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  • hardie karges 10:56 am on July 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: novels,   

    The great American novel 

    is the great American travel book is the great American screenplay is the great American whatever, pretentious in concept, grandiose in scope. There’s no reason to write anything else, really. There’s no reason to do anything in life except contemplate the moment of your death. Everything else is just trivia, facts and figures, characters and plots. I can think of a few plots I’d like to put some of those characters in. They’re all fake, abstractions of abstractions, stories about stories. Not that I didn’t try the same thing myself. I did. I still do. I ran imaginary people through imaginary situations, sending them up trees, throwing rocks at them, then looking for ways to get them down. The only good parts were the digressions, the spontaneous emissions, slips of the tongue, slices of reality in an otherwise bland pound cake. I was just making it all up. There are no good novels anymore, just stories, fabrications coming out of thousands of tiny fantasy factories lining the back streets of New York, London, Paris, Rome, and Berlin, all screaming for your loyalty and your pocketbooks’ attentions. If there has to be some objective measurement of ‘what’s good’, then let it be money. Otherwise we swim in our opinions with no hope of resolution.

  • hardie karges 9:10 am on July 1, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Beat poets, novels,   

    The death of the novel 

    was proclaimed by a few pretentious college students a few decades ago. Strangely enough, they were probably right. Forget the ‘brilliant characterizations’ and all that crap. Every character in every novel not based on actual people is some aspect of the writer himself. Let’s drop the pretense of ‘objectivity’. It doesn’t exist. The only thing we know, if we indeed really even know that, is ourselves, our lives, our perceptions. Esse est percipi. The only real novels are the non-novels, reality bubbling through the filter of consciousness. Nothing really good’s been done since the Beats liberated the ink from the pen. Automatic writing is the best kind. If that’s ‘typing’, then this is word processing. Poetry is an inside joke, and as if it’s not bad enough, that the best modern art has to be explained in words to be appreciated (thank you, Tom Wolfe), then imagine the irony of poets having to hang their words from Christmas trees to be noticed. Forget dangling participles. Modern poetry closes a stanza with a dangling subject and starts the next with its almost-forgotten predicate, and loves every minute of it, almost reveling in the total and deliberate obfuscation of meaning, as if there were something quaint and entirely too old-fashioned about that.

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