January 17th, 2005

bear by san

We don't want a bucket of blood; just a cup is all we can use.

So about this Genre Piracy thing.

AFAIK, the term was coined by The Fortean Bureau's Jeremy Tolbert, with not insignificant contributions by FB staff members tanaise and buymeaclue. (And I'm probably forgetting somebody.)

There's a philosophy behind it that I find both charming and useful in its practicality; basically, the idea is to exploit genre conventions (from genres as necessary) rather than allowing one's self to be limited by them.

I think this idea reflects a sensibility that's common among younger writers, and to my mind, a bit reminiscent of the New Wave in Science Fiction--cheerful rapine and exploitation of everything artistic that comes within reach. And it's not just literature that is subject to piracy on the high seas. cpolk talks a lot about appropriation of techniques from painting and cinema, for example. I like white space; she likes line of direction.

I think the genre pirate sensibility is a useful antidote to the mythologizing of writing. We accept that a painter needs to practice, to copy the masters, to develop his own style. There seems to be an idea, though, that writing is all about 'talent,' that it's something one is either good at, or isn't.

I actually think there's some merit in copying the masters, as it were. Not only does it lead to an awareness of which aspects of style are technique, and which voice, but (dirty sekrit) for a new writer, it seems to be easier to sell pastiche--in my theory, because the editors know how to read a good pastiche, whereas they need to learn to read a writer's particular style. (/dirty sekrit)

The writer can use the pastiche to earn Author Points, in other words--where Author Points = the trust the reader has in the writer (which trust has to be earned). (Author points then get spent when the writer wants to do something weird or unusual and needs the reader to hang on through it.)

I'm also reasonably convinced that the Genre Pirate thing relates to Steve Brust's Cool Shit Theory of Literature. Somehow. And also the quote New Pulp unquote.

But I think I'd need visual aids to describe what I mean.

And in other news, happy MLK day.
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bear by san

Vacation means it's time to spam livejournal.

The thing I've owned longest is my crib blanket. These days, it's my shawl, left draped over the back of my writing chair when not in use. It's hideous, about seven feet long and about two and a half feet wide, knitted in a zig-zag pattern of quintessentially '70's melon, winter-white, yellow, and chocolate brown.

No, it's really hideous. Try harder to visualize. Did I mention the yarn is 100% synthetic?

It's not that I have a real sentimental attachment to the thing. It's just that it's indestructible. And it's somewhat odd to realize that in my reality tunnel, there is no world before crib blanket. In the beginning was the blanket... and the blanket will likely be here long after I'm gone.

I do have a sentimental attachment to the patchwork quilt my mother made me, which I haven't had for quite so long. The hand-embroidery is almost worn out in many places. The cloth is threadbare and inexpertly patched. One of my puppies chewed the corner of it. That item is in storage in Connecticut; when I go home I'll reclaim it, and maybe use it as a tapestry. It's knotted rather than quilted, and far too fragile to use as a blanket, anymore. But the red and blue and white gingham crazy-squares are pretty, in a much-loved sort of way. I miss that quilt a lot. It kind of symbolized home to me.

In that same box in storage are two stained, ancient, hand-embroidered linen table runners created by my Hutzul great-grandmother, the one I usually misidentify as a Transylvanian because it's easier than trying to explain exactly where the Hutzul come from. I never met her, but I also have an ankh made of her gold teeth for me by my father. Say what you will about the crazy Ukrainians; their embroidery is as beautiful as their Easter eggs.

I also have two hand-made afghans that were wedding gifts, one a present from mirandamai, the other from Mrs. Connely. I expect I'll have them for the rest of my life. They're both black-and-primary-colors. My personality seems to be pretty well established, now, and beyond the gingham squares or melon-colored zigzags.

There's something about a handmade blanket. Especially when it's the oldest thing you own.
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