We walked through Freedom Park at sunset yesterday evening. There'd been rain earlier and the grass was wet. We found a tree that had taken a lightening strike yesterday afternoon, but only lost a limb. We found another that had been hit sometime recently and had a great deal of bark stripped away. Back home, we watched Charles Martin Smith's The Snow Walker (2003), based on Farley Mowat's short story, "Walk Well My Brother." I've always had a soft spot for Mowat's work, and the film was quite good. I had a go at Conker: Live and Reloaded, but the game seemed tedious and silly, and I was in the mood for neither platforming nor hungover anthropomorphics and gave up after about forty-five minutes. I believe that I'll stick with Final Fantasy X-2 until I can lay my hands on a copy of Darkwatch.
Part of my brain wants to return to the issues discussed in the recent "This Only Song I Know" entries — accessibility, self-indulgence (sensu stricto and sensu lato), likable characters, the relationship between Reader and Author, and so on and so forth. But another part of me wants to stay clear of all that foolishness entirely. It has so little, I believe, to do with writing. It surely has very little to do with the way that I write. The last two or three weeks, I've been reading the LJs and blogs of a lot of people, some of whom are writers, some of whom would like to be published writers, some of whom are critics, and some of whom aspire to be critics. Stuff I never would have read if I hadn't followed a link back to Gwenda Bond's journal and discovered that someone had misinterpreted my comments regarding Entertainment Weekly as me blaming "consumers" for not buying my books. Since then, I've seen what seems to me many strange comments about writing and literature, things I just can't quite wrap my brain around. For example, readers and writers and various confabulations of the two loudly, proudly proclaiming that they're "middle-brow" readers.
To be fair, I've read some good journals, too, and I've linked to a number of those authors. But, ultimately, for me, none of this has anything to do with writing. I will not become a better writer by obsessing over the informed and not-so-informed opinions of other writers or readers. I will not become a better writer by allowing myself to be distracted. I will be distracted, inevitably, because I'm so easily distracted. But it's better if I at least endeavor to stay focused for the time being. Spending two hours a day responding to accusations of self-indulgence does not get my novels and short stories written, and it doesn't mean that they'll be better written when I last get undistracted again and go back to work. So, I'm trying to sit this out for now. Too much of it seems to come down to the sort of incommensurability that Kuhn wrote about, world-views so opposed that those on one side and those on the other find it almost impossible to communicate. For instance, someone commented that the things I was saying made writing sound more like shamanism than craft, to which I can only respond (as I did in the Bookslut interview last November) that, for me, writing is absolutely a shamanistic act. But — look what I'm doing here. I'm prattling on about not prattling on about writing. And it's past time to make the doughnuts...