Critic’s Perspective

I was thinking about how one of the ways I use this journal is to get a critic’s perspective on my own work. If I see trends or themes emerging, I can start to move toward them or away from them. If I get too involved in it, though, I start to delve into metafiction, which a lot of people see as a bygone phase. However, I think to a certain extent it’s inherent in the written word. Other art forms don’t have that. Movies and plays are almost entirely voyeuristic. Life is just happening in front of you. With literature, someone has to have written it, and the author has to decide: do I want to be upfront about the fact that I wrote this, or do I want to put up a pretense that someone else wrote it? Or do I want to play with that uncertainty?

Sometimes I think the critic’s perspective is none of my business. But then I start writing stuff that nobody understands at all, including myself. Or I’m just transcribing sex fantasies.

BWC Notes, Metafiction

I’ve been taking a writing workshop and showing them pieces of BWC as I rewrite it as an independent piece. Next week is the last class for the semester, and they’ll be reading some sections near the end. My guess is that they won’t get what I’m trying to do.

Although it’s been a comically long time since I utilized this journal in any way, I figured this would be the place to clarify, for my own purposes, just what that is. I’ve held back from explaining it in class so far for two reasons: (1) it might give away too much too soon and (2) it will probably sound incredibly pompous. Nevertheless, here goes…

I don’t think there’s anything experimental about metafiction at this point. There’s not much more it can say about itself and the nature of narrative. But it is now, in my opinion, an established tradition, which can be used for whatever purposes an author sees fit.

Within that tradition, there’s an idea of the author or artist as a kind of god-like figure. One of the things I’m trying to do in this piece is have a character, Thom, who believes in that rather literally – that he is a character in a book, and that his every thought and motion is subject to the whim of some author, and he carries a deep resentment about that. Maybe he thinks that BWC is somehow that author. I’m not quite there yet.

The point, though, is that I’m not trying to use this technique to say anything about the nature of narrative, at least not anything particularly new. Instead, I’m hoping to use that established tradition as a foundation for making a statement about the nature of God. Because to me, that’s what all art is about at its core.

With BWC, we have a counterpoint to Thom – an artist in a state of spiritual crisis, which is solved through meeting Jennie Mae and thus shedding that layer of solipsism that isolated him. Through Jennie Mae, he is able to become an active member of the human race and to become the artist that before was only an insular fantasy, one of a thousand possible worlds, none of which were reality.