Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The DIY Mindset

All readers should keep in mind that as a writer I'm from a Do-It-Yourself, individualistic ethos, which is a radically different way of viewing the process of literature from that of the literary bureaucracies. They seek to capture and enclose the art. DIY seeks to free it. Only when the bureaucracies are toppled will literature become once again a vital cultural force.

The issue, for the apparatchiks, is one of control. This is behind the impetus toward the professionalization of literature through certifications and university writing programs.

Yet literature should remain the most democratic art, open to and practiced by everybody. No barriers. No elitism. No certifications. No badges. No "one way" or approved way of creativity-- particularly as their way, the apparatus way, has shown itself to be a failed way. No mandarins regulating our words, keeping thought and passion in line.
The reason the ULA broke apart was that we were all staunch individualists, unable to harness ourselves to go in one direction, except temporarily.


King Wenclas said...

The question arises: Was a recent topic of discussion here, David Foster Wallace, the product of a writing program?
If he wasn't, he should've been. His writing gives the system what it wants. You want observed detail? You got it, in spades. More than you could ever want. DFW piled on so much detail he forgot about the momentum of the story.
Narcissistic feeling?
That may, or may not, be another marker of workshop writing.

Anonymous said...

DFW MFAed at the U of Arizona. He hated the program, by the way, and despised the professors. But he was a product of the System nonetheless, and perpetuated it by teaching Pomona.