Feb 192009

So, I know that I have not been keeping up with this here blog. Mostly that is because I am in the middle of writing a book, but I can’t say that excuse holds much water with me. After all, I will often recharge my mental batteries by surfing the net or mindlessly browsing Facebook. I could have been using that time to read something else or reflect on what I have been reading. Recently, I have resolved to opt out of the ADD techno culture that is causing the human race to rapidly devolve into giant butts with opposable thumbs; instead, opting into the use of my privileged situation and technology to think, create, and participate.

While I am up on my little soap box, allow me to take myself down a peg. In a recent seminar, one of my mentors started to mock a literary review that attacked a book we were reading. Mid rant, he pointed to a comment by the reviewer, identifying it as a ‘big ass cliché.’ I must confess this observation was a humiliating epiphany for me. When writing fiction, I go out of my way to avoid hackneyed phrases, vary my syntax, and generally pay attention to language*. But when writing analytically, I tend to stay so focused on getting my point across, without sounding like a complete moron, that I will often use a line from my standard toolbox of lines – this toolbox is well populated with clichés – to get my point across and call it a day. This cannot continue. Either one writes as best they can whenever they are writing or they do not.

Of course, all of that is well and good, but I have a self imposed quota that, as of late, has not been met. I am going to try to write about at least one book every two weeks. I cannot expect myself to produce brilliant, penetrating posts every time. But, I can set out to try to pay more attention to what I am saying and how it sounds no matter what the mode of writing might be. As my coursework winds down, I do not see much occasion for me to be writing academic essays in the future. Scholarly, critical work holds very little appeal to me. However, many of my favorite writers have produced some marvelous essays that cause academics to wince, wiggle, and opine; the reason that I find that work, essays produced by artists for artists, so interesting is that it often breaks the unspoken stuffy rules of academic discourse. In short – you can show your ass. I very much like the idea of writing about things on my terms, for my edification, clarification, amusement and/or pleasure. I just want to write them well.

Hopefully, the more I write the closer I will come to achieving my goals. After all, those of us not graced with genius must resign ourselves to working that much harder to articulate our ideas.

*Yes, I am aware that I tend to nearly always use three items in a list. Baby steps people.