- This essay on the comic novel—and its importance given the recent proclivity toward High Seriousness in lit—is very good & worth further consideration. I have always thought that if I had a novel in me—I don’t— it’d have to be a comic one: who could tolerate all the angsty navel-gazing? CanLit has quite enough of that, thank you very much.
- This discussion on writing well is very, very funny and well-worth the read. It should also go without saying that I agree with just about every word of it. (Slight follow-up: Andrew Sullivan provides a noteworthy point which I offer as an addendum in this regard.)
Of a related nature, since rediscovering that old notebook I mentioned, I found a few more things lurking rattily about like Claudius behind an arras. Alas, I wish I hadn't. It's a particular type of torture reading one's own tortuous scribblings from days gone mercifully by. There were papers on Frye, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Harold Pinter and D.H. Lawrence, the undergraduate ones of which were grotesquely naive, while the graduate ones were grotesquely dishonest from trying to mollify the soft bigotry of theoretical expectations. (They all got A's of one form or another, though Ray Charles only knows how or why.) There were various attempts at verse, all rightly aborted and lined-through like security briefings. And there were bits & pieces of thought from and for classes, all scattered and probative, more aphoristic than refined-- and almost entirely unusable by my estimation. Some writers look back on their back-pieces with embarrassment and even regret. I do so with a dustman's sense of waste: so much stuff, none of it worth keeping, and not a little bit of shame that there's nothing to be salvaged from the cartage. John Lee Hooker was right: Don't look back.... Ever.
(And yes, I ended with navel-gazing. I. Am. Soooooo. Canadian.)