Barking Kitten

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

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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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