Monday, June 18, 2007

Novel indigestion

Matthew Kneale thinks that writing a novel is like cooking a good meal.

Ah, literary writers and their cozy lifestyle metaphors for the creative process! What are the final revisions before publication – an after-dinner apéritif on the veranda?

From my very limited experience, writing a novel is more like preparing hundreds of kids' lunches every day: your every intention is to make something delicious and varied and nutritious, but through impatience, fatigue, failure of the imagination, or simple lack of time or talent, you end up with some lumpen, over-familiar, and over-compromised mass – jam sandwiches and carrot sticks – that depresses even the person who put it all together, never mind the bright little minds who open it later, full of anticipation, only to be deeply disappointed. (And who probably toss what they can't trade.)


Ross McKie said...

Nat, if you articulate one more leniency toward the secret proletariat dream of Russian formalism in these 'working class' blog entries of yours, I swear I'll, um, well, I'll run over to your house, burn your 'literature' (with you helping, I hope) and force you into collectivism...well, outside the Everyman utopian model of Quill that is... . There's no where to run, folks (?), art (including scribbling) is snobbish; guilt, and its subsequent meanderings on the implicit Marxist approach to art, cannot reduce the flighty enterprise (if you will) to the sameness of that(market)impetus to mass produce, say, a car or two. (cf. Try the review of Delillo's latest in June 28th's issue of NYRB where this tension is addressed more directly.)


nathan said...

вы сказали?