"In order to understand that there are good reasons for the difficulties they encountered getting their work not just published but written, and that these difficulties are part and parcel of what makes them rewarding to read, we have to try and see Modernism not from without, as Gay, Corbett, and Goldstucker and the post-Modernist (sic) choose to see it, but from within." (Whatever Happened to Modernism, p. 8)Cold comfort that, seeing as I just received the following rejection by email re: my as yet unagented, unpublished novel EULOGY:
"Thanks so much for offering me the chance to consider your material. Unfortunately, your project doesn't seem right for me. Since it's crucial that you find an agent who will represent you to the best of his or her ability, I'm afraid that I'm going to have to step aside rather than ask to represent your manuscript.
You have a great imagination - I love the premise - and you're a good writer, but I'm sad to say that I just wasn't passionate enough about this to ask to see more. I wish I could offer constructive suggestions, but I thought the dialogue was fine, the characters well-crafted, and the plot well-conceived. I think it's the kind of thing that really is subjective - why some people adore the book on the top of the NYTimes bestseller list, and others don't."
The modernism in my writing offputs the sorts of people who make life-and-death decisions about texts, the gate-keepers. It does not excite their passions (sound familiar?). They don't "identify" with the characters or find them somehow sympathetic (complexity and depth notwithstanding). Imagination, conception, writing, dialogue, characters, plot. What am I missing?
Gaaaaah! Just shoot me.
For those of you not on these shores, this upcoming Thursday is the celebration of Thanksgiving here in America. For many, it's a four-day weekend filled with feasting, football, family, and friends. Despite its secular nature, it is our one truly religious holiday. Let me explain.
Reading Josipovici's analysis of the desacralization of the quotidian (what he calls, after Weber, "the disenchantment of the world") alongside Jose Saramago's Baltasar and Blimunda (a historical novel set in the early 1800's in Portugal which enacts that self-same sense of the sacred in the everyday lives of its characters), I am reminded of what I, as an avowed agnostic, actually believe is the truth of Religion (with a capital 'R'): it acknowledges and ritualizes our sense of awe at the impressive majesty of the creation, from quarkian particles to the multiverse (something about each of which can be found with relative ease on this blog), and, at the same time, it inculcates a sense of gratitude in our stony souls (a term I use advisedly).
Thanksgiving eponymously calls us to this latter. The sense of thankfulness, in its religious articulation, is the explicit acknowledgement of something beyond the self—in fact, it is the recognition of a debt to everyone and everything that has come before us and made us what we are, for good or ill, at this particular point in time and this particular place. It opens us up to the world and humbles us. At the same time, an attitude of gratitude (sorry) can awaken, prefigure, and even shape within the self an even more profound sense of empathy for each other and all of creation, the state to which all true religions aspire.
Thank someone for something this weekend; you'll feel better.
Thus endeth the lesson.
Best wishes to all for a Happy Thanksgiving!
Now, a hymn with angelic voices:WoW will be dark for the next few days over the Thanksgiving holiday.