Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wiping Out My Past and Reading Short Stories

A couple things.

One. I overreact. It's really tempting to go back and delete my last post, you know, the one where I went on and on about charity, the homeless, and karma and all that. It's rough because I have a tendency to feel embarrassed moments after I've expressed any sort of emotion. I think it's the tough chick, pioneer stock in me. My female ancestors were all Victorian ladies--passionate, but easily shamed by their passion.

The reason I don't want to delete it, is because it represents a moment in time--something that was important enough to get me to write about. Do I really want to wipe out my past just because I've changed or cooled down since that moment? I'm not really planning on becoming a politician, EVER, and I don't think anything I've ever written could be used to illustrate I have a horrible character, unless you count bashing the books of Zadie Smith as pure evil or something.

About that. I've officially changed my stance on harshly critical reviews. The last one I did was on The Historian and I posted it on my Goodreads site. I've joined the Nick Hornby and C.S. Lewis camp on that. It shows a smallness of character, doesn't it, to validate yourself by ripping apart the creative works of others? At least in writing. In person I'm perfectly ok to tell you why I detest certain works.

Anyway, I guess my point is, that I always have second thoughts about every post. I have an immense fear of being misunderstood, and since it's impossible to explain everything and address every facet of every argument or subject, I get a little crippled once I've put something up, and I know I didn't cover my bases. I want to take it down. My head swims with doubts. It's a sign of weakness to have emotions...some insecure part of me thinks.

When I was eighteen, I was a lot more certain I knew everything and had no reservations about plastering someone with my arguments and opinions. But to destroy previous posts is complicated. I no longer have my very first diary/journal that I began writing when I was seven or eight because I ripped all the entries out a year later. Too embarrassed about who I had been, and not prescient enough to know at the time that I would want those when I was older.

Second. I've been reading the short stories of Orson Scott Card. It's a good exercise to see how a writer who's been around so long handles drama and character. I read a lot of his stories in junior high and high school, when I read everything my parents and hometown library had, excluding the Homecoming series. See, I'm a huge fan of OSC, but a good fan knows that you're not required to love everything your hero produces. Otherwise you're just a moron. You've got to question things and determine for yourself if it's good or not.

Reading his short stories makes me feel two things. One: "Wow. I can write better short stories." Two: "these are TOO good. The ideas are mind-altering. I suck. I should just give up now. The only solution is to destroy this stuff because it's TOO good."

No one should want to destroy him or herself because a work of art is that good. I'm probably the only one who experiences such an absurdly broad spectrum of emotions over works of art. I hope I'm not, though. But isn't this a subject covered in some literature? It's been a long time since I read The Fountainhead, er, the half that I read (I was in college; this happened a lot--I'd start a book and love it and then school would overwhelm me and I'd have to stop reading for pleasure). But isn't that part of the motivation for destroying the statue? Because it's perfect and it will stir up the people to gaze on such beauty?

I'm probably wrong about that, and tomorrow or in two weeks after I re-read the Fountainhead to torture myself, I will want to take this post down. Guess we'll see.

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