Thursday, October 20, 2005

Speaking of . . .

. . . the anxiety of influence (as I did under "Q," below--hey, it makes perfect sense! Doesn't the letter "Q" make you anxious? Particularly if you're playing Scrabble? Forget it) Dean Francis Alfar makes a great post about just that here. I quote:

[T]here comes a time in the personal evolution of a writer when you must deliberately engage in subversion, and, in effect, deliberately misread the text of your predecessors. This is one of the ways you can begin to grow beyond their influence, by finding flaws in something you once held sacrosanct and lacunae in what was once (to you) impervious. You learn to question and seek errors, and engage in act of misprision*.

Without this act, you cannot progress as a writer, will never find your own unique voice, never develop your own words. While it is impossible to be completely devoid of influences, you can determine to be conscious of just what is affecting you and take steps to distance yourself – aesthetically, intellectually, stylistically – or be condemned to act like your father (or fathers).

Dean's got a smart blog over there. Check it out.

*Misprision: A term used by Harold Bloom to describe the process by which strong writers misread or misinterpret their literary predecessors so as to clear imaginative space for themselves. According to Bloom, every poem is a misprision or misconstrual of a hypothetical parent poem. (See also Anxiety of influence.)


Blogger FreeThinker said...

Nice Scrabble reference! Scrabble is my favorite board game, and practice makes perfect!

To paraphrase Shakespeare,

"The Word-Play's The Thing!"

7:16 PM  

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