about what the reader wants?
Isn’t it surprising that people write about some sort of topic that no one is interested in, and then are surprised that no one wants to read about it?
The great writer, you say, can write about even a drying wall of paint in terms fascinating and intriguing. Yes, “fascinating and intriguing for whom?” we should ask.
I think everyone wants to hear about Love. That’s apparently what great writing is all about. K — , esteemed professor of Comparative Literature at P — College, thought so. K — thought so even though he claimed that Love didn’t exist.
I say Love is the daughter of Miscommunication and an unknown father. Of course, there was never any pregnancy, and she just told him that so he would run away. But not everyone likes metaphors. Sometimes they get lost in them like a senile blind spider in its own web. But that’s a simile.
Love is the empty space in the vacuum between irreconcilable expectations. “When I say ‘love,’ I mean a James Bond type of gamble, drink, and fun, and when she says ‘love,’ it means like let’s get our lives in order and cuddle with all the free time we have.” K — used to say.
Sometimes people say yes when they mean maybe. [I have been hoarding this particular line for many days. I came up with it It occurred during a conversation with I — . I love I — …]
Art ought to be useless — Oscar Wilde taught us that — so it follows that the more useless it is, the greater the art.
But we all know that’s not true, for art is an educational outlet. It allows us to experience something or at least its simulation from the comfort of an art gallery or even couch. And it sends the clear message “Ordinary Citizens! Look at what our Creative Citizens have done, isn’t it spectacular how they also believe in the ruling ideology?”
But I believe that the artists are sort of the reporters from the front lines of the everyday life of society. They describe all the seedy nuances of the world away from the “official world”. Post-9–5 is the artist’s beat.
And while most Americans may shirk at work, the fact of the matter is that no one slacks in using their free time in a pleasurable manner.
How to do I spend my life and what is pleasurable anyway? Those are the main subjects that are studied in literature, especially Fiction.
The understanding that the characters are made up gives the reader a certain bit of allowance to adopt the persona. Because I know that Christian Grey isn’t real, I understand that my realness is worth more than his fictional bank account. Girls may fantasize about Prince Charming, but they’ll more often go home with Prince Present.
And that’s also the best part — the characters. An ideal work of fiction is a veritable instruction manual of characters. This is why young readers, High Schoolers, for example, are turned off by the classics. They simply haven’t yet encountered the vast but limited cast of characters life has to offer. Many of them have never even been properly backstabbed!
Great Fiction studies the characters that will sprout like Psychedelic Fly Agaric mushrooms along the path to figuring out how to spend your life and what is pleasurable; accordingly, they (the characters) will either send you down good or bad trips. Fictional protagonists are often fictionalized ideals of the author, but the characters they encounter are sharply realistic. It is much harder to turn a critical lens unfogged by vanity in one’s own direction. For this reason, I recommend reading Russian authors; they hate themselves so their stories usually have no protagonists.
You will know which characters appeal to you, and that will give you a sense of yourself. Don’t make the fool’s assumption that everyone will share your preferences. I don’t know how, but some people really are fans of houses other than Gryffindor. Just three days ago, I saw a weird, pale guy in a Slytherin scarf. Slytherin? Really? But seriously, some people learn that they sympathize with Javert, and someone may realize himself to be a Trunchbull. Good!
More often, you learn that there is such a thing as a Brutus, and you learn to get around the Injun Joes that block your path. I myself identify with a certain Gertrude Johnson (of the book Pictures from an Institution, Jarrell) even though she is portrayed in a negative light.
Why, read one O. Henry collection and you’ll never fall for a scam again. Or you will, but you will do so knowingly, deriving pleasure from seeing all the timeless traditions of con men you have read about played out in real life.
It is a popular movement in this age, and in all ages, to be pragmatic. “Let the fools believe all ideologies, but I only believe in securing comforts and making money,” says the rational man, “fiction is a waste of time. I’ll spend my time with a self-help book.” I would only say that The Alchemist will teach you to pursue your dream better than any work of non-fiction. If you want to be a journalist, for example, read Bel-Ami; if you hate your job, read Tropic of Cancer, and so on. And if everyone read The Good Soldier Svejk, there would be no more wars.
There’s no need to believe that everything outside the fiction section is true. All the worst books in history have been, what we call today, Creative Nonfiction. In great literature every character has his or her antidote.
I hope you enjoyed this, and if you didn’t enjoy this: you knew what it was going to be about, so you shouldn’t have read it.