Following the bureaucratic horror of Terri Schiavo's death and the saccharine insincerity of the blatherers who wished her dead now fawning over the Pope post-mortem, I was out of outrage. My near-constant state of indignation over one thing or another provides the fuel for my rantings and most of my productivity. But witnessing the recent dramas of life and death combined with astronomic levels of hypocrisy redlined me. I was drained to the tankbottom. Kaput.
I've rested. I've had toast and warm beverages. Like in a videogame, I hovered in a safe zone while my health levels rebuilt. Ahh, it's good to be irritated again.
Here's an instance of an annoying reality which I cribbed from the Ansible, a British scifi/fan newsletter http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/Ansible/Ansible.html (Thanks, Paul Barnett)
The following is from issue 213, April, 2005:
As Others See Us. Susan Mitchell knows what's fiction and what isn't: `Read any good novels lately? Read any bad novels lately? My guess is that if you've read anything, for pleasure or interest, it hasn't been fiction. Book sales of fiction, particularly literary fiction, are down. By fiction I don't mean fantasy, as in Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, I mean a story about our lives created from an author's imagination.' (Weekend Australian Financial Review, 19-20 Mar) [DW]
See, if we want to trash something, like fiction that has the temerity to exist in a genre other than "literary", we first must exclude examples that are commonly known to have value. Once we've disclaimed the best of the field, we can feel free- as if we've decoyed the big brothers- to kick around the little kids, safe in knowing that we won't be challenged.
I have enjoyed and been enriched by books which could be called literary fiction. However, in my experience, the adjective "literary" is too often code for "lacks pacing". A 5,000 word chapter wallowing in the myopic examination of a torn screen door as extended allegory for intergenerational family estrangement amidst poverty and incest combines all-too-much with precious-little. In such cases. the Readerly Me can't remain engaged enough to get edified.
I also posted on this subject to the NYC Writers' Group http://www.nycwritersgroup.com/ There, I wrote:The worst of any genre is putrid. The best is always transcendent.
(It's tre' lame to quote myself in italics, no?)
I think these (even the italicized) are valid assertions. However, in my NYC Writers' post, I believe I spelled transcendent incorrectly. Oh well. A solid 85%, that's my motto.
I toil over commercial crime fiction and toy with fantasy and sci-fi. If you, too, feel that you're working in an underappreciated or discredited genre, be it paranormal romance or greeting card verse or mosquito-net reviewing, give me a shout out.
Without requiring writing samples, I will provide you understanding of the difficulties of your position. I offer you my fellowship.