Monday, August 25, 2014

I took an immediate liking to Knausgaard, My Struggle.   There is a requirement encoded within that bids us to explore our own vulnerability, our own imperfections, our own failings.  The failures of a person, the vices, the relationship realities, need not be tied to a plot line of a story, thus to provide tension and conflict, but rather are best liberated from such a context, set free where such things are free standing, kind of 'just there.'  For the worst disservice you can perform upon humanity is to portray the creature perfect and invulnerable, whereas in fact the creature, as we all really know, at least once we grow up, is not invulnerable, that is an amalgam which is capable of dissolving in a moment on many different levels.  Yes, the creature is brave, brave to be alive, but to be braver still must face the fact of being mortal.   So the reader finds the reality of the male spirit in My Struggle, set in an appropriate form, needing no plot, just providing honest humanity.

For similar reasons are remembered those who do explore and make note of human frailty, vulnerability, imperfection, 'craziness.'  That might explain some of our fondness for a Lincoln or a retrospective look at JFK, no, not perfection, and even early death of a vulnerable kind, as if we are left to perpetually ask, 'but how, how could you die, at this time, just when we were getting going...'  We are drawn closer to the world Kundera leads us to, that of the look at failure that literature provides us, in the way he explicates Madam Bovary's moment of tossing the coin to a beggar when she herself is destitute or the element of mismatch in a sexual encounter.

It's probably for such reasons that I myself, in writing, avoid the heaviness of fitting things into a conscious plot, for the principal reality of shine through.  And this is why heroes go off into the wilderness, not to perfect themselves but to find the real human story.  Which is something not for profit so much, but to learn something that keeps one sane as one must go on failing in life until time runs out on us.

The sensitive ones of us are simply drawn to the lessons of the beautiful flawed vulnerable creature, to learn better the things that one needs to learn.

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