Archives mensuelles : mai 2012

The Map And The Territory

The writer within tells this tale as if, being stuck in a mechanism, his only escape is through creating some truth he seeks, then, pressuring his listener into a condition of being convinced. His writing seeks redemption.

The main character, Jed, is written in chaos. As if being held hostage by the author and forced into revelation regarding his life.

Par. 1, p. 27 – Jed prefers contemporary artists to the masters. His goal for his entire scope of work was to offer description of the world, his idea of the world though constantly changing. He is written from some point in time within his life, viewing the entire picture of his life, without the author’s declaration of sequence… (par. 3, p. 26), it becomes all about time.

The story is told as if the writer/painter is able to move through time – as if he is evading the reader – running evasive maneuvers within his story using time as his storyteller’s mechanism. He writes as if painting a depiction of a life ‘accompli’ with the point of origin beginning at the point the reader currently reads. Barring the occasional, if passing, acknowledgement of advances through technology, the story does not make obvious its era. The result portrays time as a confusion of corridors in the storyteller’s repertoire. The first 85 pages devoted to ‘flashback’ – Jed, as already a succesful painter, painting a commissioned work. Jed, as a time traveler, reminiscing the meaning in his life, which lead him to this day. Jed, then, as a depressed creative, finding successful markets for his work, despite himself – he accuses his performance into existence.

Words for review:

gallerist – a livelihood involving the artistic display

vernissage – a « soiree » (p. 125); the opening day for an art exhibit

a fortiori – to give (giving) more reason

(I learned something)

The epitome of arrogant narcissism, Jed is written as the lusty, pompous, agonized creative success, the author taunts his story. He writes through memories from a position of judgment and accusal.

Horrific, this book is a torture mechanism devised to prune the reader’s intellect.

A gruesome method, this tale leaves the victimized reader to escape the trap created by his mechanized writing, to dissociate from this ‘house of horrors’ invented inside the writer’s conscience.

I didn’t like the book.

P. 261 (prayer-fully, the end is nigh) … « artistic egocentrism »

He gives an uncharacteristically brief assessment of the ‘typical’ display of such an ego in Jed’s self-centered query, as he wonders aloud if his work has had impact.

The ending is anti-climactic, both wordy and modest in its abundance.

It’s a tribute to the depths of despair, where criminally inept meets socially indifferent in search of … art, and finding only classic literary irony as a cultural stereotype.


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« Virginia Woolf »

She does not have God. She does not know God.

I read the biographical novel, as told through the eyes of Alexandra Harris. My first biography.

God is the ever-present mortar creating sense through thought distortion. The necessary ingredient for an artist to make sense from delusion. (Feel free to quote me.)

Virginia Woolf was not grounded. She had no one to orient her life, never having recovered from her mother’s death, she was 13 year’s old.

P.16 – The young Virginia respected her father’s « free-thinking intellectual integrity that made him speak out as an atheist. »

I continue reading despite my horror at the waste of her talent. Her work parallels my own; meager formal education, she was an essayist, a reader who writes reviews. We separate ways where she becomes a feminist with a writer’s complex. She is exceptionally talented (for a woman in a man’s world). She is ahead of her time, yet unwilling to sacrifice any of her intellect for pursuit of a faith.

Still I’m reading. In some ways the comparison and the likenesses between our empassioned literary reasoning, (her’s with more of a voice, mine with more of an ear), makes her life difficult for me to ignore.

The year 1911, living as the only female occupant, the landlady, in a « respectable middle-class » time (p.47). She lived a questionably unconventional life, almost as if enticing others to wonder about her morals. This says to me that she was craving attention as removed and unconventional, rather than crazy or sick.

She suffers breakdowns in which she attempts death. She falls into despair and is hospitalized. She writes. The cycle of her life.

There are 46 illustrations accounted for in this account of a life’s history. Many are photos of Virginia. She looks mostly distracted, uninvolved, distant.

I’ve only read one book authored by Virginia Woolf (so far). In it, I get the feeling she’s written a statement, firm and direct, that her style, her talent as a writer, having been questioned one too many times, needs justification and proof. She provides it soundly.

A life inspired by Greek Tragedy.

P.57 – « It is the glimpse of clarity towards which all Woolf’s novels strive. »

Born into a home, a family, which respected art. A home-full of writers, artists, art and work. Though she has no trouble keeping her individual voice (her terrific confidence evident in her writing), she caved to illness by willful disinterest toward enforceable psycho-medical interference.

This biographer/author conceives that all of Mrs. Woolf’s novels are written towards seeking clarity… I read her work, instead, as a statement to sanity. She has lucid moments.

To be without God, is to be unreachable, and she denies God.

Her philosophy for her writing was abstract. Her words profound, and simultaneously debilitating, « …there is no Shakespeare, there is no Beethoven » … she denies there is God (p.98). She claims victorious over all art « we are the words, we are the music, » we are all that exists.

She was despondent.

Ch.7 – A Writer’s Holiday.

