Thursday, March 08, 2007

Who's up for a post about writing?

Yesterday I told a kid to quit!

I hadn't read any of his writing. But in the brief chat, he outlined a whole lot of things that are awful, starting off by admitting that he says things he doesn't mean for the sake of saying things. And then moving on to say stuff, probably vaguely informed by philosophy, about "text" and whatnot and how the only thing we as humans have is language to recognize each other and - I don't know, it's pretty easy to tune someone out once they admit that they say things for the sake of saying them.

His philosophy was, essentially, the opposite of that found in that writing class at Evergreen that I had. But I'm sure it was informed by stuff he'd heard in another writing class, I think one taught by a guy I don't like because of my experiences with him in another program. Anyway, the other philosophy is that writing is all about truth-telling. Objective truth-telling, and that by editing that's what you get at. My argument against that was that fiction was lies and subjective and that's not really a bad thing.

Basically I would say that people write about their thoughts, which is informed by both subjective and objective thoughts, for the sake of communicating empathy with other people. And when I say write about their thoughts, I mean communicate or make art etc.

But why I'm writing this is because it makes sense that the other positions would be found in academia, by writing types who aren't really that successful. Because their stances are really isolating and insulating, from criticism. Both exist so that saying "I don't like it" isn't really valid, because it's beside the point. Saying "I don't like it" to reportage of the truth doesn't matter. Saying "I don't like it" to someone who doesn't really care about what they're saying doesn't really harm them.

But "I don't like it" is a pretty valid response to art, or people.

Not to make too big a deal out of this, basically my "I don't like it" or "You should quit writing" lines are the type of thing designed for the sake of being unpretentious, not really grand statements, so much as they are the type of thing that could and would be said by a sarcastic talking dog. Which I think is basically how the things I say should be taken. I quote cartoon characters more often than I quote philosophers.

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