Sunday, May 20, 2012
The Art of Writing No. 41
In a long series of blogs about one subject, writing, there is bound to be crossover, overlapping and repetition, just the very things the blog warns you against! But, unless it becomes a blog novel, I don’t have to spend time doing excisions and elisions to give it a flow. This, of course, intimates that I have written about today’s subject before though this blog is tangential to the last offering on the subject
If you follow me on Twitter you will know that I am on a crushingly tough course to bring original thought to issues that perplex us. Every day I write a couple of zen-like mind benders. The art of reducing a complex concept to a few characters is time consuming even when you have developed the mental muscle to fashion such aphorisms. There are two purposes in doing it. The first is to continue to refine my mind-tool and practise control over language. The second is to persuade readers that my voice is intriguing, occasionally illuminating and a good test as to whether my novels are worth obtaining. Among my tweets are little adverts for my books. I hope they are sufficiently redolent of my other cryptic tweeting in their power to persuade.
My first tweet of today says: Stereotyping is how society tailors you a straitjacket
Stereotyping is a massive element in our lives far beyond race, gender and religion. We are conditioned to present ourselves from nursery school to the grave with growing certainty, calling it maturity, as though we have discovered who we are and those around us can feel secure in our predictable identity. We learn to behave according to this template and find it extraordinarily difficult to do anything which contradicts it. Each time we try our society in the shape of friends, work colleagues and family try to push us back inside the casing we have developed. A great deal of literature concerns those individuals who break the mould, or have it broken by events and then try to come to terms with the changes forced upon them. The changes in a character give the reader the opportunity to identify with, and to play vicariously with, projected changes in his or her own life. There must be a novel which focuses on completely uninteresting people doing uninteresting things but, unless it is a post-modern (and unintentionally funny) antithesis of the drama in normal literature, who among us will read it?
Most of the characters in Azimuth undergo change, even the minor ones and some undergo enormous geological disturbance. A minor character who brings an unearthly, sorcerous and mystifying colouring to the plot is my version of the old Lilith myth. If you don’t know her it is worth discovering how she refused to lie down under Adam and was booted out of Eden as a consequence. Since then she has been blamed for much of the wanton mayhem that erupts in civilized life. I won’t tell you who she is because the fact is disguised for much of the second Book. I advertised her presence like this among my regular tweets today:
In Hebrew texts Lilith was Adam’s first woman bringing blood, chaos and upheaval to humanity; she lives on in Azimuth: http://www.Azimuthtrilogy.com