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"Watch my brains a minute, and see them whirl around."
We're still talking about David Bowie. 
27th-Sep-2006 12:37 pm
matociquala: Can I love him for admitting that he's only scared about an album if he thinks it's a good one?

truepenny: Yes. And that if he's not scared about it, he's doing something wrong. Totally. ::loff::

matociquala: Yes.


See, this is the problem. I went and watched too many interviews, and he got all humanized, and now I feel odd staring at his crotch.

Lust is so much easier when you can objectify someone.

truepenny: ... and the collectivity of the practitioners of the Male Gaze, starting all the way back with the first Homo sapiens to draw a dirty picture on the wall of his cave, just got terrible cold shivers AND THEY DON'T KNOW WHY.

But I do.

matociquala: Hee. *g* It's so TRUE!

..not that that's going to stop me from staring at his crotch.

truepenny: Bear, David Bowie WANTS you to stare at his crotch.

matociquala: Well, it's how he makes his money, after all. And keeps your attention long enough to subvert you.

But I still feel dirty.

truepenny: You know, you've probably just made him very happy.

matociquala: Hee. Because I can intellectualize my crotch-staring?

(No, really. I respect you as a person, as an artist, as a man. As a father. ... ... ...do that thing with your tongue again?)

truepenny: Because he's made you feel dirty.

matociquala: I made me feel dirty.

Although I now understand men who say "No, really, I do respect..." *g*

truepenny: He has caused you to make yourself feel dirty. Not merely the genderfuck, but the identityfuck, has worked.

matociquala: Yes. The genderfuck cannot make me feel dirty. But he has exposed my own hypocrisy to me.

truepenny: That's a really complicated piece of subversion he's got going on there.

And you know, it's still got a beautiful, sexy, entertaining surface.

Which is the difference between "popular entertainment" and "art." If his genderfuck was not accompanied by catchy and popular songs, and wasn't saturated in popular culture--if, you know, it was all stark and demanding, with all the theory showing, no one would watch him, but everyone would write about him.

Our society has got fucked in the head somehow.

matociquala: Yes. This, exactly. It's the same thing he's doing with those two songs--"Jump They Say" and "Everyone Says Hi." You think it's a pop song. Bouncy shiny happy people dance tune. Cute little kid writing a letter tune.

But it's nooooooooot.

This is the same Shakespeare-trick I really, really want to learn.

truepenny: Tension--conflict even--between surface and depth.

It's hard.

And half the audience will miss it anyway.

matociquala: More than half. If you do it right, maybe even most.

But it doesn't matter.

Heck, that's part of the magic trick.

truepenny: The surface has to be worth people's while. See above re: the difference between "popular entertainment" and "art."
27th-Sep-2006 11:45 pm (UTC)
That's really cool.

There's a thing Richard Hugo says in The Triggering Town about poems having a triggering subject and a generated subject. The triggering subject is the surface plot, or the thing that you go, "Ooh wouldn't it be cool to write a story about ..." The generated subject is the real plot, the thing the story is about. And, yeah, you have to have both.

I discovered in using Hugo (to try) to teach creative writing that most new writers are all about the triggering subject/surface plot, and may in fact resist strenuously efforts to make them move on to the generated subject/real plot. Whereas in twentieth-century literary poetry, the triggering subject/surface plot often gets attenuated to the point you can hardly find it.

But I agree with you. You have to have both. And the more they talk to each other, the stronger the story is going to be.
28th-Sep-2006 12:01 am (UTC)
I'm working on a story right now in which I'm trying to do exactly that (have the surface plot and the real plot talk to each other) and it's being very hard. I think the real plot (sometimes called "theme") works best when it evolves organically over the development of the story, and you notice it either late in development (in which case you can go back and insert subtle reinforcements) or you don't notice it at all until the story is published (in which case you say "ah, I meant to do that" and goggle in amazement at the number of places your subconscious inserted those subtle reinforcements for you). In this case I have the sub-surface plot deliberately in mind and it's making the whole thing harder. I hope it doesn't end up feeling forced.
28th-Sep-2006 03:52 am (UTC)
I have been having this problem a LOT lately.

I am telling myself it's because I'm learning how to create a surface plot around a deep plot (or, as you say, theme), and therefore there's all this trial and error and learn by doing. (I think I forgot to mention in my post the other day how much I hate learn by doing. I hate it.) But it's much harder that way round. Phooey.
28th-Sep-2006 05:51 am (UTC)
I have gone exactly the other way. I am now writing surface plots, and the meta is just happening.

I find it very distressing, because my stories have always been structured around the meta.

And now I have to tell stories. And trust the subtext to be there.

It's icky and I don't like it. Everything feels very shallow and confused.
28th-Sep-2006 05:52 am (UTC)
I had to learn to tack surface narratives onto my brainfuck. And now the narratives are taking over.

la. what is this linear shit anyway?
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