Wednesday, September 30, 2009

20th Century American Lit

I really don't enjoy many books from among the genre considered 20th Century classics. Sometimes I try to quantify why that is. I think the closest I could come is that it reflects the increasingly godless and relativist mentality of our society. I suppose some would call that post-modern.

Follows is my synopsis of a few authors and an imitation. See this is one of the things that frustrates me. I'm sure I'm not giving these people enough credit, but still, for some of them, it seems to take so little thought or art.

There's Hemingway. There is no meaning to life. You live and then die. I suppose one joins a few revolutions against the fascists, among whom might be considered anyone who has more civic power or material goods than yourself.
When you leave me in leave this vale of tears, there you will have no more grief. Never will we have to fight the pigs who own everything and make us grovel for our meager fare. Someday I will join you in the next mysterious rebirth and we will never be parted."
And Salinger. All pathetic lives and hopelessness. Grime.
She ground the stub of her cigarette into the ashtray. The sofa was dingy gray from the years of stale air that always permeated her life. She thought about the blackness of her coming years and wanted to cry. But she was beyond tears.
How about Faulkner? Strange segues and no introduction to the various people or settings.
The old lady slid into the memories of the ruts on the country road. She tried hard not to fall, but when she thought of the boy with the cow, she couldn't help herself....

The blackness overtook him and he was once again a child in the back room crying for his supper.
Jack Kerouac. Drugs. Women. Slang. Run-on sentences.
We were so stoked we just kept running and running and I never saw the lights even through I was cruising the boulevard for hours and hours and the dude on the saxophone was so hip and we danced until we just needed to burn our way into a new gig. I couldn't believe it when we met up with the others and hung at this apartment they had at the time where the rest of us would all get wired and try to chill and then we'd be off running again until we crashed.
Yes, I know, I'm oversimplifying. There are others authors who are more complex. Who spin good plots that use proper grammar and don't find glory in the underbelly of society. It takes real talent and art to construct a good story. I've tried.

But I could probably whip out several chapters quite quickly using any of the above styles. I just can't see wasting my time. There is enough of that in the lives of real people without having to immortalize it in a novel.

1 comment:

Joe Abrahamson said...

Obviously you are reading the wrong authors. You should try ER Burroughs, or all the Star Trek novels.

These are truly uplifting and pertinent to the times we live in.

Churchill once said, (I'm told) "A dangling preposition is something up with which I will not put."