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When the words become more important than the writer

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posted on Jun, 3 2012 @ 05:40 PM
I was recently in Oxford, and I had a very interesting discussion with a professor there. He brought up the idea of fiction, as written by the writer, becoming something else entirely to the reader. In a way, it morphs and speaks directly to the reader in a way the writer never could have intended.

This got me thinking, and I remembered instances of this. I want to post mine, and I'd like you to post yours. Which pieces of fiction transcended the writer for you?

Here are a couple of mine. Firstly, a passage from what I consider to be the finest work of fiction ever written, "Les Chants de Maldoror" by Comte de Lautreamont:

Tell me, ocean, will you be my brother? Roll wildly... more wildly
yet... if you would have me compare you to the vengeance of God.

Spread out your livid claws and tear yourself out a pathway in your own
bosom... that is good.

Roll your appalling breakers, hideous ocean, understood by me alone, and
before whose feet I fall prostrate.

Man's majesty is borrowed; it shall not overcome me. You, yes.

Oh, when you advance, your crest high and terrible, surrounded by your
tortuous coils as by a royal court, magnetic and wild, rolling your
waves one upon the other full of the consciousness of what you are; and
when you give utterance from the depths of your bosom as if you were
suffering the pangs of some intense remorse which I have been unable to
discover, to that perpetual heavy roar so greatly feared by men even
when, trembling on the shore, they contemplate you in safety: then I can
perceive that I do not possess that signal right to name myself your

Hence in the presence of your superiority I would bestow upon you all my
love (and none may know how much love is contained in my aspirations
towards beauty) if you would not make me reflect sadly upon my fellow
men, who form the most ironical contrast to you, the most clownish
antithesis that has ever been seen in creation.

I cannot love you, I detest you. Why do I return to you, for the
thousandth time, to your friendly arms which part to caress my burning
brow, their very contact extinguishing my fever! I know not your secret
destiny. All that concerns you interests me. Tell me whether you are the
dwelling-place of the Prince of Darkness. Tell me this, ocean... tell me
(me alone, for fear of distressing those who have yet known nothing but
illusion) whether the breath of Satan creates the tempests that fling
your salty waters up to the clouds. You must tell me this because I
should love to know that hell is so close to man.

And from Mark Twain's Mysterious Stranger:

"Strange, indeed, that you should not have suspected that your universe and its contents were only dreams, visions, fiction! Strange, because they are so frankly and hysterically insane - like all dreams..."

Finally, from The Sunset Limited by Cormac McCarthy

“If people saw the world for what it truly is, saw their lives for what they truly are, without dreams or illusions, I don’t believe they could offer the first reason why they should not elect to die as soon as possible.

Your turn?

posted on Jun, 3 2012 @ 06:22 PM

Originally posted by CodyOutlaw
fiction, as written by the writer, becomes something else entirely to the reader.

That's what fiction does. It's open to interpretation. If it's meant to be creative for the writer, it's going to be creative; open-ended if you will, to the reader as well. Clive Barker and Steven King are good examples.

Non-fiction is a more level-headed beast though. Whether it's an emotional piece or not, it's going to be cut and dry. That's not to say that you can't be creative though. Creativity can help the truth come out. That's essentially what poetry, for example, is I think. Creative and emotional non-fiction. I've been writing as a hobby off and on for 32 years now and have learned to get creative. It helps me be creative in life. The 2 just go hand in hand. They always have, but at no time in the past 32 years have I ever been as creative with my writing as I have been during the last 9 months. To say that I've honed that craft into a finely tuned diamond is an understatement. I guess I turned into a diamond-smith. It may be non-fiction, but it's open-ended only to the people it's meant to be open ended for. I've never written like that before. It's a newly found skill that I couldn't have acquired without the right inspiration.

edit on 3-6-2012 by Taupin Desciple because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 3 2012 @ 06:37 PM
reply to post by Taupin Desciple

Actually, you bring up a very, very good point.

I've had non-fiction pieces hit me like this from written memoires and diaries. Henry Miller's Tropic of Capricorn is a good example. So many parts of that are non-fiction, and those are the parts that hit me the most. Incredible work.

posted on Jun, 3 2012 @ 06:54 PM
reply to post by CodyOutlaw

“Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There was no meaning in life, and man by living served no end. It was immaterial whether he was born or not born, whether he lived or ceased to live. Life was insignificant and death without consequence. Philip exulted, as he had exulted in his boyhood when the weight of a belief in God was lifted from his shoulders: it seemed to him that the last burden of responsibility was taken from him; and for the first time he was utterly free. His insignificance was turned to power, and he felt himself suddenly equal with the cruel fate which had seemed to persecute him; for, if life was meaningless, the world was robbed of its cruelty. What he did or left undone did not matter. Failure was unimportant and success amounted to nothing. He was the most inconsiderate creature in that swarming mass of mankind which for a brief space occupied the surface of the earth; and he was almighty because he had wrenched from chaos the secret of its nothingness. Thoughts came tumbling over one another in Philip's eager fancy, and he took long breaths of joyous satisfaction. He felt inclined to leap and sing. He had not been so happy for months.

'Oh, life,' he cried in his heart, 'Oh life, where is thy sting?”
― W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage

edit on 3-6-2012 by ImaFungi because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 3 2012 @ 07:37 PM
reply to post by ImaFungi

That was so very beautiful. I haven't read this book, but I'm going to now.
Thank you.

posted on Jun, 3 2012 @ 08:08 PM
reply to post by CodyOutlaw

i recommend it, its a great book!

posted on Jun, 4 2012 @ 08:27 AM
From Henry Miller's Tropic of Capricorn:

From the beginning it was never anything
but chaos: it was a fluid which enveloped me,
which I breathed in through the gills. In the substrata,
where the moon shone steady and opaque,
it was smooth and fecundating; above it was a
jangle and a discord. In everything I quickly saw
the opposite, the contradiction, and between the
real and the unreal the irony, the paradox. I was
my own worst enemy. There was nothing I wished
to do which I could just as well not do. Even as a
child, when I lacked for nothing, I wanted to die: I
wanted to surrender because I saw no sense in
struggling. I felt that nothing would be proved,
substantiated, added or subtracted by continuing
an existence which I had not asked for. Everybody
around me was a failure, or if not a failure,
ridiculous. Especially the successful ones. The
successful ones bored me to tears. I was
sympathetic to a fault, but it was not sympathy
that made me so. It was a purely negative quality,
a weakness which blossomed at the mere sight of
human misery.

posted on Jun, 4 2012 @ 12:50 PM
Maybe in Science fiction/fantasy we are able to see the thruth that is hidden by conditioning in our own view of reality.

The sleeper must awaken. Frank Herbert, Dune

An extreamly interesting book when looking at the world today. Especially if you are able to connect the information in it with Robert Jordan's Wheel of time.

posted on Jun, 7 2012 @ 02:59 AM
It's all subjective really, i interperet thing's differently than you and i interperet thing's differently a second time around through a reading of a book or a listening to music. theres always funny perspectives with fiction like "hey I never thought about it like that" sometimes I will read some stuart wilde and years later i will read it again and just becuase of certain experiences my eyes are opened and I read it in a totally new light. that's why there are so many different interpretations of the bible an such. for example i was listening to a Marlyn Manson song the other day called no reflection. the first time i heard it i thought he meant as in a vampye and a mirror, but the next time i thought he meant no reflection upon the past. interesting stuff.

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