Monday, June 29, 2015

A Short Commentary on: Writers and Writings

   To read a good book is to take an imaginary Journey
Who knows where it will lead… dlsiluk

It should be well understood, each story any and every writer writes—I do believe—which applies to a lower degree with poet’s—comes  from something, somewhere, other than his fictional mind, that is to say, it comes from either experience or something s/he read, or seen, or heard, overheard (as in Faulkner’s writings), a similarity, and the writer simply enfolds fact and fiction and fills up the gaps as he sees fit,  to his way of thinking, how he would handle it if in the same situation, or live it, imitative or not, using often times social comparison. He fills those pages up with: facts, and details, descriptions, and characters, and punctuation, and adjectives, and some seek the perfect word like Gustave Flaubert, for that occurrence: real or unreal—as one might notice in ‘Salammbo’; as he would live, or has lived them, known them; changing names that had real names at one time or another, creating Historical Fiction out of non-fiction.
       For every writer you can trace another writer that has inspired him or her, somewhere in his past, present. For me, there has been perchance two dozen or more writers and poets I prefer. For example: Hemingway (was my inspiration to visit Paris five times): Hemingway was inspirited by Mark Twain, you can see it in his writings, as well as F. Scott Fitzgerald (from my home town in Minnesota). Frank Kafka, was inspired by Gustave Flaubert but also you can see his past in his writings, the Jewish slums of Europe come out, as does frustration which can be seen in “The Castle”; and Flaubert was inspired by Francois Rabelais: the doctor and humanist of the 15th Century; and François Rabelais by Giovanni Boccaccio, and his many tales, of the 14th Century; and Chaucer who copied Baccaccio’s style, like Hemingway and Faulkner who copied Sherwood Anderson’s style, who was inspired by Theodore Dreiser. You need only read these writers to prove my point. If we wish to update the authors, we can use Mario Vargas Llosa, whom I feel is way overrated (and perhaps the least of the writers deserving a Nobel Prize for Literature, although to be honest there are no worthy writers of such a prize out there alive today; thus, has a large vocabulary, but prefers to use the lower one, and the four-letter word, over and over and over until you expect it in the next sentence and glide over it without glance, more often than comas or periods), whom was inspired by Flaubert; plus, we can say with pretty much accuracy, Marshall Mcluhan was inspired by Baudelaire, whom was inspired by Poe. For myself, it is better to have a select a collection of writers one admires, whom write for posterity, and write scholarly than a throng that writes for profit only and carelessly, in so doing, such writings are thrown into ‘File 13’ once read, that’s the garbage can, but for some reason they’re entertaining, and sell, such as: James Patterson, or Michael Connelly, or alike. Alas, I repeat, there are no real good writers today, a few so and so writers, but nothing of high value. To include the overrated, Salman Rushdie, whom if he wrote one good book, it is all he’s written for posterity, and perhaps the only one I haven’t read. The rest will be thrown off the library shelves shortly aver a few inventories are taken after his death.  The same goes for Stephen King, a writer of no style, and very little substance, I found out, out of many of his writings one short story that was of any style or value or any kind of insight, and one short book of little credibility but of some interest. In any case none of his works will withstand posterity, thirty-years often his death. On the other hand, James A Michener, especially “The Source” is underrated.  To a certain degree Robert Harris has much more class and style, as does Mary Renault and Ken Follett, for the modern day writers. Follett, has written three books of some worth, or worthy of a conversation. Colleen McCullough (after reading her books on Rome, I went to Rome), whom I feel, falls under the same category of Mary Renault (after reading her Greek books, all of them, I went to Greece, how a book can transform you is unmatchable—good writers but not great). Other writers worth mentioning might be:  Erich Maria Remarque, on his World War Two, subjects, and Erskine Caldwell with his southern intake of fiction.
