Friday, May 30, 2008

After finishing Run With the Hunted, a Charles Burkowski Reader edited by John Martin I am left considering the importance of writing about something worthwhile. Is the edifying element essential if you are going to share your writing? The world begs you have SOMETHING to say and yeah, who am I to deem whether his experiences were worthwhile but I'm making the call anyway. My gut instinct is a resounding "yes" after feeling the churn and weight of his laborious personal destruction and immoral lifestyle repeated and in not much variance. It isn't that the subject matter while distasteful in my value system was why I objected but rather the book left me with a longing that Burkowski could have shared more of his life experiences somehow different. I do not believe one needs an "exciting" lifestyle to write; world travel and adventures are not required , small and simple things are usually related to great things in the eternal spectrum. The book made me aware, though of one's selection of your life experiences written about. What angle and what story or observation you dictate about has an effect. Mundane activities are boring indeed if no creative angle is taken. Just like a photographer who uses different lenses, balances compositions creatively the photo only has intrigue if it is different. The book was a sort of chronological memoir. The first third really stirred me. I found myself hungering for the details he gave and felt a sympathy for the protagonist and the poor choices he made. It was awfully sad that he never in his life learned from poor choices, and it was great to read. It inspired me to want to write about some encounters with people in my own life who maybe in my factual lineup of facts of my life had no starring roles but there was an honesty and in my personal examples a shameful human side of me that could be revealed from me exploring my relationship to these people, thus unveling a purer portrait of who I am as a writer and person. I made myself a list of some of these and am working on developing them. So, for that list alone the book was worthwhile as far as a tool for my growth as a writer is concerned. I also liked his attainable poetry. But for the remainder I wanted Burkowski to just stop spewing from his pen and think a minute and by golly try to at least find some sort of redemption or glimmer of usefulness. The real answer though as to whether an edifying element in writing is essential might be "no" because who can deem whether something might be worthwhile to another who has had different life experiences and as long as the writing causes the writer to exert his power in some form. And besides if you don't just wwrite and wait for some strok of brilliance to come along (something I am indeed guilty of) pretty soon you will find yourself never writing. Likely a worse offense.


folklover said...

Very insightful Shannon. I too often wonder if I really have a "voice" that people will want to hear/read in my writing. It is true that I sometimes feel that to much emphasis is put on the theory that you must have something extraordinary to make it worth while to the reader. I have read many a book, article, poem etc., that were about the simple things: cooking a dinner, a weekend trip to the coast, braiding your daughters hair and much more. These have all touched me in one way or another and have left me with an awe at the abilities of the writer. So in short, I believe that if the writer has a unique voice, then anything they write will be unique.

Lion & Lioness said...

I remember you. In fact The way I remember you is how your daughter looks. If that makes any sense.
I also remember seeing all your pictures as you grew up at grandma's house.
I am so glad that you found my blog. I will check on you frequently

Amo said...


Saw your post at Saving Sisters and, yes, our Dad (Norvel Christenson) is your Grandpa's brother. Our Dad is the one that looks like your grandpa. In fact we tease him that they could be twins, even though our Dad is 10 years younger (he doesn't like us to say that -- he always wants Uncle Larry to look older). In any event, it's fun to read your musings. Good luck with your writing!

Amy Smedley