Monday, May 09, 2011

Episode 959: A Moment Of Reflection

Watching the Season 3 finale of Fringe, which features a fourth version of the show's opening titles, and can I just say that this show continues to bend my mind in a way that Lost never managed. (Love Astrid's new hairdo!) I'm glad J. J. Abrams is getting a fourth season with this one, and kudos to the cast as well, most of whom have had to play at least three different versions of themselves so far. (I think John Noble's case counts as four.) Anyway, apart from finishing my portfolio today, I've also read three online magazines for the Saboteur Awards: Goblin Fruit Winter 2011, Moon Milk Review Issue 7, and Pomegranate Issue 11: Bust. So far, I've liked them all, Moon Milk Review possibly a little less than the other two. That leaves eight more magazines to get through by the end of the month, alongside revision. Also sent off a submission to Monash University's Verge anthology, as the 2011 edition is a collaborative effort with Warwick. Also thinking of entering a couple of competitions using the poems from my two long sequences, but it depends on how organised I am in June because both deadlines are at the end of that month. I know winning shouldn't be the only reason for wanting to enter competitions, but it would be nice, you know, the recognition. I'm too young to be bitter about the lack of it as yet, and frankly, I think I'd be really upset with myself if I grew up to become that sort of writer. Still, one prize in my lifetime would be, well, nice. Right?

All this thinking about writing had me wondering if it's possible to be a good poet and prose writer. I reckon the short answer is yes. The longer answer probably involves an acknowledgement that although all writing is still just writing, on some level, different genres and forms call for different modes of thought. This isn't to say, of course, that a person can't possess them, but that one might be developed at the expense of the other, I suppose? Personally, my own experience as a writer is a bit of a contradiction in this regard. I think of myself primarily as a poet, but I have been told that I have a good prose style, although I am conscious that when writing fiction, at the level of diction and syntax I sometimes resort to devices that would be more expected in poetry, like alliteration. Ironically, although one of my not-so-secret goals in life is to write a science fiction novel series, I don't think I have the sort of interest in sustained narrative that the genre (or the form in general) demands. I could come up with an interesting idea that would work at the length of flash fiction, but to extend something to even the length of a novella, I don't think I have it in me. Partly because of the way I write and how resistant I am to completing first drafts, as opposed to editing and tweaking right from the start, partly because I don't have the discipline it takes to put together thousands of words, without cheating by breaking up the narrative and skipping over huge chunks, chronologically speaking (like both the stories in this year's portfolio) or stringing together loosely connected flash fictions (like 'The Triptych Papers' in last year's portfolio). I know in our times, we should feel free to break away from the novel's conventions, but part of me dreams of writing an 'old-fashioned' novel à la Dickens or Hardy.

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