Thursday, May 6, 2010

Irony, Guacamole, and Santa Ana Winds

Irony, Guacamole, and Santa Ana Winds

Why I Don't Like Genre

“Carson doesn't have much faith in the notion of genre, or at least she pays very little fidelity to it, “I'm not sure if that's fair to the reader, but I just really have no idea what I'm writing most of the time,” she says, claiming, “I still feel most at home making things into blocks of prose”; “there are all these kinds of fun available in poetic forms, and I experiment with them from time to time, but I never feel very adept at any of that.” ”

by Craig Morgan Teicher

Let me start off by saying, I have never read, or even heard of Anne Carson. I found an article about her new book “Nox” in last week’s Publishers Weekly Newsletter still bolded in my inbox. Without knowing anything else about her, I instantly liked her. I don’t like the notion of genre too much either. Like Carson, I feel most comfortable writing in blocks of prose, although my blocks tend to be paragraphs forming a short story. I am stalled, and sometimes intimated by the rules and formats of more structured styles. My problem with genre is that I often don’t know what I am writing—again, something I share with Ms. Carson. I don’t know what my story is going to be, and I don’t want to force it to be anything, it’s not a boyfriend after all…I kid, I kid.

I don’t like favorites either. I like a lot of things, and often it depends on my mood. When I am writing, I like quiet and solitude. I feel least alone when I am alone writing—oh the irony. I lied, I do have some favorites, and irony is one of them, so are guacamole and Santa Ana winds. In the most crowded of places I feel alone. Which makes me wonder…what does it mean to be lonely? (I’m not going to answer that right now.) Genre is in the business of defining things. As I writer, I am in the business of describing them—I think there is a conflict here. My problem with genre is most likely somehow tied to my issues with authority.

Carson's book comes in the form a xeroxed copy of her journal. It is filled with photos and old postcards, as well as her prose and her translations from the Roman poet Catullus. According to the article it is billed as a book of poetry but the author herself refers to it as an epitaph, and it is also described as an accordion. I am more drawn to it now that it lacks definition. I can not wait to open the box this story is packaged in. And isn't that what genre essentially is, a box in which the story comes. I don't like to be put in a box, I don't think anybody does. And I especially don't like to put my stories in them.

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