I finished reading Stiff last night, and kind of loathed it. Twee, shallow, and full of adolescent giggling: the funny thing is, at one point the author makes a point of talking about distancing behaviors, including inappropriate joking. Ahem. *g*
I figured out something today about why I'm finding the writing I'm doing less immersive and addictive, more an exercise of craft than passion, skill than inspiration. What I'm writing now, in many ways, is less cathartic than what I was writing in 2002. It's often somewhat better than the more cathartic stuff, especially (I think) as its more about storytelling and less about addressing my own kinks (using "kinks" in an artistic rather than sexual sense: i.e., it's more about the narrative and less about the squids these days.)
But that does mean that I'm approaching the storytelling in different ways. What I'm writing now, in other words, is less about me getting naked and hoping somebody finds it interesting, as it is about tricking the reader into getting naked for himself. I'm not just doing it for myself any more.
Which--and this is interesting--doesn't mean any shift in the artistic values behind the work. Or any less commitment to the art. If anything, I'm working harder to get it right, to make it as deep and resonant and layered as possible. I've become very interested in the nuances of character interactions--one of the things that needs a fair amount of work when I start revising "Chatoyant" is this thematic thing about self-acceptance when what one is isn't the sort of thing that society deems acceptable, which is echoed in several characters but needs to be brought to the fore.
But yanno, I have grown tired of angst for its own sake. And I'm no longer quite so addicted to tragedy as I was. In some ways, I think that period--of intense unrealistic emotion and profound tragic angst-- reflected my adolescence as a writer. It's very easy for that to slip into melodrama, after all. And The Drama is sexy. And a bit addictive. In literature as it is in life.
But I think there's a place in fiction for quieter and more complex emotions as well, for layers of piquancy beyond the fanfare of trumpets. (Which is not to say that I ever see a day in which there is no boom in what I write. I am after all rather fond of boom. BOOM!)
The art is about communication, after all. Communication, one hopes, on levels deeper than the obvious.
But also about fun. *g*
I am learning odd things. Like, my version of Eleanor Rigby is eerie (It may be the lack of fiddle), and my version of Leaving on Jet Plane is sardonic, and likewise the version of House of the Rising Sun I'm developing has this Jack Palance rasp.
I kind of like the Jack Palance thing, actually. It's something about the way I'm delivering "and it's been the ruin of many a poor girl and god I know I'm one."
...why do you suppose "The Gambler" is coming out bouncy and upbeat?
"The best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep!" (GET UP AND DANCE EVERYBODY!!!)
(Imagine that last shouted as if by Jello Biafra in "Pull My Strings")
It's an astoundingly upbeat song if you play it in 4/4 *g* Which is all I am capable of right now....
(stwish tells me that the first song he learned to play was "House of the Rising Sun" in Am, which is the version I am learning, so I am declaring it a family tradition. Actually, technically speaking, I can play "Horse With No Name," but I'm not sure that really counts as a song, as it only has two chords and one of them is just plain made up.)
Also, "Eleanor Rigby" kills my wrist. It's all those E minor chords. Only four chords. C, Em, Em7, Em6. (Em6 is a creepy ass chord, by the way. It sounds like shattering glass.) But they require you to crane your wrist around in a hurty manner.
...And I just got to see a sneak preview of Green Man Review's, er, review of Carnival, which is generally positive, although I did not succeed in kicking Mr. Tilendis in the squids this time. *g* I'll link it when it's live, or I have permission to cheat.
ETA: This is officially live Sunday, but I have permission to sneak it here. Carnival review by Robert Tilendis.
And now I shall Eat Something, and take myself to the gym, and Trader Joe's, and then come home and fart about the house. And possibly do some of that Necessary Cleaning.