Forum / A literary manifesto after the end of Literature and Manifestos

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    mxi wodd
    Jul 02, 05:41pm

    "Once upon a time, writers were like gods, and lived in the mountains. They were either destitute hermits or aristocratic lunatics, and they wrote only to communicate with the already dead or the unborn, or for no one at all. They had never heard of the marketplace, they were arcane and antisocial. Though they might have lamented their lives—which were marked by solitude and sadness—they lived and breathed in the sacred realm of Literature. They wrote Drama and Poetry and Philosophy and Tragedy, and each form was more devastating than the last. Their books, when they wrote them, reached their audience posthumously and by the most tortuous of routes. Their thoughts and stories were terrible to look upon, like the bones of animals that had ceased to exist."

    http://www.thewhitereview.org/features/nude-in-your-hot-tub-facing-the-abyss-a-literary-manifesto-after-the-end-of-literature-and-manifestos/

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    Ann Bogle
    Jul 02, 07:15pm

    Y'absolutely, "by the most tortuous of routes." People who write continue to believe it is supposed to be sweetly easy and to lead to social popularity and fame and gratification as complete as life in a hammock on a birdsong summer day, but writers know otherwise, the Dead better than the rest.

    I envisioned a Story filmed about the course that one copy of a book takes, from its compostion to its acceptance for publication to its production to its distribution to its initial sale to its sitting on a shelf or series of shelves to its being read or never read to its being stolen or given away to its being read again or never again to its being read well or misread to its falling to rest in a landfill to its being eaten by dust mites or mold to its donation to a Cause to its sale by a Library to its removal from a library to you tell it. That would be a good film in my opinion: One Copy or One C. could be its title.

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    Sam Rasnake
    Jul 02, 07:18pm

    Excellent. Enjoyed. Thanks for the link, Matt.

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    mxi wodd
    Jul 02, 08:01pm

    Yeah, I thought it was very well-written and thought-provoking.

    Not quite sure what to make of his summation, however...didn't think it was headed in that direction.

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    mxi wodd
    Jul 02, 08:24pm

    I DO like this/though:

    "Don’t be generous and don’t be kind. Ridicule yourself and what you do. Savage art, like the cannibal you are. Remember, only when the thing is dead, picked at by a million years of crows, gnawed at by jackals, spat upon and forgotten, can we discover that last inviolate bit of bone."

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    Darryl Price
    Jul 03, 04:05pm

    This is rather cynical, isn't it? I mean this is what it feels like sometimes, but it can't be the entire picture, just because we live and die, just because everything lives and dies. Besides what are you doing it for? There are still lunatics and mountains. And mountains don't have to be made out of rock, and lunatics don't have to be foaming at the mouth. Beauty can grow anywhere. Just because there's no one around to seee it doesn't mean there's no one around to see it. Look, it feels good, even though it can hurt, to express yourself. All this weeping for things that once were is silly. We can't stop. Everything changes. Us and them. If you need your lunatics to be misunderstood genius losers, then so be it, but it'll never be the truth forever--nothing is.

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    Ann Bogle
    Jul 03, 06:16pm

    I like your comment, Darryl. It is Very Darryl, and we needed a little spot of Darryl just there, inimitable, I also mean.

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    mxi wodd
    Jul 06, 02:14am

    all flowers
    and goo-goo
    goodness all
    the time and
    butterflies
    and I'm good
    n' you're bad
    and good form
    I like the
    voice here
    yes.

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    Sally Houtman
    Jul 06, 06:14am

    I really liked this:

    "Writing must be open on all sides so that the draft of real life—gloomy, farcical life — can pass through it, rifling its pages."

    I kind of saw this as his point, that writing doesn't have to be torturous and literary to be meaningful.

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    Sally Houtman
    Jul 06, 06:43am

    In other words, if you feel you've got to produce a 'masterpiece' in the classical/traditional sense (torturous and literary) you close yourself off to the true essence of the process.

