|Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 03:30 pm: |
I’ve recently discovered your work, and I would like to thank you for the passionate stories you have written. In searching for more information about you and what you might come up with next, or what I might have missed, I’ve come to these threads. There is something you wrote in the Trujillo thread, that I cannot get out of my mind, about how you view writing as a “low level occupation” and agree with the Hindu Great Wheel of Life that puts poet just below thief. This is the second time I’ve heard you say this (I think also in the Locus interview a year or two back), and I’m amazed nobody has further touched this subject. I’m curious why you see this as “about right”, and I’m assuming you’re not just talking about propagandists and hacks?
Writers seem to me, along with other artists, to be as Ezra Pound has suggested, those that dig down deep into themselves to reveal a common or rare experience of the inner workings of humanity—sometimes surprising even themselves—and shaping that into a story so other readers can experience it as well. I know when I start one of your stories, I am immediately sucked in, as though a vortex begins to form and my concentration focuses solely on the sounds and smells and mysteries of your settings and characters. I am experiencing it, and I’ve only found a few writers that can do that to me. It feels fresh and alive even though it might have been written years ago, and it stays with me for days, years afterward. By your struggles of composing such resonate stories you have captured an experience for others to share. How can this be a low level occupation?
|Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 04:58 pm: |
Scott, thanks for the kind words. I'm pleased you find my work a good experience.
As to your question, I suppose it depends upon your view of human nature how valuable you feel such excavations are. My view of it is not particularly high. From my perspective, the average activity of mankind is a kind of brutal indifference aimed at acquisition and the fact that writers look within themselves and bring the mechanisms of this indifference to light...Well, it's in a way admirable, I suppose, but does not strike me as being exemplary, to expose the workings of something as sorry and derelict as the human condition. On the contrary, it strikes me as being eminently trivial. Writing is hard work, but is it harder than laying bricks or teaching or construction work? I just don't think it's a big deal, man. Fucking around with words, making pretty sentences, etc. People who actually do something for the world, who're more direct in their involvement...they're the ones who command my sincere respect. But this is only my opinion. I'm quite sure you'll find people on this board who view writing and the exploration of the psyche in more positive terms, who think of artists as thieves of fire and such, rather than, as do I, as doing the equivalent of cleaning out a sewer. Still and all, it's my work and I try and perform it as proficiently as I can. And hearing from you has made me think--temporarily, at any rate--a little better about myself.
|Posted on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 09:03 am: |
I appreciate your honesty, as there is so much bullshit flying around all the time it becomes difficult to see clearly, to penetrate anything. I hear what you’re saying. The more I learn about contemporary realities around the world and the history of humanity, the horrendous suffering that never seems to change, I become more disgusted, furious, and my heart sinks deeper into despair. There is a song called “Old Fashioned Morphine” by Jolie Holland, that I sometimes mire in, in which she sings in a modern Billie Holiday style:
Give me that old fashioned morphine.
It was good enough for my grandpa,
it’s good enough for me.
Sister, don’t worry,
because the world is almost done.
Looking at the words on the screen does nothing for the way she sings it or the mellow horns, but it’s exactly on target. Let me go home, pop a Vicadin or take a few hits, and forget, at least temporarily, how fucked up the world is because we’re done, we’ve hit the endtimes (no biblical reference intended)...and at times I look forward to it, let’s just get it over with so the suffering and oppression can end (Holland also has the most beautiful song about suicide, if you can imagine).
I also give the people who are directly involved my utmost respect; I am grateful beyond words, and wonder why the fuck I am not doing more. But I’m sure they were inspired somewhere along the line, and what does writing do best if not to inspire change....
|Posted on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 09:13 am: |
No problem, Scott.
I'll have to check out Jolie Holland. She sounds like my kind of woman....
|Posted on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 06:20 am: |
"Escondido" is a great cd. Hope you enjoy.
|Posted on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 08:03 am: |
That's the one I ordered. I'll let you know. Again, thanks.