Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Manifesto of Writing

My manifesto: I believe in literature. I'm part of the cult of fanatic madness of reading and writing. I believe words can save people. They saved me. When I was working nights in a railroad yard in the Eighties a young man with no course in life I read the words of giants like Dickens and Hugo and Dumas and Tolstoy and they saved me. I opened books in a tower while waiting for trains and the universe expanded. It multiplied in front of me. The great books expanded my mind.

Other writers are my brothers and sisters, yea, truly. They understand-- some of them understand-- this fanatic creed we've adopted, this cult of reading and writing. Literature is a religion if it reaches down into your soul; if it expresses the soul of life you see around you; if it shapes and explains your world and gives voice to your yearnings, your thoughts, your existence, your meaning.


Jeff Potter said...

...of Writing...AND READING.

Your manifesto is why I always hope that the ULA starts to attract READERS.

A group of readers would be truly independent. No ax to grind. Quality would be their only concern.

The readers of today are being abused at least as badly as the writers. They need to speak up and amplify their voices via the ULA. ...Unless they like being ignored, rolled-over and pandered to.

Jeff Potter said...

We of the ULA are *fans*. Of good writing.

There have to be a lot of such folks out there.

Do writers with the MFA style have FANS?

Huh? Are you nuts?

Oh, OK, a few do. Mostly tea and scones readers...they need their writers, too. To gush over.

I think that we of the ULA are looking for writers that are worthy of having gung-ho fans. And gung-ho enemies, too, why not.

I do think that one way this whole thing can bust loose is when we get the general public activated, the erstwhile readers out there.

What are the writers out there today who could satisfy and motivate readers like they could up until, say, th 1970's?

Just think of a few random stand-up writers. London, Conrad, Dickens, Austen, Melville, Twain, the Russians. Steinbeck and James Jones of the 1950's come to mind. Henry Miller. From the 1970's: Ed Abbey, Brautigan, Tom Robbins even, HS Thompson...the Buk in the 80's...our last vestige?

Why such a steep drop-off? "So many other media choices"? Keep trying!

If the fanbase can be activated...that's the key!

But, really, they're gone. The fanbase would have to be revived from scratch. Sure, some old farts remember being LITERALLY SAVED by reading great books. Can anyone even imagine saying that about work published today outside of the underground? We'd have to re-install even the possibility of a new writer having such an effect.