I ask that because a couple of weeks ago, I posted a more abstract chapter I had written. It was simple dialogue between a couple and it was fairly short, maybe a 700 word chapter. I had hoped to get some feedback and it was like crickets. Now, this was not the most abstract piece I have written because it contained dialogue and was very direct. It was obvious in its satirical nature (loss of interpersonal communications) and it was cogently written. There was nothing really confusing about it, yet it got no response on one of the forums to which I regularly post. The reason this makes me curious is that there are posts about 'help me name my character' that get hundreds of replies, yet a post asking for thoughts on this abstractness received nary a response.
I know critics like abstract writing. When you read stuff that contains long stream of consciousness thought trains, it seems critics drool over the work, literature buffs drool over the work, but not so much for readers. In fact, there are some books which receive significant numbers of negative reviews because there are many readers who consider it an attempt to 'prove' intelligence by attempting to confound the readers and challenge them with too many words most of us do not have as part of our vocabulary. And I get that, but to me, to read along as someone strings together a story with such artistic merit is just as much a thing of beauty as any Monet painting.
Now, this is a concept paragraph I write yesterday which has a purpose and I like this as an art form because it says that typical sentence structure does not have to always be followed. Sometimes a story is told better through the stream of consciousness thoughts of a narrator.
The coffee house at which they met also happened to be the very same little coffee house where Livvy worked while she attended PSU part-time studying political science with aspirations to create policies in the future not through her own political campaigns as that was not her thing to be front and center of public purview, rather she hoped to find work as a policy analyst, maybe even spend some time abroad learning the systems which seem to work well and bringing those concepts back to a nation that struggled with many issues in her mind. Livvy worked at this quaint little shop, Java Mama not because she was incapable of working at the larger corporate franchise based out of Seattle, but because she preferred the independent nature and the familial vibe of the store which was at the corner of Twenty-Fourth and Thurman streets virtually at the outer edge of the Pearl; she liked its distance from the campus as the regulars at her store tended to be locally living folk who preferred this coffee shop for similar reasons and were much less haughty about their intellect not feeling the need to attempt to denigrate in a fashion known by ‘pick-up artists’ as giving a ‘neg’ (negative comment) designed to break down slightly the spirit of the object of affection so as to level the playing field, so to speak, and it was this very adolescent game of emotional tag which she would later grow so weary as to stop playing the game by the rules others had laid out choosing instead to simply live in a world unknown to most.
And when I look for thoughts, I get the same old crickets. So, is it just the groups I happen to belong? Or is it that most readers do not care for the type of writing that makes you work for your pleasure. Sometimes I wonder if this is what has happened to literature in general. I call it the "movietization" of literature where we seem to want everything laid out so easy as to not read. We want eye candy rather than brussels sprouts. As a nation, America has grown to scary levels of obesity with a fast food approach to nutrition. Are we headed the same direction intellectually?
If we keep looking for a fast food approach to our literature, I fear that is exactly where we will head.