Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

David Foster Wallace.

I first heard about David Foster Wallace in 2008 in a university class for grammar. The professor handed us an essay written by Wallace on SWE (Standard Written English). The very next week, our professor told us David Foster Wallace had committed suicide. I still remember how he said it...not to talk badly about my former professor, but he was very matter-of-fact and almost amused by the news of Wallace's death.

The fact that he's more popular after his death is something I'll overlook in this post. This video is important to me based on how he, an author of talent and stature and intelligence, doesn't put a lot of stock in publicity and making appearances.

The reclusive, hidden author who's always out of the public eye, creating his or her latest masterpiece...does this maintain the traditional legend of the subversive, effective author? Fitting into old, respected romantic roles... .

I can understand his discomfort with reading his work aloud - I personally can't decide on what sections of Disassociation to read aloud because every paragraph falls under a greater context and reading one out of context to people who haven't read the book is always a difficult task.

He expresses ennui at going to bookstores and performing readings, saying how an author is relegated to a quasi-celebrity as a result. And I can understand how it would be stiff and impersonal to read passages from a book people have already read, not caring about the content and just wanting to see the creator and how he or she sounds.
But I don't see the discomfort on his level. Maybe it's a less intelligent level. I wouldn't have a problem going to read my already-read work to audiences. I say 'already-read' because whenever I do readings I know the work I read hasn't been read by anyone in the audience before. But I don't see anything wrong with giving audiences...admirers...maybe even fanatics...? a taste of how I look, and how I read. Maybe I wouldn't even read from the work I'd be promoting. I could write entirely new poems and stories and weave the novel/collection I promote into the contents somehow...neglecting my commercial publishers' intents in a middle finger to corporate agendas...
...when you go to a concert and the band plays a different version of the song, are you excited or disappointed? Similarly, if I go to read a passage from the book I'm promoting but put a new spin on it (somehow, without sacrificing the strength of the rest of the book), would that be enjoyable or just confusing and unappealing?

Throughout all of this speculation, I don't have a fame complex, I can live without ever gaining mass fame. I believe fame is a byproduct of creating meaningful works of art, and not the means to the end. It's the same with money...but the argument against this should be a separate post.
To give an audience what they want is completely acceptable to me. After all, I don't believe the strength of my work would suffer as a result. It's a lesson to learn, how writing is really a social act instead of the private suffering act we're pushed to believe in. But there's nothing wrong with subverting the expected... .



But throughout all the negativity... how this isn't something an author of any merit would undertake, how it's considered juvenile and commercialized in the...

...Well, why overthink it. I should just allow it to mean what I want it to mean. It's just fun and challenging. This was the biggest drop-in I've ever done. It was at the Winnipeg park at the Forks. I was trembling after I did it for the first time, which was on a previous morning and not filmed. It was an overbearing mental boundary that I overcame by myself, as with most problems in my life.

I rolled away clean the first time I did it. This time I rode over the bump in the middle and fell, but it doesn't really matter. In retrospect it's only a stepping stone for me to start skating vert the way I want to - because I did this, now I can drop in on the vert at the Vanderhooft park, and after that the 10-foot vert ramp at the CJ park, and then the 11-foot extension there as well...and that'll be the beginning of a new beginning.

It's an activity I enjoy - not a lifestyle (although I can't stand the way it's portrayed in mainstream media, MSM), not a hobby, not a closet full of skeletons or a cross to bear.

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Everybody needs a hobby."

I always feel depressed and angry whenever the overwhelming feeling of being used happens - even in this website, sometimes it feels like it's just a tool for my thoughts and discussion to be copied/used in order for people to further their own literary ambitions (because so many want to write a bestselling novel strictly to become rich and famous). This is not a statement made from lack of recognition/fame, it's made from the pitfalls I've been exposed to throughout my life. Can you imagine what kind of life it would be just to exist as a forgotten benchmark, never to reap the full benefits of your efforts and morals?

And this relates to the domineering encumbrance I have to try and forget whenever I write - the idea of authority. How writing is nothing more than a method to exert authority over objects, other people, anything. How people just use writing to classify others, to drive them in a corner and prepackage them in method of storytelling to try and appeal to the public's sense of stereotype and therefore sense of control. Gore Vidal was once quoted as saying "I want to destroy younger authors." All the competition and nonstop classification, scrambling to get the upper hand all the time. No wonder a lot of established authors are reclusive - all they wanted is to forge their own path and write the best literature they could, not to be exposed to people clawing at their heels and trying to undermine them, most likely starting from when they were young and continuing to their current age.

This is only one part of the overall stress that I have to fend off every day. But I should make it clear that I'm very well aware this can be seen as expressing my frustrations, which Virginia Woolf would warn against as I've mentioned in the past, or bordering on "singing my distress" as André Breton wrote...
...but it's still necessary. And I know why.