First off, brief mention of an article discussing the new genre of contemporary speculative, “New Wave Fabulists” in the Boston Globe (from Publisher’s Lunch yesterday), mentioning one of the most creative publicity stunts I’ve ever heard of.
"Half Life" author Jackson is currently coordinating the publication of her short story, Skin, [to] be printed via tattoos on 2,095 volunteers, one inked word at a time."
Now that’s dedication.
Anyway, I can’t remember who made the comment where because I roam around a lot perpetually distracted, which we all know the Internet contributes to. But someone made the comment (maybe it was Mir) that what we want is books we like reading multiple times. Books that stand up to multiple readings, that many people will reread and recommend for many years. Those are rare classics, but they should not be the exception, they should be the norm, especially in our industry where God supercedes any and all other considerations. And I’ve pretty much been beating this same horse with varying intensity from the beginning.
The practical problems with this idea are myriad, of course, but tonight I’m encouraged: the sheer volumes of people saying this now are very fun to see. I mean, it used to be just Dave. J
And tell you what, the best part may be that the industry watchers are watching. It can only continue to spread to the general public like a bad virus, infecting everyone with its Glorious Appearing. (Consider that a little promotion to balance my shameless picking on Jerry).
Flannery says, “The fact is that the materials of the fiction writer are the humblest. Fiction is about everything human and we are made out of dust, and if you scorn getting yourself dusty, then you shouldn’t try to write fiction. It’s not a grand enough job for you.” But balance that with this. “A work of art exists without its author from the moment the words are on paper, and the more complete the work, the less important it is who wrote it and why.” And finally, with this. “Today’s audience is one in which religious feeling has become, if not atrophied, at least vaporous and sentimental.”
And I can’t forget Walt Wangerin’s earth-shaking speech at the closing of the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing (do yourself a favor and request it.) The writer’s job is like that of the original Christians, to call meaning out of the void, define the things unspoken, and point the way toward what is greater. Out of the wilderness, we all come, believing that we’ve been called to something higher than this life. And these are weighty responsibilities to consider. Grandiose and even pompous in the eyes of many. But how can we claim less without compromising our very lives and reducing, disrespecting the most expensive sacrifice ever made, a sacrifice made for us? This line of thinking seems destined to be unpopular.
And yet, somehow, it’s catching. And it’s exciting to see. Everyone post your links. Let’s have a group hug.