Writing and Reading and Making Sense
I have an unusual relationship with literary fiction. Mostly I hate it. I hate the pretension. I hate the built up artificial complexity of its stories, if you can even call them stories. I don't know how I survived the umpty-ump literature classes in college. Oh, wait, yes I do. I didn't. I flipped out. I got myself expelled from college, in a most inopportune manner. For a while, college absolutely killed my love of reading, and by extension my love of writing. I still thought of myself as a writer, but I wasn't writing.
But now I'm back. I'm writing. I'm reading. Things move forward. But I still hate the hardcore literary mystique. I think it boils down best like this: It's boring. It isn't interesting. It's not that I don't have the patience, I do, I still reread Dante, I love Conrad and Faulkner and whatever. But there seems to be this belief that in order for the reader to get something of value out of a story, that reader must suffer. They must persevere. And maybe, if they're very good and read two hundred pages of nothing happening, maybe the writer will let them experience some moment of narrative rapture and deep character ascension at the end. Joy!
On the other hand, stories with plots and action and tension tend to shy away from, you know, characters. And meaning. And beautiful prose. And I don't think that's right. So when I describe myself as writing literary adventures, I'm not talking about smart mouthed librarians and moody college professors saving the world for the Dewey Decimal System. No, I mean exciting, interesting stories with deep character progression and maybe a little meaning on the side. But let's not get carried away, right?