From now on, I’ll share comments posted by you, dear readers, that have inspired me, in a rubric I’ve generically named “Conversations.” I highly value your insights, and occasionally I’m sure there will be a few that are too valuable to be left buried and forgotten in the comments section, seen by my eyes alone.
It’s not the first time I’ve done this, as you may recall from this post and this little survey. But I hadn’t thought of dedicating an entire category to reader responses.
I envision this to be a weekly post. There may be irregularities, however, should I fail to sufficiently engage my readers. 🙂
In a piece for the New Yorker titled “Laptop U,” Gregory Nagy, a professor of classical Greek literature at Harvard, told Nathan Heller—almost in passing:
I had this real revelation—I’m not saying ‘epiphany,’ because people use that word wrong, because an epiphany should be when a really miraculous superhuman personality appears, so this is just a revelation, not an epiphany.
Something’s wrong with me. For the past few weeks, I can’t seem to write anything; substantial or not. Stories form in my mind as a clear, still image, which means that the best I can get out of my head right now are single, mostly trivial, scenes.
Not good. To create a complete, compelling story, I need at least a vision of an important key-scene.
There’s another thing. What I do right now is worry too much about the end results; what readers or other writers might think when they saw my work. Completely ridiculous, of course, because by doing that I prevent myself from having any work to show in the first place.
A lot of people are probably going to hate me for this, but let’s have at it anyway:
No writer is perfect. Not even James Joyce.
I’ve been struggling to finish Joyce’s “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” for a while now. To be precise, it was the 5th of December, 2012, when my Modernism Professor assigned it as a compulsory read. (I neither finished the course nor obtained a degree in English Literature; I had to get real and find employment.)
It’s not that “Portrait” is extremely difficult, it’s just— incredibly boring. I can never bring myself to care about Stephen Dedalus, let alone what happens to him—there has not been one single event in Joyce’s bildungsroman that triggered my interest to know more. It’s like reading into the life of someone unknown, to whom I have no connection whatsoever.
There’s one other reason I have such a difficult time enjoying the novel: Continue reading →