Tuesday, March 24, 2015

March 24, 2015
On a roll tonight, really excited with some of the things I am doing with the newest project. It is true what they say, sometimes reading great writing is the best way to regenerate the creative flow and create some freshness to your ideas.

But this will be a book that is so different for me... kind of looking forward to the process. But this will be a long project, I feel.

While that may be true about reading and writing, I have to say, I read a review of The Goldfinch today. While the book has garnered much critical and commercial acclaim, it is not universally loved as literature. And I think that might be a slightly unfair characterization of the criticism it did receive. those that panned it did not do so due to its lack of artistic merit, but its lack of adult artistic merit.

Some may know this, but I am a bit pretentious in certain aspects as it relates to writing. While not a grammar nazi because I recognize the need to violate 'rules' to create art, I will say that I despise writing that is aimed for the lowest common denominator. By writing to this level, we reduce what is considered acceptable.  With each lowering shelf, we move further and further toward being an illiterate culture devoid of anything resembling art, at least int he written form.

I have long lamented the onset of 'pop' into the world of music. I once said to my younger brother, at a time when this particular artist was still young and somewhat innocent, that Miley Cyrus and those of her ilk are the worst thing to happen to music. It is aimed at the lowest common denominator and by targeting pre-teen girls and inundating the airwaves and album sales with bland made for television pop-suckers, the people who make music move forward have been creatively not just stifled, but completely creatively amputated.

That impact has been lessened by artists using new media to rise above the crap that is saturating our airwaves with new music that continues to challenge us as its audience.

The criticism of The Goldfinch, while maybe seeming unwarranted, does expose that this problem is permeating the writing world in a way that Miley Cyrus and her Disney type cohorts destroyed, albeit somewhat temporarily, the music world. But not to be outdone, we allowed reality crapvision to take over music with 'contests' designed to get stars who would otherwise go unnoticed. And they candy up everything to the point of repulsive sugar coated 'pop rock.'

Well, as I watch adults fawn over their favorite author being J.K. Rowling and Tolkein, it makes me fear the coming destruction just as The Paris Review accused. Look, Rowling changed the way we teach our children to read. Reading became an event. Book releases became an event. And that is a DAMN good thing. I want children to be excited about reading. But those are children's books. Despite all of the revelry surrounding the books, they are written at the level they were target toward - pre teens. To think that adults are still walking around touting Rowling as some demigod amongst writers worries me that writing has jumped the shark.

We need to challenge ourselves and the world. We need to move beyond pre-teen crapola to books that are literally stimulating on a higher level. Yes, there are some themes in the harry Potter series that have value; to twelve year olds. If the lessons hidden inside the words of Harry Potter have not yet been learned by the time you are 25 years old, we have bigger problems to discuss.

There is a world of reading out there and we should never restrain ourselves. Harry Potter books should never pass for adult reading. Every once in a while, I read a pretty cheesy sports article... that takes twenty minutes. But when I sit down to read a book, I hope to God I can find something better.


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