Sunday, April 5, 2009

Random Thoughts on Writers...

August 16, 2008
*copied from another journal as to not be lost forever

If you do not like to read books.. this won't interest you in the least.. and even if you do like to read books, it still might fall flat.

So I should start by saying that I should never be left alone for long periods of time and allowed to think.. because it never turns out well. That being said...

I was sitting around thinking today about nothing in particular, well actually I was thinking about reading and about the some of the things that I wrote about yesterday..

Anyway, I decided that the following things are true:

*Louise Erdrich is my Fitzgerald of 2008.
- my reasoning behind this realization is that they both serve the same purpose to me.. they both encourage and discourage me to write simultaneously. I'm so intimidated by the way that they write that every time I pick up a pen (or sit down at the keyboard) I freeze. I guess it's the equiv. of 'performance anxiety' (take that in whatever context you will) but after reading anything by these two, I don't want to write anything down because I know it can't add up to the brilliance that seems to freely flow out of these two.

*Klosterman is my Laurie Notaro of 2008.
- If you've read both of them, this statement pretty much explains itself.. if not, suffice to say they have similar writing styles and that they both make me laugh out loud.. in public.. while reading a book... (wow. I'm fucking cool.)

So, I love different things about these different types of writers. With Fitzgerald and Erdrich I literally see the world differently while I'm reading their books. I can't think of a better way to illustrate this than to give an example of Erdrich's imagery.. to preface, she writes a lot of Native American lit. and this particular passage is in reference to the fact that in the Indian culture you aren't supposed to speak the names of the dead because they may come back if you do..

"Their names grew within us, swelled to the brink of our lips, forced our eyes open in the middle of the night. We were filled with the water of the drowned, cold and black, airless water that lapped against the seal of our tongues or leaked slowly from the corners of our eyes. Within us, like ice shards, their names bobbed and shifted. Then the slivers of ice began to collect and cover us. We became so heavy, weighted down with the lead gray frost, that we could not move. Our hands lay on the table like cloudy blocks. The blood within us grew thick." ~ Tracks

and also.. a little Fitzie for you too..

"He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced-or seemed to face- the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey." ~Gatsby

Now who WOULDN'T be intimidated to write after reading either of those things?! But that's the thing.. when I read Erdrich and Fitzgerald I think of little everyday things differently.. I pay attention to the crunching noises that the leaves make under my feet.. I think about the flavor of something I'm eating in a different way than I normally would.. it is almost as if my senses are heightened by reading these two.. (or any other fantastic author I suppose).. I'm going off on a tangent here..

Now Notaro and Klosterman make me think.. but in a very different way. They bring out my sarcasm and wit.. which are very good things.. just not as wonderful as the others..

I guess it may sound pompous (and naive too) that I think I could write a Klosterman or Notaro easily.. but it's the Gatsby I want to write.. the Tracks.. hell, even the Tender is the Night that I couldn't get past 3/4ths of the way through had some great imagery and symbolism to it..

I guess when I really stop and think about it, Fitzgerald and Erdrich are really just the tip of the literary iceberg for me in this conversation.. the James, Whitman, Dickinson, Salinger, T.S. Eliot, Camus, Hemingway, Atwood, CHOPIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, Faulkner, Charles Frazier, Steinbeck, Emerson, John Gardner, Dante.. I could go on and on and on and on and on.. but you get the idea.

I have no idea whatsoever what I started writing this entry about or what the point I was trying to get at in my head was.. but if I was ever questioning whether I should be working towards teaching English, I've just solidified the decision to myself--so at least there's that.

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