Tuesday, November 10, 2009

2Fer: Realism, schmealism

This post dedicated to my one true follower in Reykjavík ; sorry to hear about your economy, but not sorry about McDonald's...

Perhaps, attending school for creative writing has ruined me for traditional narrative?

I'm currently reading a small press novel that I find incredibly boring. I'm not going to name the press -  it's a good one, or the author - he's heralded as a "genius" in the book blurb, not because of what I'm afraid it'll do to my fledgling writing career (ah...but I have you, my Icelandic minions), but because it's a matter of personal taste. The book is unrelentingly realistic and I am so bored bored bored. If I wanted to suffer the excrutiating boredom of life in a corporate office, I would go live it. If I wanted to follow the minutest thoughts of someone who's plodding through life, overcome by ennui, someone who's on the verge of an existential crisis because their life is so very boring and unfulfilling but they don't know it (the rub, of course), I would just go to the post office of my small Southern town and imagine what everyone in line is thinking...or trying not to think.

I've managed to sound both haughty and pedantic in the above paragraph. Forgive me. Next I'll be sending hate mail to unsuspecting editors and McDonald's corporate office in Bethesda just for fun (and for the citizens of Iceland who will be deprived of their Big Macs and environmental/ethical onslaught).

Fiction, for me, should be surprising. It should show me something new. It should give me something I need that I wasn't quite conscious of needing, not like the next Iphone or Kindle or something you're made to think you need, but more like when you step into a warm shower and the water hits your calves and feet and all of a sudden you realize your feet were cold but you hadn't even noticed...you had acclimated yourself to cold feet. Fiction (and poetry, too) should make you realize you don't have to accept cold feet as a condition of living. These are my humble requirements, and the book I'm reading now just don't cut it.

I'm going to keep on reading, though, because I'm an idealist and an optimist way down deep - hell, I'll give the book a chance until the end. Plus, it's cheaper than boubon or Reyka in helping me fall asleep.

Yours in hoping the krona rebounds,

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