Saturday, July 16, 2005

To have no boundaries

For some reason the word esthetic looks incomplete and silly and the word aesthetic somewhat pompous and silly. Go figure: no language is perfect.

Anyway, my aesthetic vision of writing is to have no boundaries in language, no genres. I would have wanted to include into my master's thesis on the first Home Rule crisis (or rather on high political rhetoric during it) sections of "pure" fiction - not that the boundary between fiction and non-fiction would be in any case very clear, especially with historical writing and research. This is probably an over intellectual attitude but to me all writing, all thinking is speculation about our experience in the world: we don't describe, we speculate even when describing. And to have it in freely flowing, beautiful, rhythmical language - to have no boundaries, no "natural" structures.

So, in effect, I don't believe in pure fiction, and would not want to write it myself. (These highly theoretical musing probably well describe why I never ended up as a writer: you need to be more instinctive, more viscerally in touch with language, with experience.) This is not to deny a certain distinction between the perceived reality and purely fictional accounts, but you can only attempt to reach this perceived reality through speculation and exploration whether it then has the form of fiction or non-fiction. So, no genres for me, no boundaries in language. There exist none naturally, nothing is naturally, self-evidently fixed in language. I think this is why we are only partially at present even in directly autobiographical text: why this text also is only one dimension of many in myself, and purely in itself misleading: we can only speculate about ourselves, we can only attempt to reach ourselves - the personality is never there in the very moment, never constant, never whole.


helsinkian said...

I think someone like you could very well be a writer. There is one very definite genre where most of what you describe as your kind of writing fits in, i.e. the writing of essays. Writing a diary can also be very professional kind of writing. You know, in the same way a high-class weblog can be serious writing and yet represent a very definite genre within certain boundaries.

stockholm slender said...

Well, the thing is I have not heard Larkin's rough tongued bell - or rather, I hear it and could not easily exist without it but I don't feel it tolling for me. I have a compulsion to read, not to write. Yes, I have made some half-hearted attempts, but there was no compulsion, no intensity in the effort. There is enough of good text in the world on levels I can never reach - too much, almost, I would say, as I would like to read it all... In any case, not many things in this world can be compared to good text: there is such joy in reading, in contemplation, in the attempt to comprehend. Hmm, as years go by I am more and more confirming to my Pietist upbringing: not a man of action or ambition at all. The practical challenge would be somehow to establish passivity also to my professional life, to escape the constant flow of meaningless things, of stress created by triviality.