       Since I’m on the subject of writers, not Poet’s in particular, some of the classics I consider are “The Epic of Gilgamesh”, or the “Book of Job,” or “Sentimental Education,” and “The Trial,” along with Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”; Sylvia Plath’s “The Colossus”; James Wright’s “The Branch Will Not Break” and  Robert Bly’s “Silence in the Snowy Fields”; “Men without Women” and “The Old Man and the Sea” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” by Hemingway; “Absalom, Absalom!” And “The Sound and the Fury” by Faulkner; also, “Molloy, Malone Dies, the Unnamable,” a trilogy; “The Children of Hurin,” I enjoyed. And “Tender is the Night” by Fitzgerald; “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Twain, and the short story “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calveras County” along with “Life on the Mississippi” most interesting; from Robinson Jeffers “The Loving Shepherdess.” From reading all their works, these I do believe are their best. As for Nathanael Hawthorn, “The Great Stone Face,” which inspired me to actually go to New Hampshire and see the natural tribute.
       I cannot leave this commentary on writers, without saying something on the follow writers that have inspired me, but I do not place in the highest of standards: Jack London has had a bearing on my writings, his best, among the many: “Before Adam,” and “Martin Eden” and Bram Stoker’s best, “Dracula’s Guest” of course this is, remember, my personal view, we all have different tastes. 
       As far as Hemingway and Faulkner goes, I can add “A Moveable Feast,” to Hemingway’s  list, and “The Unvanquished,” to Faulkner’s, although I’d not put them in the top 100-list, of anybody’s list. And I know I left out Sherwood Anderson, who developed the style, many writers imitated, but for my taste, wrote only one worthy book, which far surpasses “Winesburg, Ohio,” which he is given credit for, that being, “Windy McPherson’s Son”.
       Well, I could go on and on, and shall for just a little bit longer, to add some of the more profound works I find interesting and beyond the average writers ability, but not necessarily outstanding, such as: “Mysteries of Paris” by Eugene Sue, episodic in nature, and a very, very long read, but worth the effort, should you get the 1845 Edition, with all the episodes in it, some 1400-pages, thereabouts. And the poet, George Sterling should you read all fourteen of his books, plus, whom perhaps had the best imagery and imagination of any poet of his generation. Also “The Song of Solomon” and some of Poe’s works are worth a read. Along with the most knowledgeable writings on certain subjects, such as the devil by Daniel Defoe, 1727 edition, or Franz Boas book on: “The Mind of Primitive Man” whom the book   delivers in the form of lecture, the  1922 Edition. These are works unsurpassed by any other writers I do believe, in their given subjects.
       Other such writers might be, Carl Sagan, who was quite intelligent, but also quite biased, and uninformed; lest we forget, there are many intelligent people out there. And now we can move to Stephen Hawking, whom has written some great books, but puts too many theories into the status of fact, when in essence, like Darwin,  has not been substantiated. But that is their privilege, as it is mine to dissect their writings, and I have read everything, any of these writers have written but one writer whom I quoted only once and not his works but as a follower, so I say this with a conclusive mind.
       Now for some sacred writings. Confucianism like Christianity, deals much with behaviorism. I find his analects worth repeating, or rereading. The Qur’an, on the other hand, what I have read of it, implies Christians think they are the only ones going to Heaven, which is negativism right off the bat, and it never stops, and is written in at 8th Grade level, it has some wisdom in it, but it seems it stole it from Judaism’s Tanakh. The Apocrypha, is good for history telling. And Buddhism, from the little I’ve read of the Dhammapada, to which I’ve been to their temples in Bali, Java, Japan, is a book of awareness. Where I lack in, is in Hinduism, the Rig Veda, although I’ve been to India, I’ve yet to study their sacred book, something for the future, the Lord permitting. Also, a most interesting book, in this category, is the two volume edition of the Pseudepigrapha, edited by James H. Charlesworth, of which I have read through, theory, the first volume, and lightly the second.
       And now for my finality, my last words on the subject of writers and writings, perhaps you will find imaginary segments within the book: “Osmoses (Stories, Tales and Verse)” from all these sources, unconsciously threaded into the linings of these stories and poems, along with my world travels, and experiences, it is how it works, for a writer, everything is not all his, it comes from many branches of the river, as it floats out of and back into the ocean. 

Dennis L. Siluk, Dr. H.c.
(Written: 6-29-2015)