With the appearance of the book « Orlando, » this biographer reiterates Mrs. Woolf’s range of talent but only mentioning it as being a « departure » from her previous works. Again, her belief being that part of Mrs. Woolf’s « appeal is her tremendous variety » (p.99), yet this chapter being dedicated to a « holiday » from the writer’s intention. Specifically, she notes that, as with « Night and Day », the tone was different from all her previous works. This seems to me an indication of irrational whimsy. Flighty speculation, which caused some of those who followed her work to wonder if this book was a « prank ».

This biographer provides specifics, references to facts known. I’ve never read a factual account of a life, a biography. This is the first, as I said. They seem jaded. Interesting, but dry. This biographical work, though well-written, would have been better if it had a more focused path. It gave this reader the impression that opinion was the purpose for the endeavor. It makes me wonder what Virginia would have thought – having a well-educated, writer, historian, documenting her life with factual opinion.

This book leaves me questioning whether the biographer is a reader, or an educated professional seeking publicity. In my opinion, a true reader, reads as the writer in an attempt not only to understand, but to know the author through their work. Perhaps the difference between a reader, a writer, and a biographer… one who seeks, one who professes, and one who decides.

« Night and Day » from the description provided by this biographer was written while she was under observation, post-attempt at suicide. She being allowed only one hour per day to write. The biographer notes that this style, form and content is a departure for Mrs. Woolf, and that the belief is that the book deals with the question of « how to live » (p.57), then she goes on to describe attributes of the book.

I would believe, more to the point, that, if this book was so very « contained » and not like the rest (« not a tragedy, but a comedy » – p.56), it may have been designed as more of a statement. Perhaps pointing to resignation since she was being watched. Not « how to live » but « is this life. » I’ve never read the book. The next V. Woolf book I will seek out will be « The Waves. »

Where this book’s author feels that Virginia Woolf’s writing « was a counter to transcience » (p.16), creating permanence for her work (« if you wrote something down, you could make it stay put » – again, p.16), I am more inclined to think her work was written medication. She was a true authoress, a writer, not a scholar… and she was partially insane.

So begins my adventure into the writings of Virginia Woolf.

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Classé dans Biographies, Writing

The Help (a novel)

The premise of this book answers to the dilemma of civilization, which is one that is all too complicated to accomplish without some form of acceptance of all that is, along with a devout dedication to understanding, no matter what the barrier may be.

Characters aside (and there are many), the details come across as a series of very touchy subjects:

– civil rights in the deep south,

– children raised by caregivers, not parents,

– women in the workplace rather than volunteerism (or not);

– unhealthy white attitudes of distinction leading to degradation of family values,

– etc.

It’s a funny book, written in a light-hearted, flippant manner… which is good, except that I was then not prepared for the introduction of the classic and devastating blows delivered through hatred. I felt the author was writing from an ‘idea’ of health and healing, reaching toward a place for personal wellness. For me, though, I felt heartsick on occasion, and that the writing was sugar-coating the issues for dramatic-effect and Hollywood attraction.

Still, it was a worthy-read.

I found it interesting that the author provided levity in the character of Celia Foote. She being the sore thumb of the project, the town floozy in pink sequins. She gives the reader relief from the sympathetic guilt of involvement. Celia is the nod to the little white girl’s dream of the enchanted life. The Cinderella, relieved of burden by the much-sought prince. She delivers the message of moral, that this story is the same. Although the fairy tale may exist, the ugly step-sisters continue to ruin your day.

Skeeter (I woulda stuck with Eugenia, myself), is the other questionably moralistic primary character. She wrote the book on integration, and also on self-control. She seems the guilty conscience of this book’s theoretical viewpoint.

Page 325, « …a special round of applause for the help. » Words that resounded, « help » apparently meaning service, not assistance, at least in this instance.

Help, is the question, not a good answer. Help provides support to the needy, indifference to the wicked. (You should learn something from a book.)

Happy reading!

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Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

Written as a legend, I read this story describing lives interwoven and driven to betterment in better conditions in a better place than this.

The author writes as if she is standing in the space between cultural and educational oppression, and the place from within a life that drives us to succeed or to find ambition. This was written from the point of view of the better life a life could seek, a literal point of view, as if she may be standing in the center watching lives as they might change should opportunity be made an option.

Not realizing the significance of difference within cultures, and more to the point, the culture which this book seems to seek to illuminate, I read this with difficulty. Not difficulty in finding the story, but difficulty in depicting relevant images in my head. One description in which, what I would describe as a main character, Aziz returning to his homeland, drove this concept home for me. He returns after five difficult years, and a treacherous journey, to his family, his wife and aging mother. This characterization for me, would involve overwhelming warmth and thankfulness, and this would be easily written and read if I had been able to picture the nuance of these interpersonal signals. The strangeness was obvious in this one scene, since I could feel the author’s suggestion, but could not grasp the visual sensation at all.

This lead me to an awakening of my own, though I have no ability to draw the emotion which springs from this culture’s adversity, we all suffer similar and basic conditions in this life, as lived on this Earth…

– money

– desire or restraint

– acceptance of a faith, guidance, or direction

– art (the creativity allowed by God)

It was a good book. A quick read. A delicate understanding.

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Classé dans Books