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LITERATURE IS NOT SAFE

My thanks to lilith_333 for that subject line. And my thanks to everyone who commented yesterday; I think I managed to respond to you all. Which is the least I can do, if you take the time to comment. However, I'm tabling these issues for the next couple of days. Or else the deadlines will eat me alive.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,031 words on "One Tree Hill (The World As Cataclysm)." It's shaping up to be a longer than usual story for the digest, possibly, and one written with a more precise than usual language. The added degree of precision, that of the narrator's (or interauthor's) voice, is making it slower to write. But I like where it's going.

In Providence, it's sunny again. The forecast high is only 78˚F. Which I know sounds like heaven to everyone stuck in those parts of the country (and world) getting the worst of what summer and climate change has to offer. But I need genuine summer. Which means three consecutive months of days in the low to mid nineties. This is something I will never get in New England. I know that now. Anyway, I will go to the sea at least once next week. Meanwhile, I write while Spooky moves furniture about and makes trips to the storage unit (these are good things).

Longing,
Aunt Beast

Comments

lilith_333
Jul. 22nd, 2012 11:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you for quoting me in your subject line! (Again, I shall refrain from using emoticons but I am smiling.)

Like I said in the comments to your last post, true literature is not, and SHOULD NOT, be safe. "Safe" is for the censors. "Safe" is for Big Brother and the authorities in "Harrison Bergeron." "Safe" is comfortable - but great literature is not really about comfort. It is about self-examination, empathy, and transcendence. As far back as we can tell, human beings have told each other stories. It seems like that is hard-wired into us. And this telling of stories is more than just talking; there is something terribly profound that we are trying to express that way. I know I am being Jungian here, do we create the stories or do the stories create us?

One of the major reasons I choose to teach literature (and one of the major reasons I left science - I actually have a master's in physics) is because I believe these stories we tell, and continue to tell, are the most important thing in our world.

As James Elroy Flecker wrote,

O friend unseen, unborn, unknown,
Student of our sweet English tongue,
Read out my words at night, alone:
I was a poet, I was young.

Since I can never see your face,
And never shake you by the hand,
I send my soul through time and space
To greet you. You will understand.