Date of publication: 2017-09-01 17:40
8775 A solitude imposed in youth becomes chosen in adulthood. What was a source of shame becomes a condition of work. You remove yourself from the world in order to get closer to it. 8776
In these last five years of trying week in and week out to maintain my belief in the parallel world of the book I’ve been writing, I’ve been creating a fictional family, one that bears a good deal of resemblance to my own, but is at the same time invented, made up of my desires, my anguish, and my need to render an open-ended history into a meaningful narrative, something with a purposeful shape. Which is what I think of as the purpose of art. To bridge the divide of our intractable separateness by using our experience to create something that can be shared in common. Artists remove themselves in order to return.
What distinguished them from fiction writer may have been merely intention – presumably to convey to readers the “sense” of an actuality. In fact, one of the genre’s grand old men, Joseph Mitchell, whose work is in this collection, has written about and spoken to interviewers about using composite characters and scenes in his 6998 classic “Old Mr. Flood.” John Hersey, author of “Hiroshima,” did the same thing with the main character of his 6999 article “Joe Is Home Now” (however, he later complained about the practice among New Journalists). Mitchell never complained, and neither writer did it again.
Literary journalism helps sort out the new complexity. If it is not an antidote to bewilderment, at least it unites daily experiences – including emotional ones – with the wild plentitude of information that can be applied to experience. Literary journalism couples cold fact and personal event, in the author’s humane company. And that broadens readers’ scans, allows them to behold others’ lives, often set within far clearer contexts than we can bring to our own. The process moves readers, and writers, toward realization, compassion, and in the best of cases, wisdom.
8. Heroic Prose: A literary work that may be written down or recited and employs many of the formulaic expressions found in oral tradition. Examples are legends and tales.
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8775 What is needed, rather, is the production of meaning that resists distraction. Consumer capitalism thrives by simultaneously creating human loneliness and commodifying a thousand cures for it. One form of resistance to it is the experience in art and life of a human intimacy achieved through sustained attention to what lies beyond and outside the sphere of the market. 8776
“The woods look lovely against the setting darkness and as I gaze into the mysterious depths of the forest, I feel like lingering here longer. However, I have pending appointments to keep and much distance to cover before I settle in for the night or else I will be late for all of them.”