Thursday, November 10, 2005

22,159 words

That's where I am.

Urban fantasy, is what it's called I suppose. I sometimes wonder where genre names come from and when people started to put labels on their works...when did people stop saying I am a writer and I'm writing a book? When did they start saying, I'm a fantasy writer, or I write urban fantasy, or I write mainstream literary stories instead of simply saying I write stories?

Tita Inday, has a great answer to that question and I'll post it here:

Evorteza writes:

"Nowadays, there is this sentimental blurring of boundary lines, even disciplinary lines. So, your question is of the time: what is the difference between mainstream, literary, etc? This is an influence of postmodernity, and while it comments reasonably on some problems of knowledge, I do not subscribe to it fully.

The labels they would say are abstractions and cannot in truth apply to any one particular work. Moreover, and this is important, those labels had their origin in historical moments, so they are not objective but rather subjective, no doubt led by dominant ruling class and the elites. It is to preserve what they have thought is truth, right, justice, literary genre, etc. and eventually became truth, right, justice, etc. indeed!!!

It is the same process that aesthetic items had to experience. It took a while for artists to consider photography a work of art, or an aesthetic object, because there is the intervention of a mechanical object, the camera or film, between the artist and his or her piece. Now, there are photographic pieces that regularly appear in art galleries and are presumably accepted as mainstream art. The same goes for literary pieces."


More and more, I find myself wondering whether by applying labels to certain works (for instance I know of some writers who will not read fantasy, because they think it's not literary enough), when we do this, is it not a form of literary prejudice (racial prejudice)? Aren't we impoverishing ourselves, robbing ourselves of a wealth of experience by shunning one and embracing one? Why not embrace all literature as being one body? A book is a book, a story is a story, it doesn't matter whether it has its origins or its basis in life real or in life imagined. In the end, I think what matters most is how well the writer writes and whether the vehicle he or she has chosen communicates clearly what he or she wishes to say.

I could be wrong of course, since I am not an expert. Merely another traveler on this journey towards knowing...

I am still trying to decipher this thing called literature...literary literature...etc.


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