Philadelphia, PAUSA 19103
May 17, 2012
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I'm a sucker for the "voice in the wilderness" novel. One has to be very careful, when writing in that genre, of being solipsistic. So, it's good to put oneself in the company of writers who're crafting slick detective novels, hard-boiled down to facts, clues and steps. There has to be a "hunt" in an urban wilderness novel. Not just an inward hunt. But a hunt that's drawn into the story's environment. For this, I can learn from science fiction writers too, although my stories occur in the modern city. Forward progress is what I have to master. Moment-to-moment dynamism. Every page-turner has it. I have no trouble turning a sentence, but turning a scene is a problem. So is turning the creative impulse into a fast moving book. Einstein said, "Imagination is more important." But neither my characters nor myself suffer from lack of imagination. The analytical dimension thwarts me. Maybe, my writing is about the war between the rational and irrational minds.
My favorite writers are humorists, not necessarily satirists, who write with a driving beat and a crazy lyricism. Céline. Henry Miller. I love Cervantes and Rabelaise too, though they are men of a different era and their lyricism is larded with too many words. The modern imperative is to go fast. Read fast. Think fast! I read a lot of poets too, for the vulgar and metaphysical fizzes. Baudelaire combined both, but he was a bit static and decadent. Villon stayed on the move as a divinely inspired bad-boy. Neruda remains a touch-stone as metaphysical naturalist. He's more grounded than inert. A numenist. Lately, I've been rereading Shakespeare. He's full of vulgar and metaphysical fizzies. Fools and drunkards. Ghosts and witches. Bedeviled lovers and kings. Camille Paglia, who I read earnestly, said that Shakespeare always tidies things up on the end. If there isn't a happy ending, there is at least justice. So I read Shakespeare for the tailoring.
I've been to a couple of meetings and they were lively. It's a good mix. Nerds. New Agers. Poets and capitalists. Lots of musicians, too, who're looking to cross-over. I'm an older guy, who's happy for anyone who's found their place.