Friday, October 11, 2013

A bit on Literature

 As a child I loved to read. Id stay up for hours reading. Books were always an adventure. I could forget about all my problems and things I needed to do and just dive into an adventure for a few hours.
It was so easy and it was exactly what I wanted.

But as I got older people started telling me what to read.

At first it was just a list that I had to pick a few books from. It wasn't my favorite thing abut at least some of my favorite authors had at least one title on the list I was supposed to read from. As I got older this list got smaller and smaller until it became assigned reading... ewww just ewww. The books, sorry I mean literature I had to read in high school was often mind numbingly boring, or just confusing. Like The Crucible for example...

First, its a play. So annoying to read, there's stage directions and dialogue is weird to read, its just much better as a performance. I don't hate reading plays I actually love Shakespeare especially his witty nonsensical comedies but thats another story. The Crucible is just a bunch of dumb girls lying to get attention, I know this sounds a lot like Mean Girls but it sucks a lot. Yeah, its supposed to be an allegory for McCarthyism but that means it should be read in a historical context, like a social science class, not Honors English. We spent months talking about symbolism, irony, allegory, tone instead of the thinly veiled subtext, literary representations of historical figures and its presence on banned books list, any thing banned is always better...

The Scarlett Letter also sucks. Its written in middle english, not quite Shakespere, not quite normal english, and it requires a dictionary every third paragraph. Also hanging someone for cheating is ridiculous punishment, you cant pick your parents so why all the hatin' on Pearl, and I'm sooo glad I'm not a character in this story there is no happy ending for anyone.

This cycle of icky forced reading was real real bad in high school. There were a few gems, like The Jungle which is morbidly awesome, and accurate to the time. Wuthering Heights, Bronte girls know how to do sad love stores right! The BBC movie version is also awesome, Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley, kill it, I haven't seen the Laurence Oliver version. I have learned to hate Dickens, too much moping and not enough doing, also enough with the foreshadowing, you have killed any and all surprises. More modern literature can be good, but when you use the structure of your novel as a part of the overall meaning you exclude those not well versed in literature from enjoying your book (heres to you, House of Leaves) And the worst book ever, ahem, Ida by Gertrude Stein, its worse than See Spot Run.

After many many years of being forced to read what some call, "classics," and "literature" while having to deeply analyze and deconstruct. My love of reading has extinguished itself to faint white coals. When I was younger I used to love book reports, and being pushed out of my fantasy/adventure novel comfort zone, but forced reading, bullshit analyzations, and irrelevant "literature" that only speaks to the trials of rich white males killed the book zealot in me long ago. Lately I've been trying to get back into reading, I tried to engulf my self in some literature. But now every time I read any fiction all I can think about is the archetypes, irony, imagery and themes rather than just getting sucked up into someones dream world. But I'm curious does anyone actually enjoy talking about literary devices used in novels? Or is it just something that professors do that sucks the joy out of books?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Im back: Not that I ever left...

So I haven't posted anything on here in several months.

Its not that I haven't written anything, i've written plenty. But its not all happy fluffy stuff ready for the world.

I write a lot, on a bi weekly basis I spend time recording my thoughts and reflections. I write a lot about my childhood. I write about my family and my artwork. Sometimes I write about my relationships and world events. But mostly about my childhood, and I don't post it.

I keep it in the "vault" as a professor of mine would say...

Its not that I'm ashamed of my words, Its just that, how do you know when it is time to let things go. I was a happy kid I guess. I know there are millions of children who had much worse childhoods than me. And maybe thats why I don't post it. Maybe I feel like I'm whining. But I always tell people,

No matter what your feelings are they are valid

but then I have always had a hard time telling people how I feel. Logically, feelings are irrelevant I tell my self, especially when I have to make tough decisions. But my job has tuned me in to the real world fact that feelings are not irrelevant. Feelings start revolutions and they are able to unite people who have nothing else in common. Feelings make people travel thousands of miles to rebuild the homes of strangers, feelings are what push people to enter into life threatening careers. As essential as feelings are to the human condition, I'm still bad at them. I ruin things because I have such a hard time vocalizing them. Thats what a lot of my art is about to me. Its about pent up feelings and words that logic has shunned away.  Maybe thats why I don't share all of my writing. A part of me says that acknowledging those feelings will not force a positive outcome so logically its not worth the effort.

But if thats true why do I write them down. They are not the kinds of stories id ever read to any future children. They don't really express any universal truism that will shatter the current process of thought, if they were id share them. But they do express how I feel about times in my my life that were particularly painful and difficult for me. And whats the point in sharing that. I mean I'm not a comedy writer nobody reads this for laughs. But don't you just hate reading depressing things.

Sure Schindler's List was depressing, but at least there was an ultimate greater good served. Like Water For Chocolate is really sad too but all is well at the end. Maybe im just waiting for my happy ending, as much of a cliche as that is. Maybe I'm just waiting for a time in my life when I can look back and see how my experiences shaped me into the glowing example of human triumph and success. I might just be waiting for the day when I can talk about such experiences and not feel like I'm whining despite my privilege. Or I just don't think its worth the social recoil i'd get, humph whatever... we'll all just have to wait and see.