September 25, 2008

It stupefies, It sickens, It infuriates

So, what is a writer's job when he puts pen to paper? Phillip Roth said it best in an interview with Paris Review in Fall 1984
The idea is to perceive your invention as a reality that can be understood as a dream. The idea is to turn flesh and blood into literary characters and literary characters; into flesh and blood.
But sometimes, like Roth himself wrote in a 1961 essay, Writing American Fiction, literature falls short.
The American writer in the middle of the twentieth century has his hands full in trying to understand, describe, and then make credible much of American reality. It stupefies, it sickens, it infuriates, and finally it is even a kind of embarrassment to one's meager imagination. The actuality is continually outdoing our talents, and the culture tosses up figures almost daily that are the envy of any novelist.
Indeed! I have lost count of the number of times I have wondered in recent days if some news item was satire from The Onion or real news! Reality makes satire and parody almost redundant. Life itself is a parody, no?

P.S. Sorry... both links in this post are subscription-only articles, which even I have not read. The quotes, which I found elsewhere, are interesting though and so I thought of blogging about them.

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