Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Literary rantings

I decided that I need to have more adventures to write about. Lately I've been staying at home, editing my ass off and off this manuscript in an attempt to prepare, in the scenario that amazon doesn't want to publish my book, for agent hunting. But the long hours leave me with little inspiration and every day when I turn my attention to this blog, I find that I have no desire to write about the succession of repetitiveness.

Which is why, when a friend asked me to go to a book reading with her at the local (massive) bookstore, I jumped at the chance. Not exactly an adventure, I suppose, but a book reading! Visions of smartly clad New Yorkers milling about with cocktail napkins dance before one's eyes.

Alas. Wrong city. Wrong country. Wrong universe.

I've always had an issue with literature and more broadly the arts in this country. Say what you will about the New York Times review, the literati of south-of-the-border and their snobbery. At least it is a snobbery born of the pursuit of the best: pursuit of the best, the boldest, the bravest. Here, the arts are not put upon so much by critics and journalists as they are by the government. Endless government grants. And not for the first time I have noticed that this makes if not for mediocrity than certainly at least for towing the line of the government's agenda.

And what is that agenda? It is difficult to pinpoint other than that feeling I got as a child when I was home from school, feeling ill. That cobwebbiness of the brain that one from listening to CBC talk radio all day. Poems and stories on topics that perhaps 40 years ago would have been considered edgy, even dangerous. Now are all old, left behind by every artist outside these borders. It's the same feeling I got when I saw Margaret Atwood about a decade ago in Ottawa and she gave a talk about some feminist ideas that were about three generations gone.

This is a horribly negative opinion, as most of mine are. Is it too much to expect to be dazzled by life? Or is this all just negativity, jealousy for the fact that these horrible writers are not only published but talk about their breakfast bars and magazine subscriptions. All on the government's dime. What I wouldn't give for such abundance. So take of my opinion what you will. Thankfully when I came home I saw George Saunders on Charlie Rose. Perhaps not cutting edge, but at least it was much more my speed.