Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hello again, and please buy my novel because no one else is. Pearls before swine? Or just another piece of cack?

Not posted anything here for a while, and I don’t know why not. There’s no particular reason, it’s just that from scribbling here about once a day, I went to writing nothing at all. It’s not that there is nothing to write about, and it’s not that when I was writing I had anything particularly interesting to say. In fact, in an odd sort of way the satisfaction of periodically posting this blog didn’t come from having got something down on paper (so to speak - quaint phrase that, odd to use it here in the digital age) but in the getting it down. I’m not a writer but a talker. It’s that activity which I enjoy, shallow as it might be. To put it another way, there’s less to me than meets the eye. Why all this? Well, I’ve just been watching a film called I’m Not There, a rather unusual biography of Bob Dylan. I haven’t actually finished it yet, because it is over two hours long and I don’t really want a late night. It is one of those films which, for no obvious reason, holds your interest although you cannot make head of tail of it. We often think that ‘the message’ is the thing, but films such as I’m Not There prove us wrong. You cannot fake engagement. You can lie about it to others, but you can’t lie about it to yourself. If you are engaged but you don’t know why, it doesn’t matter: what is important is that you are engaged. When I visit an art gallery, I walk around it quickly, looking at all the paintings on show, and then I walk around it again more slowly and find that some works hold my attention for longer than others. I don’t know why that should be so, and I’m not going to go off at some bullshit tangent speculating as to why that is so. The only important point is that it is so: some works hold my attention for longer than others. So when it comes to writing, I have nothing to say at all. It is the saying I want to make interesting. That is why I am disappointed by the various reactions to Letters Never Sent (latterly retitled Love: A Fiction and available to buy here or alternatively here) because no one, but no one ‘got it’. What I attempted to do, and what I feel I succeeded in doing, was very straightforward. And because it was (is) my first novel and I didn’t really have the confidence of an experienced writer, I larded it with any number of clues as to what was going on hoping that readers would cotton on. But no one, but no one, ‘got it’, so the inescapable conclusion, at least as far as I'm concerned, is that it isn’t as well written as it might have been. Even the new title - Love: A Fiction - which is intended to work on three levels (three rather simple levels at that - I’m not at all trying to be clever-clever) is a giveaway. Oh well.

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