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Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Coleridge and Other Trapped Ducks

Dead Beat promised to get all specific on you, and he will. But let’s start here. Writing takes the ordinary and discovers the extraordinary in it. The truth is we all live extraordinary lives. Hence, Inviting Bukowski Over.

To bring the reader along with us while writing about ordinary things we need the writing to be interesting (very often it is plot which achieves that). Don’t just take my word for it. Welcome back Mr. Gardner from the bible, The Art of Fiction: “Anything we read for pleasure, we read because it interests us. One would think since this is so, that the first question any young writer would ask himself would be “What can I think of that’s interesting?” Oddly enough that is not a very usual first question…To some extent, bad teaching is to blame, encouraging us to rise beyond, and forget, our most immediate, most childish pleasures…and learn to take pleasure in things more abstract and complex…”

Hold on Mr. Dead Beat, what’s with all this infinity thing then?
Remember, the specifics, the ordinary, the pleasurable all lead to the abstract, not the other way around. Now shove off!

“… Though it cannot be said of all teachers of literature, it is common to find teachers indifferent to the kinds of poetry and fiction that go most directly for those values we associate with simple entertainment…The result of such prejudice or ignorance is that literature courses regularly feature writers less appealing than Isaac Asimov…John Le Carre..and the creators of the early Spiderman comics of Howard the Duck. In theory it may be proper that teachers ignore thrillers, science fiction and the comic books. No one wants Coleridge pushed from the curriculum by a duck ‘trapped in a world he never made!” But when we begin to list the contemporary “serious” writers who fill high school and literature courses, Howard the Duck can look not all that bad.”

Bow to Mr. Gardner on his way out.

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