So I am doing NaNoWriMo. I am going well. I am writing in a non-linear fashion, which may be against the rules apparently. But, meh.
I will start posting chapters once they are finished and once I have the next five-in-a-row done to ensure continuity. The only goal is write 50000 words. I am writing short chapters of 2000 to 2500 words. At the moment I am starting around two or three chapters a day as I come up with new ideas for the plot and whatnot. One chapter, the first, is finished.
The novel is called The Hoon. It is romance-action story set in the early 1980s of Australia. It is focused around a family that owns a tow truck and fast response mechanical business.
It is good self-therapy.
Because I fear the judgment of the literati? It is a fear that plagues all of us – the horrifying moment we run into an ex-lover carrying a copy of a tabloid newspaper or magazine: the intellectual equivalent of stained pyjama pants and askew hair.
Ahhh, yes, the fear of judgement: Used by pathetic bourgeois assholes to legitimate their narcissisms. Marieke Hardy hints at the real problem with literature in that very few people care. This is the fear of judgement of judgement. The spectre of commodified pulp haunts every judgement of ‘good writing’. Hardy quotes some bloke:
As he writes on his blog, so beautifully: “Words are your birthright. Unlike music, painting, dance and raffia work, you don’t have to be taught any part of language or buy any equipment to use it. Don’t be afraid of it, don’t believe it belongs to anyone else, don’t let anyone bully you into believing that there are rules and secrets of grammar and verbal deployment that you are not privy to. Don’t be humiliated by dinosaurs into thinking yourself inferior because you can’t spell broccoli or moccasins. Just let the words fly from your lips and your pen.”
You don’t have to be taught any part of language? Bullshit. Buy any equipment to use it? Nice tweet, bourgie peanut. So it may have a ‘beautiful’ liberal humanist sentiment, if you believe such crap, but the writing is cliched derivative shit that has been said many times by every single boosterist of so-called ‘new media’. Here is my version: Don’t just write something. Because ‘just write something’ is the literary equivalent of the fucking Nike slogan.
Instead, Hardy should have been critical, or at least a realist, and call it how it is. Most writing on the internet is deplorable. All it allows you to do is follow your own interests as a reader. Therefore, it is not the beauty that can be expressed through writing that should be championed (ala that unintentionally neo-Kantian peanut she quoted), but the accessibility (of whatever) that is liberating. Hence, the contradiction. Hardy wants to democratise the judgemental conservative impulse of literature, but she valorises the medium of mediocrity instead.
One of my favourite authors evah, Max Barry, is pissed off at Warner Bros and the MPAA.
He is threatening to strike the pay-the-MPAA clauses out of his next book-into-movie-deal contract.
I suggest we all write wildly successful novels that get picked up by studios so we can join in on the protest.
Gregory Day’s The Patron Saint of Eels is a work of magical realism written as a modern fable that produces a problematic of migration and change. See reviews from The Age and transcript of a discussion with the author.
The narrator, Noel, and the rest of the rural town of Mangowak, wake one morning after heavy rain to find the ditches around the roads of the town full of eels that had been caugfht up in the overflow of the nearby lake and swamp. The plight of the displaced eels is resolved by Fra Ionio, a 300 year old monk, the Patron Saint of Eels. Ionio calms the eels down so they can return to their habit at the bottom of the lake.
The eels and Ionio capture the dynamic of forced displacement mirroring the displacement of the ‘old’ town by ‘seachange’ urban-rural migrants and tourists, and the uncanny experience of the ageing process as one is displaced from the life of one’s younger self.
Day’s antidote to this uncanny sensation of being displaced as the world and one’s self changes is to recognise the magic of the world. Not the extraordinary magic of the supernatural, but the extraodinary produced in the ordinary, the magic of the everyday and the overlooked dimension of the familar world.