More a progress note this morning, but a few passing thoughts this weekend I wanted to put down here, just to hang out in the sun to dry.
The mud-pit above? The road home, all snow gone. Another first for February, the snow rarely melts this much until late March. Next ten days? Sun, temps in the forties. Typical for April, not February. Oh well, c’est la vie, right? Hate to resort to cheap allegories, but there you have it, folks.
The pendulum keeps on swinging.
Read a comment over at Lit yesterday, made for the first Predators story, and it relayed something that kind of bothered me. The comment generally praises the story, but ends by saying I ruined the effort by injecting “liberal politics” into key passages.
Has it really come down to that? An author can’t express opinions without running afoul of the PC police? Yet conservatives have been screaming loud and clear about the injustices of the left’s PC police. So, let me get this straight…if the right’s PC police scream “foul” -that’s alright?
And just so I’m clear on the central thesis being made, authors aren’t allowed to have or express opinions in their work? Because doing so will “ruin” their work?
So, let me put this in perspective, my perspective. Which goes back to Thomas Mann, where the whole Adrian Leverkühn thing comes from. Which goes back to graduate school, and ultimately, to my dissertation, which focused on structures of time in Mann’s Doctor Faustus, but also drew on similar constructs in Mann’s Magic Mountain. In both, Mann uses key characters as archetypes, and in The Magic Mountain these characters represent countries in the lead-up to WWI. The action takes place in a tuberculosis sanatorium (sickness, dis-ease), and interaction between patients represents interaction between countries, and conflict is seen as inevitable. Good book, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in ’24, worth a read if you missed it along the way. Doctor Faustus uses a similar system of archetypes, but instead of people representing countries, in Faustus characters represent historical eras. Key eras in Germany’s past. Key moments in a Nietzschean drama that lead inexorably to Germany’s affinity (sorry, Goethe fans) for a certain Viennese house-painter who grabbed power in 1933. A sidebar. Music plays a central role in Faustus; Leverkühn is a composer, and the action follows his development as a composer, leading from simplistic mimicry of baroque forms to Beethoven, then on to the atonal, 12-tone spheres of Arnold Schoenberg (expressionism is decadence, and pre-figures collapse). Mann lived through Weimar, and the excesses of that experiment are never far from his mind.
The point here, and there is one, is simply this. Mark Twain is political. Mann is political. Erica Jong is political. The Valley of the Dolls is political. Peanuts is political – yes, even good ole Charlie Brown and his dog Snoopy – is POLITICAL.
Writing is a political act.
So criticizing a writer for making a political statement is a little like taking offense when a writer draws a breath.
I wonder: can some of us not just grow up a little? Accept that we have differences of opinion and not hate one another for those differences? Can we not learn from one another? Can we not listen to opinions that differ from our own and not freak out? Can we not speak in civil tones when we disagree? Can we not respect another’s right to express an opinion without rebuke?
So, yes, that’s what was on my mind this morning. Sorry. Thanks for reading this far.
Ah yes, The Coffee Cantata.
Up to around 120 pages by late last night. The overlapping plot lines and character intersections are daunting, the action moves from the present to the 70s and points in between with fluid rapidity, and I’m having to resort to charts and graphs to keep all the elements coherent. I’ve never tried anything so complicated, and the effort is as frustrating as it is challenging – like a picture puzzle – with half the pieces white. Images fill-in once in place, or they look right until moved in place, then look wrong and have to be removed.
In other words, this one is taking time. And yes. It’s political.
Song for the day. Remember John Barry? The guy that did all the James Bond scores? Well, he made a few ‘solo’ albums before he passed, and one of them, The Beyondness of Things, has a real gem on it. Called The Heartlands, it’s an introspective meditation – soft and measured – and worth a listen. The entire album is, for that matter…very cinematic, and the man had a way with the language of music.
A few other interesting pieces in the news today, some worth passing along. For those who believe in the educated elite (that includes me), here’s some food for thought:
For those on the left.
For those in need of Prozac.
An interesting twist about the Gorsuch nomination.
And Sen Al Franken’s views on terrorism make for an interesting read.
Trump’s denialism? Read on…
I recall a song, about people sitting on fences all their lives. All they get is a pain in the ass. Anyway, back to the Cantata.
Happy trails, and thanks for dropping by. Aa