August 25, 2009
A Little Philosophy, but Mostly Art: ( A Conversation. Part 1 of ?)
I want to engage you, my few readers, in a conversation. Joel, you especially are invited.
Leah likes Virginia Woolf. She likes that style of writing, where you're in the head of the person, hearing their thoughts, listening in on intimate observations of insignificant details which add up to some indefinable Big Thing. Woolf gets under your skin, slowly, I think.
I can see where Leah is coming from.
I don't tend to get much from those sorts of authors.
Leah and I were discussing this over coffee this morning.
I am, I'm realizing, much more interested in the external. "What are people doing?," not -"who are they?"
I think you judge a man by what he does, not what he thinks or feels. And so in my fiction I drift toward action and dialogue. Houellebecq, Steinbeck, and Chesterton all write primarily about what people do. I like that.
And I like ideas. I need the writing to be about something.
Bergman said the problem with most film-makers is that they've got nothing to say. I agree. I watched Wendy and Lucy recently. I hated it, even though I understand why the people involved thought it was worth doing. There was no substance, just style. So I was bored.
I need an idea.
So I like action and ideas. I'll take substance over style any day.
How do you guys feel about this? And not just in novels, but in art generally. How does it affect your own creativity?
I'm looking for dialogue, not argument. But I'd like to steer away from "I just feel like..." statements, and steer towards "I feel like _____, because..." statements. Lean towards reason.
If no one bites for a couple days, I won't mind. I promise. Don't respond out of obligation, please.