On what literature is really about, and being a "serious" writer

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Literary snobs annoy me. They annoy me a lot.

I tire of the idea that the only "serious" writers are the ones writing literary fiction.

I tire of the idea that I am less real as a writer or work less hard or am somehow less important because I write books for teenagers.

And I think it is absolutely absurd when people say things like "That isn't what literature is about."

Like, the only stories of worth have to examine the human condition and be about death and some middle-class white bloke wandering about doing nothing for four hundred pages (as written by some narcissistic middle-class white bloke).

About 90% of the time when I read a critically-acclaimed, award-winning novel I am just baffled. (Generally of the books-for-adults variety. I usually like the YA award winners.)

A great deal of literary fiction seems to be about literary fiction which, to me, is very odd. It's like an entire genre of in-jokes.

I dislike the idea that all the important stories must be depressing. I think that literature can and should be about a lot of things. Entertainment and comfort and whatever it is the reader wants out of it. I don't know, I think there's enough depressing in the real world without every novel of "value" (how do we ascribe this value? how does this work?) being so incredibly depressing.

I think the idea of "serious" and "non-serious" writers is stupidly linear. (Maybe I should add "unserious writer" to my bio. I'm not sure I could ever be, or be considered, a "serious" writer.) I am, however, very uncool and not really part of any literary scene and likely not a future award-winner, so perhaps I am not the best person to listen to.

To sum up:
1. I have forgotten how to write blog posts.
2. People who talk about "serious" fiction are irritating.
3. Lots of novels are important and have value and bring people joy and make them think! Stories, I love them all! Stop acting like your genre is by default superior to mine!
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