Thursday, May 10, 2007

Arbeit macht Langeweile

The people you work with are people you were just thrown together with. You don’t know them, it wasn’t your choice. And yet you spend more time with them then you do your friends or your family, but probably all you’ve got in common is the fact that you walk around on the same bit of carpet for eight hours a day.

(from here.)
I am up to my ears, so please go read DJ "Readin' Skillz" Taylor on the relative absence of work in fiction. (Also read Alex Good on the same subject.)

Taylor writes "that the novelist's real problem is how to dramatise boredom." (Auden saw that reality not an obstacle for a novelist, but rather as part of his solemn duty.)

This is resonating with me, because part of what is keeping me busy at the moment is, well, work, but also trying to finish the polished draft of a novel (see link at right) that features, among other things, many scenes of people at work and in various states of boredom. It's a tricky thing, to depict tedium and frustration and states of unproductive distraction without making the depiction itself tedious, frustrating, and unproductively distracted.

I'm not entirely sure I have always pulled it off.

But at the very, very least, no one in the novel is finding letters in an attic, or struggling with philosophical/ideological/aesthetic questions that were pretty much settled a century ago, or spending 400 wasteful pages seeking out the slimmest margins of middle-class nonconformity, or Zeliging their way through the Great Moments in History.

Which is something.

Or so I keep telling myself.

No comments: