Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bird North (the original)

Apparently you can't be original. If you try to be original, you won't be. It will be forced, fake, cringe-worthy. For a while there, people concluded that there is no such thing as originality and everything is a copy of something else, so don't hide it, embrace the copy, the fake, make that the point of the thing.

I think originality is not about form, or style, or saying something new. It is about being honest, it's about finding the truth. And I don't mean the facts, I'm not much for the purity of fact, I mean the emotional truth. That thing where you don't hide from what has to be said, even if it is ugly or shallow or silly or stupid. I'm a bit bored of being told nothing is new, because I read writing all the time that is new and fresh and makes me feel like I'm back at high-school again, baffled and out-of-my-depth.

There is plenty of ugly, silly, shallow and stupid men in Breton Dukes' collection of short stories and I loved them all. They made me cringe and gasp and think it's all just wrong. These stories are so wrong, why is there a sex scene in almost every one? Why don't these guys grow up and treat women better? How can they do such stupid things? But then that's the point, part of the reason it's so wrong is because it's so right. Some of these stories aren't easy to read and they might make you cringe. The trick is to ask yourself why.

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