I think we have done ourselves a disservice by losing the mystery of literature. At least I don’t see news reports about books that have had an enormous impact.
I see the odd headline of a reviewer championing a new title. However, it never registers with me that there is some new movement in literature that has begun. Or that there is a book that will essentially command all of literature.
In addition, the ease of presenting a book (and regardless of commercial success, becoming a professional writer regardless of success) makes it possible for a lot of writers to do so.
There was a time, almost like an epoch, when talented, gifted writers penned insightful and wise works. It just… ended. There must be many reasons why.
Film adaptations may have helped kill the most brilliant era in literary history. Film adaptations of novels are often so well-done that audiences may be enticed to watch them rather than follow through and read the original novel.
The appetite for lower-brow interests, as well, is much stronger than that for intellectual interests, and that has a damaging effect on the book market overall. I think of Stephen King. I have read many of King’s novels and stories, and I know he’s a talented writer, and many people champion him as being among the finest, although even something that has many high points to it, like The Shining kind of is almost on par with a writer of the past like Edgar Allan Poe, or maybe Misery that has sort of, I’m not a critic, postmodernist themes to it, or The Dark Tower (the seven books of his fantasy opus) that are so meta they actually include the character of Stephen King, I understand, in books by Stephen King, but I am not sure he is any match in light of the most notable writers of the past.
I knew a lit grad who I said to that King killed literature. My friend said he wasn’t any different than Charles Dickens. Several years ago, my friend worked in clothing retail as a lit major.
Maybe I would have enjoyed seeing the times when we had Earth-Shattering Writers. It isn’t that hard to imagine, though–you can watch a movie about it.
It’s been since several weeks since I wrote a post, the last being my Valentine’s Day post. We had a nice time.
About tech, once it got increasingly clear that the new normal would all the more include a style of work that focuses on doing it from home, and I’d already been thinking about what normal meant for people who liked to work from home, or found an advantage in doing it, I decided that maybe I could put my hand in at that occasionally and work on my style accordingly.
The complete Song Lyric Sunday prompt for March 28 is this: Endless/Eternity/Everlasting/Forever/Infinity/Omega.
Powerful words, words like endless, as in an unending circle, and eternity, the very notion of forever, like spirits bound.
I thought of the song Endless Sea, by Iggy Pop (not the Freddie Dredd song).
Endless Sea is on the Iggy Pop album in 1979 called “New Values.” Pop had got known as Iggy in school when he filled in as drummer for blues band The Iguanas. At Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Summer of Love came to pass, and Iggy Pop then age twenty, brought up in a dusty trailer park, was anything than that.
The music of Iggy Pop’s not my cup of tea, but I like his song Endless Sea. Endless Sea could be, I think, at least on one level, a song about working a low-level job and being dissatisfied.
In the first verse, Iggy Pop sings about “the service of the bourgeoisie,” as though he were holding down a job and dealing with the public, like having to give up his weekends to make ends meet (he sings, “when you’re tight for the rent”). If you want to be a musician, in theory, you have to do something to make money until you get some recognition.
That said, is there something wrong about working at Nickels Arcade?
The reality, “real life” as some put it, is sort of, I think Iggy sings, baffled and hopeless, horrible, but relatable for those in similar straits. In other words, it’s a burden. For the narrator of Endless Sea, the sea is endless because from where he is on the water, the narrator can’t see the shore any longer, and he is adrift, I would infer, in a “sea” of unwanted circumstances.
It’s a punk rock number, and weird, accordingly. The word punk is often pejorative, but the idea of hustler-made-good is frequently romanticized. “Punk” usually refers to a young man who does things his way, perhaps badly, or perhaps with difficult consequences afoot, a rebel.
I think it first became something that young men started to find between themselves a collective will, by collecting record albums by punk bands.
Punk is not about hair colour, style, or music, although the music does take a large part in most punks’ lives.
Punk is about liking what you like, being yourself, saying what you think and F*CK ALL THE REST.
You don’t need a two-foot-high red mohawk to be a punk, although that is wicked cool.
You don’t need sleeves, a backpiece, or any tattoos at all to be punk.
You don’t need a Misfits, Casualties, Sex Pistols or any band like that jacket, to be punk.
You don’t need anything to be punk except for awareness, self-respect, respect for others and an open mind.
PUNK IS NOT DEAD.
I don’t care if you wear drainpipes or not, you’re a punk cos you’re not some dumb prat who’s a f*cking loser poser who needs to get his shit straight!
I was joking with my friend about the challenge of interpreting song lyrics. “It’s not that straightforward,” she said.
Mind what the band Silver Jews revealed in their song Tennessee: “Punk rock died when the first kid said/’Punk’s not dead, punk’s not dead’.” Mind I’m not trying to put it to rest here. Silver Jews were an American crew from New York City, framed in 1989 by David Berman alongside Pavement members Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich.
Years ago, when I was in junior high, I memorized a poem titled the sea and recited it for a local competition. “So quiet, so quiet, he scarcely snores,” I murmured on the empty stage, the James Reeves poem again given the shake of life.
The judge commended me.
As a kid, I’d played the taboo Dungeons & Dragons game, the fad of the nineteen seventies that’s enjoyed frequent resurgence from time to time, my mother cautiously giving me the green light
When I was in junior high, the game Dungeons & Dragons, as it was understood at the time, created the Isle of Dread, an archipelago far from the continent. Despite the name of the game, the Isle of Dread featured little in the way of a dungeon, and little in the way of a dragon.
There was a carnivorous dinosaur living on the island, and the “dungeon,” such as it were, on the Isle of Dread, was an evil habitat inside a volcano. I think it was to be implied that the villagers of the island both lived in fear of and revered the giant lizard. Personally taking the role of the Dungeon Master, I aimed for enough of a fledgling theatrical ability to be able to play the game, with friends, and the role-playing lent itself, I would say, to interest in poetry, apart from the combat, spellcasting and character experience.
Far from poetry, and games, the word punk, in music, dates from 1971, coined by US rock columnist Dave Marsh. Previously an editorial manager of Creem Magazine, Marsh had been a contributing proofreader at Rolling Stone, composing stories on Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, the Rolling Stones, and The Who.
Endless Sea closes out with the lyrics, “You better go home, buddy,” as though Iggy Pop is warning someone infringing. When I was in school, in grade ten, my English teacher Patti explained that the idea of being plunged underwater can be read as a symbolic rebirth. It’s conceivable that the same imagery is in this tune Iggy Pop wrote.
Around the time I was starting to think about symbolism in the movies, the PolyGram film Trainspotting famously depicted scenes from the lives of youths in Scotland, in the nineteen-nineties, even going so far as to include dialogue in which the main characters discuss real-world music, as, for example, talking about the lag in the career of musician Lou Reed. Both Reed and Iggy Pop are included in the soundtrack for Trainspotting. Here is an idea of dialogue from the film, between characters named Tommy and Spud.
Tommy: I told her, I’m sorry, but these things happen. Let’s put it behind us.
Spud: That’s fair enough.
Tommy: Yes, but then she finds out I’ve bought a ticket for Iggy Pop the same night.
Spud: Went ballistic?
Tommy: Big time. Absolutely f*cking radge. ‘It’s me or Iggy Pop, time to decide.’
Spud: So what’s it going to be?
Tommy: Well, I’ve paid for the ticket.
Here now is the song itself, as well as a transcription of the lyrics. I would like to thank Jim Adams for what he’s done with Song Lyric Sunday, and I hope that the blog hop continues to go well. As well, I wish readers a happy spring time, as I know these are difficult times for all.