Learning about literature and the great writers of our times in a college setting does not make any of it seem accessible. I am still a lost child of my generation, inundated by the sheer weight of every word written in perfect placement by every predecessor. The fault is in my “undeserving” complex. Self-deprecation because How could I ever write a story/song like that? and my complex frames the question hypothetical and unanswerable, whereas it takes baby lion steps. Those first brittle bones arching across the safari until eventually running with the best hunters of the pride. Shaggy mane all hanging down. None of it grew overnight… but that beautiful concept… “Last night a forest grew.” Destruction is fast. Recovery slow. Becoming good at anything is a form of recovery. To rediscover the childlike curiosity and excitement about every living creature and a desire to tell relatives about the day’s discoveries. The sun! The butterfly! This song I heard! Etc.
In a college setting we are meant to be humbled by the density and intellect of our predecessors. Is this not a lesson in coping with a 10,000 hour deluge? These writers. Their eyes connected straight to their hands and the words seem so flawless. We know nothing of the torturous process of enacting the effect the words have on us. Our music seems so simple and dumb in comparison. This pressure of the past, a fallacy that we must compete with the dead in order to be remembered adequately… the dead pile up… we are them soon… Our words only matter if they can impart a new meaning. A new representation. Yet all sentences are unique. Inflection and voicing and circumstance. All is diverse.
I want to learn what to avoid. I do not want to solely focus on the greats. The best of the world. I know they are there. I understand the distance between myself and them. Learning of their habits and notoriety is not influential to live like that. They are freaks and wrote beautifully for thousands of famous pages. What about the parts of the book that we skim over?
Will my lesson in how not to write only come from work-shopping my own creation? Probably, tough love. You pour yourself out and instead of compliments we dive on grammatical errors that detract from the story and our eyes melt into the white space between words and the abstraction grows while the concrete image fades, fades.
Whoops. I’m saying I want to read a real shitty book and pick it apart. Sounds like more of a chore than reading the sometimes dull, but wonderful greats. This is hardly a lament. I’m bored of the topic.