Saturday, October 5, 2013
Convinced that I would never become a literary great, I stopped writing at the age of 17. If you weren't churning out The Brothers Karamazov or at least a Crime and Punishment (both of which I have read several times), your efforts were futile.
Sadly, the perspective I had developed was only reinforced by my study of Comparative World Literature. Genre fiction was sneered at and dismissed as a waste of ink and paper. Oh, of course there was room for the occasional Slaughterhouse Five or Naked Lunch (sadly NEITHER of which have I yet read), but for the most part real literature fell largely in the realm of realism. I realize as I write this post how deeply this prejudice has been engrained in me. To think that I have not in the intervening years between obtaining my diploma and today managed to pick up either of these aforementioned books for even the most casual perusal!
So what saved me? Perhaps not so surprisingly, it was a book. I was introduced to and fell in love with The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov's masterpiece that uses dark fantasy to address (among other issues) censorship in Stalin's Russia. The book got under my skin; I wished I had written it. On the surface it was a love story. A love story populated by witches, demons and even Old Nick himself. It could be read and loved simply on that level, but there was an invitation to look more closely, to dive deeper. This. This was what I wanted to write. This desire, this envy if you will, planted its seed.
To be continued...