Sunday, October 10, 2010
Problems of Literature
My problem with the idea of writing is perhaps not necessarily an issue of craft, of literary craft - whether we are able to write at all, or not, for it's become evident that somehow I'm able to write, it's more like perhaps I don't quite want to hear what I'm in need of writing, it frightens me so often to hear myself. If it were an issue as simple as that of evoking the imagination, of surrendering the provocation of the invention, the repository of fantasy, then it could be easily overcome, but the repository of the memory is a lot more demanding, it's not simply an issue of aesthetics, but the fact that it's impossible to avoid the memoryhouse of experience. I'm equally unable to write or read too much, I swallow bits of the world with much paucity and care, trying not to miss anything, because the openness required for sincerity of writing is not that of simply trying to sketch a travel log of worldtime, but rather to depart from the repository of the strictly personal - experiences, acquired tastes, stories that might be of our interest or might not, stories that we have heard from other people or that we believe we have heard, in order to create a sense of the story (be it a critical or philosophical essay, a poem, a short story, a journalistic article) that appeals universally to the demands of the reader, of the people, of the world, how do you transform the raw material into something universally readable? Authors often tend to think it has to do with themselves and that's why confession it's always such a stumbling block to depart from in the making of literature. You're not so important after all and the possibility to tell a story in which you're not the most important part, even if it's a story about yourself, it is in this possibility that lies the loyalty to poetics and to creativity. It shouldn't be a deadly enterprise to write neither the good will to curb a suicide attempt on the part of the writer; insofar as this is supposed to be an art, there must be in it more enjoyment than pure salvation, because in the end, art is necessarily powerless before life and the act of transcending that is enabled by the production of literature is not based upon an avoidance of life on the one hand, or the plain excruciating literality on the other, both literatures, those of avoidance and of literality, however interesting, lack in every single way the power to evoke and are therefore false. You must be able to take a step back, to withdraw, to position yourself beyond and prior to attachment, both at the same time. That there's "something" to tell, it is a fact of life, part of the recognition that we find on other people and that we call friendship and love, stems from the fact that we share in this language of lips and hands, and why should one story be of superior quality to another doesn't necessarily procede from the content but from the ability of the writer to enable the reader to take part even if it is at the price of forgetting that the story isn't his own. Because there's an aesthetic appeal to which we resort, whenever we're ought to think about art at all, the categories that we use, to think of this "art" are always somewhat abstract and in that sense it's not only that they fail to engage the audience but also that we fail to be engaged ourselves. There's no position more dangerous in literary production than the idea of considering the reader infinitely inferior or dumb, in which case, the worldliness of the work of art becomes a great fallacy, and does it happen ever that we write only for ourselves? I doubt it, even in the most precarious cases, sometimes we write for the silent eye of God, or for an anynonymous recipient or for sometimes who can't read us for one reason or another, but I don't think we ever write only for ourselves. Some people have the ability to reflect upon their experiences within the traditional voices of narrative, time after time, sometimes even as the events are taking place, defying all concepts of time and space, whereas for me, differently enough, it takes years to consider the effect of the simplest passages, or the loneliest alleys or of very harmless yet beautiful, moments of the day.