Saturday, November 17, 2007

Why I Write

I write to change the culture. I believe in cultural revolution-- in writing as a vehicle to bring about change. Real change. Transformational change. I'm involved with the Underground Literary Alliance in order to change literature. Not just change literature-- transform it, from top to bottom. I believe literature can rescue this society but first we have to rescue literature.

I don't know why others write. They seem to be stuck in holding patterns, believing that if they write long enough something will magically drop from the sky for them. If they just keep writing someone will recognize them. But that's not life. You have to make the world recognize you-- have to grab it.

The time for change is now. Not some ill-defined unspecified never-mentioned time that will never arrive. The time is NOW.

2 comments:

Victor Schwartzman said...

Yes, the time for revolution is now--or, actually, yesterday.

Me, I'm a 'message' writer--I'd like to think that everything I write has something to do with social or economic problems most of us face, and which most of us should be doing something to solve.

Most people don't have a clue why writers "write". Especially underground writers who face a horrible struggle to get their work to other people--it seems so hopeless at times. But a real writer simply has to write. It is part of his or her make up. Frankly, it has zippo to do with whether your writing is good, bad or horrible. You just gotta write, like Gene Kelly just had to dance.

King said...

I'm sure your revolution, Victor, wouldn't look like mine. I'm not a Marxist. I don't look at the world through prescribed binary eyeglasses of "Right" and "Left" imposed upon us by universities and mass media. I'd like to get to the roots of the American revolution.
I've read the words of the Anti-Federalists, who warned that the Constitution was flawed and would lead to a monied class and to monopoly. Their warnings were prophetic.
The Hamiltonian philosophy of hyper-growth has led as well to the destruction of the environment and the rise of American Empire, with foreign wars, the importation of a slave class, and other attendant baggage.
The Federalists represented the monied interests of the time; plantation owners and wealthy banking interests. This corrupted version of America we live within was spawned by them.
The DIY ethos is consistent with the original American vision of a sustainable nation of small farmers, tradesmen, and shopkeepers.
*******************
And this is where we come to the very real divide between ULAers and McSweeneyites. The Eggers Gang is for the most part from the monied class and serve as the voice of literary and artistic monopoly.
Their philosophy is well expressed in Eggers new "2007 Non-Required Reading" collection, in an essay by Lee Klein; a defense of Barry Bonds which is also an apologia for the hyper-growth mentality, and an excuse for cheating and lying. That The Dave included this essay in the book is revealing.
The ULA of course rejects this philosophy, the ideology of greed and corruption, of success at all costs and any cost.
We do believe literature needs a new, honest foundation. One can't build a solid house on a flawed one!
******************
Anyway, I have many things to do and no time for kibitzing, so if you'll excuse me I'll postpone this discussion for another time. Thanks.
(p.s. But Gene Kelly COULD dance.)