January 12, 2010

If Only

(Since I posted the below yesterday, I've been thinking about it. I meant to be funny, but I wonder if I didn't cross a line? In summary, I meant to express the tension between writing and publishing. Seriously, I believe that the urge to write comes from the need to be heard, so of course publishing is important. Being such an avid reader myself, I am grateful for any readers who enjoy my work and for those intrepid souls who publish. Carry on!)

Oh, wouldn’t it be nice to say that it doesn’t matter? To say, who gives a hoot if the outside world ever sees a pen-stroke, a key-punch? I write because it inspires me, thrills me, for its own gratification, because I have to. I am a pure artist, I live for the art itself. My muse lives in the glass castle and eats nothing but dew gathered from the early morning cup of a calla lily, unsullied by the eye lashings of those beings called readers and the grubby fingertips of commerce.

But it does matter.

All this to say: I got a request for a partial on the novel today, and I’ve been in an irrepressibly good mood ever since.

What I’m Reading Today: Best European Fiction 2010, edited by Aleksander Hemon. I was prepared for it to be challenge because Hemon’s introduction seemed to say that a lot of the fiction was experimental. On one hand, I know it’s good for me to read fiction that is experimental ~ since I tend to be a traditionalist ~ but on the other hand the term “experimental” is sometimes used by writers who ignore their readers’ needs, a cardinal sin in my book. Not to say I don’t think readers shouldn’t be challenged, but they shouldn’t be ignored either. But, so far, I’ve found the fiction to be thoroughly delightful and not “experimental” in the sense of “go ahead, try to figure out what I was doing,” but more in the sense of deadly serious playfulness. Not innovation for innovation’s sake but to serve the story and the reader.

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