discombobulated from the murky depths of adult literature!

One question.

How does anyone read that stuff?

Especially the LITERATURE!

90% of the stuff I read was purple prose.

Writers trying to be fancy.


And I read an essay by a poet who actually said that one of the things a poet does is flirt with incomprehensibility!


I guess that means I’ll never be ‘LITERARY’.

And yet, I always thought the idea of literary was that a work challenged the status quo and made you think.

I think it’s really good that I did my apprenticeship in children’s writing.

No way can you get away with all the meanderings and purple prose that adult literature is rife with.

I mean I read Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance and honestly it was only just okay. Not fabulous. And the ending really bugged me but that’s not surprising because it’s so hopeless.

At least it was readable and there wasn’t any purple prose.

And I read Alister MacLeod’s No Great Mischief and quite enjoyed it. Although even there I got frustrated with the back and forth in terms of timeline.

Why do adult writers feel the need to do that???

Sometimes I get the impression it’s because there’s no plot and they have to resort to tricks and gimmickry to get the reader to keep going.

I mean what is No Great Mischief really about? You could sum it up in a sentence. It’s about a man who takes care of his alcoholic brother. But the language in it, the writing is definitely lyrical and keeps you going.

But some of the other stuff I’ve read—eeesh!!!

And the poetry that tries to be clever by breaking up a sentence in the middle, willy nilly, and starting the next line for no apparent reason.

Oh, but dontcha know, you’re supposed to figure out why they put the line break there.

Makes my brain hurt!

Too convoluted for my tastes.

And for most people’s tastes too I imagine.

Maybe that’s why so many people prefer the banality of pop culture.

At least it tells a story, and isn’t that what we’re really hankering for?

A story.

Phyllis A. Whitney said it best in one of the first How to Write books I ever read. She said words to the effect that stories are about emotions. You have to entertain. If it’s not entertaining, they’re never going to get what you’re really trying to say.

Which reminds me of something a friend said about a recent Giller prize winner. “Oh and it was a story. It actually had a narrative I quite enjoyed!”


Now some might say I need to follow my own advice, but honestly, I do.

I have all sorts of deep literary themes in my stories. I can’t seem to help it. It’s just the way I write. But on top of it all, I try to be entertaining!

And on that note I’ll say adieu for a little while.

And yet reading all that poetry has inspired me to write some poetry. Might even write a collection. We’ll see.

Gotta go to Ottawa in the morning. Won’t be back online probably till Wednesday.