And yet there is a degree to which, just as all criticism is in essence Sherlockian, all literature, highbrow or low, from the Aeneid onward, is fan fiction. hat is why Harold Bloom’s notion of the anxiety of influence has always rung hollow to me. Through parody and pastiche, allusion and homage, retelling and reimagining the stories that were told before us and that we have come of age loving—amateurs—we proceed, seeking out the blank places in the map that our favorite writers, in their greatness and negligence, have left for us, hoping to pass on to our own readers—should we be lucky enough to find any—some of the pleasure that we ourselves have taken in the stuff we love: to get in on the game. All novels are sequels; influence is bliss.
Maps & Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
me: i’m gonna write
me: [reads another person’s writing]
me: i’m never writing again
You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.– Jodi Picoult (via sylviaplant)
Friends, do you have any good long reads or books about the modern porn industry? Not interested in anything judgy or moralizing.
The Writers’ Retreat
For the July 20 NY Times Book Review. Thanks to AD Nicholas Blechman and editor Pamela Paul!
It was the voicing of a vain wish, when you got down to it, to escape. To slip, like the Escapist, free of the entangling chain of reality and the straitjacket of physical laws. Harry Houdini had roamed the Palladiums and Hippodromes of the world encumbered by an entire cargo-hold of crates and boxes, stuffed with chains, iron hardware, brightly painted flats and hokum, animated all the while only by this same desire, never fulfilled: truly to escape, if only for one instant; to poke his head through the borders of this world, with its harsh physics, into the mysterious spirit world that lay beyond. The newspaper articles that Joe had read about the upcoming Senate investigation into comic books always cited “escapism” among the litany of injurious consequences of their reading, and dwelled on the pernicious effect, on young minds, of satisfying the desire to escape. As if there could be any more noble or necessary service in life.
There’s the story, then there’s the real story, then there’s the story of how the story came to be told. Then there’s what you leave out of the story. Which is part of the story too.– Maddaddam, Margaret Atwood (via novelwisdom)
The Impossible Trinity of Creativity