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    Darryl Price
    Jul 06, 05:17pm

    Ooh you're dangerous and bad..and talented as far as I can see. Do you really have to grab a uniform and march it up and down the street like a definition of who you are? I mean Good and Bad? Really? Look, if you must know and by that I mean hear it said out loud, yes writers are a dangerous lot. They think and express, they create and objectify the world and don't always paint a pretty picture. They tell a certain truth, but all art is subjective. You don't know what you'll get from the reader. You can't control the whole ball of wax--and you certainly can't mold the writer into any romantic notion you might have of what he or she means to you. People are more individual than that. So if you want to pretend that you're bad to justify your views go right ahead, but we both know good is only a wavering radioactive needle and bad is only a snickering schoolboy cliche of a defense.

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    Darryl Price
    Jul 06, 06:13pm

    P.S. I don't want to be your enemy. I don't have to be and I refuse the role. I get it. You identify with the poor misunderstood monster.I'm Casper. you're Spooky. Good for you.But I'm more interested in everything/anything else.As far as I'm concerned my part in this discussion is over and ended.

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    mxi wodd
    Jul 07, 03:35am

    Darryl--

    I don't think Sally was referring to you...

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    Sally Houtman
    Jul 07, 03:48am

    It's okay.

    I *am* just a big meanie at heart.

  • Frankie Saxx
    Jul 07, 12:41pm

    I feel like a heathen, but my eyes glazed over somewhere in the middle of that and I'm not sure if we're supposed to be hermits on mountains or if we're allowed to have plasma TVs. I am left thinking it was satire, though.

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    Sam Rasnake
    Jul 07, 01:39pm

    I especially liked the darkness at the end: "Don’t be generous and don’t be kind. Ridicule yourself and what you do. Savage art, like the cannibal you are. Remember, only when the thing is dead, picked at by a million years of crows, gnawed at by jackals, spat upon and forgotten, can we discover that last inviolate bit of bone."

    Absolutely.

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    Sally Houtman
    Jul 07, 08:36pm

    Careful Sam. You could be seen as dangerous and bad...

    like me...

    sniff

    sniff

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    Marcus Speh
    Jul 09, 07:48pm

    I read this today and I'm sorry I did because to me this is intellectual imposture, nicely filtered through English sarcasm and wrapped in a language reminiscent of McSweeney's and a gazillion other hipster sites all designed the same way (down to the font!) all quoting in Kafka and Bernhard and other pre- or post-modern cultural pessimists alongside a bunch of soon-to-be irrelevant (but equally gloomy) authors (Bolaño, Vila-Matas).

    I'm tired of this stuff. It doesn't sound as if Iyer has let himself experience anything deeply. He reminds me of Meursault in Camus' novel "The Stranger" who is a stranger to his own innermost feelings and his humanity and who has to kill what he does not understand to enter in. Iyer has no true voice. Worse, he doubts that anyone can have such a voice in our time or in the future. Well, good riddance I'd say if these pessimists wouldn't insist on being read and listened to (because doomsday makes for great performances, always has) — almost as if they didn't believe their own manifestos. Curious world. For classy modern poeto-optimistic pessimism, I prefer something like W H Auden's outlook in "Age of Anxiety" — at least that is literature that really moves mountains. Or John Gardner: that's true essayistic voice with a bite.

    True subversives put their own life and work on the line, not the life and work of others.

    Truly, the only explanation I have for the fame of Iyer's essay is that he might be right after all — at least with regard for the corner of literature where he and his minions dwell happily watching us with our "demented strutting", dreaming our "dead dreams". What drivel.

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    mxi wodd
    Jul 10, 08:05am

    Strikeanerve?

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    Marcus Speh
    Jul 10, 11:35am

    No. I was just kidding, can't you tell?

    There's no reason to taken anything serious: "Ridicule yourself and what you do." I'm on my way: now I only have to learn to be unkind and stop being generous. My reward: permission to join the other writer-zombies in their quest for "that last inviolate bit of bone".

    Longing for the olden days of sharp satire instead of self-sodden spittle.

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    Gone
    Jul 10, 04:52pm

    "... self-sodden spittle."

    Trumps "...that last inviolate bit of bone."

    When it comes to analysis of normative culture, few people can easily agree on the definition of normal.

