Sunday, January 01, 2006

Aaron on Writing

I love the New Year. Full of promise, full of hope, and a shot that cries out twenty-four times across the world. That twenty-four-fold ringing in reminds me, for some reason, of perspective. That we all experienced the same thing--a new year--but all had different experiences of it; in fact, we even celebrated it at different times (because there's no one correct viewpoint). And it reminded me, as I made my resolutions (drunken, but still truthful), of just how much I love writing.

Think of it: we all live in the same world, and we all see something different. The goal of writing is not to assert a definite (that's why everything must eventually come down to opinion; even a news piece assumes certain societal facts, e.g., that a murder is wrong). The goal of writing is to allow the reader another viewpoint, a look into someone else's soul. Bias, therefore, is the most essential requirement for original fiction: it is when we lose sight of our internal prejudice that we create the most bland and un-compelling fiction. The homogeneity of writing is a terrible prospect; give me my Wallace, give me my Rushdie, my Auster, my Coover. Let no two writers be the same.

That said, everybody knows that I want to eventually start a "fucking" literary magazine. Not just fiction, but lots of edgy opinion pieces, ones preaching a more aesthetic view of the news and a more original interpretation of the world, rather than just the crusty essay prose that passes for compelling reading today. (Note: there's nothing wrong with Harper's or Atlantic Monthly, but I'd like to see the boundaries pushed also.) I was talking with one of my friends, another Aaron, about The Nation, and we discussed their approach to certain topics: lots of individually slanted pieces espousing the same thing in myriad ways. The only problem with The Nation is that their small sampling of the infinite viewpoints comes entirely from the left. (Granted, there are very few intelligent, edgy, conservative writers, which I think is very telling, but it'd be nice to see them attempt a little panache in their prose.)

Let's stop trying to deny our inner voice, our true writers. Let's conform only enough for people to still get a general impression, and screw them beyond that. There's no write way to right something, and if you udnreastnd waht I'm wirintg (or think you understand), what else really matters? Ultimately, you're the writer: you decide what my words mean, no matter how clearly I delineate them. "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy cow." Pretty clear. But you'll decide how brown or quick the fox is, how high he jumped, and if the cow was just lazy or hung-over. Let's work our minds, let's challenge ourselves: let's write! Happy New Year!