Monday, September 11, 2006

Food For Thought

In one of my recent posts I was a little bit snarky about Poets & Writers magazine. However, on further reading I have to say I'm enjoying the most recent issue (the September/October issue).

One article I enjoyed was by Azita Osanloo, who discussed the recent interest in memoirs and autobiographical literature in the publishing world as well as the "pressure to be exotic" driving that interest as well. Should who you are and what you represent be seen as the most important element (and indeed, the most marketable element) of your writing endeavors? Osanloo provides a frank discussion of that idea, and also points out the sort of sensationalistic interest in memoirs as part of her article as well. Maybe the artist really should stay behind the scenes when it comes to literature. Osanloo addresses such issues as writers "selling themselves" as well as the recent scandal involving Kaavya Viswanathan. It's a good article and makes some excellent points as to the nature of literature and the artist.

I also enjoyed an article by Ken Gordon, called "The Posthumous Pickle." It deals with the sticky business of editors publishing famous artists' works posthumously. Maybe it's sort of morbid of me, but I have often thought that if I were to leave a will, I'd want to leave my unpublished works to some responsible, literary friend who would be kind of enough to take an interest in trying to get my finished stories published. However, the article discusses the ethics of publishing pieces that the artist might never have intended being published -- and that does seem a bit sticky. After all, we've all got crazy unfinished works or stories that maybe we finished but knew should never see the light of day. It really made me think about what we might innocently leave behind that we would never want others to see. It really made me think a lot (as well as think about how I'm a packrat with story drafts -- even though it's all digital, I can't bear to throw even the worst stuff away!). Of course this is probably not something I should worry about seeing how nobody's exactly beating down my door to publish my stuff now, but it's interesting food for thought for anybody who has set their sights on a literary career.

Anyway, I thought I'd mention the articles since they're both interesting reading and thought-provoking subjects that some of us would likely enjoy pondering, at the very least.

Thanks for reading and keep on writing,



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