    Perhaps because 'normal' is one of those ideograms, a much discussed point on an endless curve. This is why I prefer to write in landscapes and backgrounds of earlier times. When you dabble with contemporary context, everybody has an opinion. Everyone is an expert.

    I don't really understand alt-lit. There. I said it.

    Besides, it's too familiar to be interesting, unless there are car chases. Not enough car chases in alt-lit...

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    Gone
    Jul 10, 04:55pm

    How did I get the word 'normal' out of this thread? I didn't. It just came up as I read the words "... self-sodden spittle."

    I'm sure it's Freudian, if I can dare use the word.

  • Frankie Saxx
    Jul 10, 05:33pm

    "Not enough car chases in alt-lit..."

    That's cause alt-lit would be more like ironic bicycle chases. On fixies.

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    Gone
    Jul 10, 06:46pm

    Now, that is funny.

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    Marcus Speh
    Jul 10, 09:38pm

    What's Alt Lit? Take a load full (without the car chases) in this Paris Review interview with Dennis Cooper, eminence grise of Alt Lit who recently listed Taipei by Tao Lin among other new books (incl. " Thank You For Your Sperm") as one of his picks for 2013:

    http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/6098/the-art-of-fiction-no-213-dennis-cooper

    @matt U R always looking for "dangerous writing" (I saw you were giving Sam R a hard time about it somewhere...) Check out cooper's "The Marbled Swarm" for dangerous 21st century writing in the spirit of Jean Genet and Robert Bresson - and for non-fiction, " The Silence of the animals" by John Gray. Enjoy the summer at the end of literature, folks.

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    mxi wodd
    Jul 11, 01:33am

    I have no interest in "dangerous writing," I just like art that feeds.

    Is possessed of a somethingness.

    I abhor nothingness, no matter how pretty it is.

    Only the Ladies of the Sewing Club (having had their fill of finger-foods and dainties) like their "art" to be pretty nothings.

    The rest of us have to EAT!

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    mxi wodd
    Jul 11, 01:41am

    "no matter how pretty it is."

    ESPECIALLY
    when it's
    "pretty."

    That's an insult to dirt and love.

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    Gone
    Jul 11, 02:32am

    The only thing more confusing than alt-lit is a discussion about alt-lit.

    (Did Marcus just interject a plug for his book under the pretext of responding to this discussion?)

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    mxi wodd
    Jul 11, 02:48am

    Gee! Golly! Ya think?!

    (marfinnecus has NEVER posted to a thread without a link/reference to himself...)

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    mxi wodd
    Jul 11, 02:51am

    (to do otherwise just wouldn't be

    *efficient*...

    you know?)

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    Gone
    Jul 11, 03:03am

    Are we allowed to do ethnic humor? I don't think so. Unless, of course, it's self-deprecating.

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    mxi wodd
    Jul 11, 03:04am

    "we"

    don't

    exist.

    The artist can do whatever he wants.

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    Matthew Robinson
    Jul 11, 04:02am

    tl,dr

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    Sam Rasnake
    Jul 11, 04:18am

    Oh - I get it now. A lesson saved is a lesson learned. After "that last inviolate bit of bone" I will be more confessional. Yes, that will do the trick. Because I did read somewhere - "The artist can do whatever he wants" or maybe that was in a song, I forget. But, it is true.

    Meanwhile, I'm fasting.

  • Frankie Saxx
    Jul 11, 08:47am

    Crime Dawg, are you disparaging the aesthetics of the sewing club ladies?

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    Gone
    Jul 11, 12:16pm

    I don't exist? How convenient.

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    stephen hastings-king
    Jul 11, 07:31pm


    I prefer Yellowism:

    http://www.thisisyellowism.com/

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    Darryl Price
    Jul 11, 10:32pm

    I tend to not like the men who see themselves as gods--especially since they are only men.

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    mxi wodd
    Jul 11, 10:54pm

    Exactly.

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    mxi wodd
    Jul 12, 12:40am

    "I don't exist? How convenient."

    Oh, Johnny, you'll always be real to me...

    ;-)

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