Thursday, January 16, 2014

Faculty Meeting and Creationists Threaten Story

Here is yet another way in which the dialectic works in and on story:

Beginning writers become more impatient to see their works published, with the consequence of their spending less time reading the works of other writers.

The potential and actual fallout from this one factor triggers an impoverished sense of what true revision is, how the process works, and how the end result is beneficial to the writer.  An adjunct consequence is the misreading of the editorial process, which in turn produces an even greater conviction within the beginner of a huge conspiracy atmosphere flourishing within most branches of publishing, which leads to the literary equivalent of the tea bagger political vision, which is to say the anarchy of shut down, fueled by resentment.

This leads us to self-publishing.

In the past, some remarkable works have been self-published, notable among then a short story collection once called Mosses from an Old Manse, and in the area of nonfiction, the creditable and informative autobiography of Ulysses S. Grant.

The former title, written by a favored author of yours, Nathaniel Hawthorne, was yanked off the stands by an author who'd begun to fear he'd made an error in judgment.  After a time, he regained his nerve, republished the material again, demonstrating his sense of humor in the new title, Twice Told Tales.

The latter title was brought to the public by a man who'd come to enjoy a wide, often cynical, but knowledgeable awareness of the entire publications process, one Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

Your point here is your lack of brief against shrewd, considered self-publishing ventures undertaken by individuals who know the editorial, distribution, review, and related sales aspects as opposed to those who are unrealistic in their assessment of their ability to deal with all these needs as a self publisher.

One former client, William Hutchings, with a background in publishing, promotion, distribution, and many of the technical aspects of assembling camera-ready print copy, is well beyond his eighth edition of a book that is such a no-brainer than many established publishers and at least one literary agent you know could not see the results.  Hutchings' book, Radio on the Road, is organized in such a way that a tourist, commuter, or truck driver could find any desired type of radio programming at almost any point within the US and Canada, with some overlap into Mexico.

So we begin to see parallel lines again, the language of story, the language of simultaneous directions and distance and sometimes direct opposition, the dialect of drama.  Lack of preparation.  The Sorcerer's Apprentice.  Too impatient to read.  To eager to speak.  Self publishing on that level.  Not reading enough, on that level.

Yet another approach:

Language appears to evolve in some kind of direct relationship to the interactions and causes for interactions between humans.  Tiny example:  We'd never have had those amazing first lines of The Prologue to The Canterbury Tales without two cataclysmic events, The Great Vowel Shift, and The Norman Invasion:


WHAN that Aprille with his shoures soote 1
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich  licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth         
Inspired hath in every holt  and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
And smale fowles maken melodye,
That slepen al the night with open ye,         
(So priketh hem nature in hir corages:
Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmers for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, couthe  in sondry londes;
And specially, from every shires ende         
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The holy blisful martir for to seke,

That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke. 

If that doesn't tell us we've evolved as speakers, nothing does, and as the saying goes, we've come a long way, Baby.

You can barely keep abreast of it with the need to read.  While doing so, you learn by observation which words have morphed into new meanings or complete obscurity.  You learn by observation how the ones you admire accomplished what you admire and how the ones you do not admire let the hooked fish wriggle off the line with perhaps one -ly adverb too many, one aside or authorial intervention too many, one speed bump too many, throwing us out of the story.

From this all, as you assured the dean after a faculty meeting where he asked a few cogent questions, you saw a course tracking the evolution of narrative, from way back then, when Chaucer wrote a humorous poem to an imaginary scribe, then wrote himself into The Canterbury Tales,  only to be booted out because, "Thy drasty rhyme is not worth a toord," to the splendid ways such writers at Kate Atkinson and Dennis Lehane and Louise Erdrich bewitch us with their dialogue.

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