Devouring

Posted on Jan 3, 2015 in Blog
“The best way I can describe the new autofictional novel: the oeuvre is the soul. The artist’s body of work, in other words, has come to replace the religious ideal of the immortal spirit.” 

Jonathan Sturgeon, on the death of the postmodern novel

Yes, I think. And then I think: well, but maybe not entirely.

I am misreading Sturgeon, slightly. I keep reading it as the oeuvre is the soul. As though the thing that we draw our inspiration from is, in fact, the soul itself, and not the other way around. You excavate the soul in order to make your way around the world.

In other misreading adventures, at multiple times over the last few months I’ve found myself mistaking “devout” for “devour”. Which seems appropriate. Isn’t faith–or the semblance thereof, or the search for oneself in all manner of postmodern and post-postmodern and autofictions–a kind of devouring?

Don’t you sink in, and go farther and farther until there’s nothing left?

I had lunch with a very good friend last week. Soup and bread and the confessionalism of our culture. I was defensive. He was not.

My worry, he said, is that all of this blogging and this ability to get any thoughts out into the world in minimal time–I worry that it keeps people from writing that next great book. You get caught up in the noise. You’re so busy blogging and tweeting and responding to everything in real time that you don’t have time or energy to create something else.


He might be right. He probably is right. But haven’t we been telling stories about ourselves since the first man realized he could lie?

A year of excavations. And in between them, lots of tea. I wonder what that might look like.

It might look like an essay collection. Perhaps. Maybe. If the odds are in my favour and the other book gets done and the fog has the good sense to stay away.

 

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