Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.


Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

(Creating) Political Fictions

BDR has an interesting comment regarding my last post:

How does one confront what's happening in this country, in one's fiction (or in my case poetry) w/o what one's writing being (de)formed by the immediacy of one's anger/fear/foreboding/prophesy?

Head-on, of course, but aware - speaking only for me - that something in the negotiation between message and art has been violently compromised and boundaries have been erased.

And then the reader or critic, with their own anger/fear/foreboding, comes to your fiction ...

He goes on to mention in this post, that the political situation is affecting his poetry--he's writing well. He is--dare I say?--inspired.

These are excellent questions. Questions I evade in my writing outside this blog. My essays and fiction, thus far, operate entirely outside the realm of politics; I struggle even to set them in anything other than an amorphous "present." And while it's convenient to excuse myself by saying I write "domestic" (wince) fiction, the truth is I have zero interest in bringing the political into my work. Is my writing angry and pessimistic? You betcha--A Discerning Eye came back from New York marked Just Too Downer to sell. If one wants to stretch the definition of political, the book was about a woman operating outside society. But nowhere are the Republicans mentioned.

As a citizen of this wayward nation, I have a responsibility to vote, to sign petitions, even to hand over money now and again. But the thing that drives me to write does not encompass the our beyond-fucked-up state of affairs. Other people--like BDR--are moved to write, or make music (Neil Young, anybody? How about them Dixie Chicks?), or paint Guernica. For my part, by the time I sit down with the hope of creating something worthwhile, I am so fed with reading about Iraq, hearing it on NPR, and listening to that blithering idiot in the White House that I don't want anything to do with it. I can't make something blistering and meaningful from it. That doesn't mean I should stop reading the newspapers. But let the others have their political fictions, and gain relief from creating--or reading--them. Not me.


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