Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Nothing

I've been thinking about writing again. Not just about specifically writing something that may ultimately be publishable (that too) but also about writing in general. What it means, what it takes, what qualifies someone to refer to himself as a writer, and even the worth of it. I don't think I could have been a writer fifty or even twenty-five years ago. I'm no student of literature but that strikes me as a time when all writers had to be well, writers. You had to have an actual story to tell with developed characters and an engaging yet relatable plot. That seems really really hard to me.

Fortunately it has now become quite acceptable to write as non-conventionally and as self-absorbed as one chooses. Call it meta fiction or post-moderen referentialism or whatever but writing a stream-of-conciousness yarn about oneself and jumping in and out of random asides is now book worthy if it's clever enough. It's hard to imagine someone like David Eggers or Chuck Klosterman getting published a generation ago but today people find worth and entertainment in their unique writing styles. And I think we have Seinfeld to thank for that.

The first show about "nothing" proved that talking/writing about nothing could actually open a story up to a whole lot of somethings. The same is true of pop culture. Pop Culture really is about nothing. Taken in a vacuumn, there is no substantive worth to Saturday morning cartoons, Star Wars action figures, Junior Great Books, dodgeball, or any other piece of modern trash culture of a certain generation. But talking about them leads to insights about the person telling the story, or his friends, or his home, or any other intersecting object in his world. It leads to "something." And I think that's cool because I could never write a relatable tale about life in a gulag, or dying of cancer, the French Revolution, or true love. I don't know anything about those subjects and I'm certainly not creative enough to invent a complex allegory relating all of them to Man's Quest For Truth. But I do know a lot about all of the little nothings I taste, touch, and see every single day and how they may or may not be a part of a larger but equally meaningless picture. That I know, and I about that I can at least type.

I guess I'm just glad that people's attention spans have shortened, their tolerance for the weird and random has increased, and that maybe because of Seinfeld I can opine on pop culture, writing, and my personal worldview and tie it all together with a title that is an obscure reference to The Neverending Story. I love the 00's.

3 Comments:

At 5/11/2006 5:26 PM, Anonymous Elizabeth said...

I think you've mistitled your post. The Nothing referred specifically to a phenomenon that destroyed imagination. Thus, if you are imagining writing and imagining a story, you are effectively battling The Nothing. (I have this movie on DVD, speaking of dork street cred.)

 
At 5/11/2006 8:06 PM, Blogger Jason said...

In this case I was "conicidentally" using The Nothing in reference to the Seinfeld nothing in order to juxtapose to unrelated pop culturalisms. Of course your deeper examination of the meaning of The Nothing is quite valid however we would then have to spin off into discussions about Luck Dragons and Rock Biters and that would be, well, kind of sad.

 
At 5/11/2006 8:08 PM, Blogger Jason said...

c-o-i-n-c-i-d-e-n-t-a-l-l-y

I realize that I can't type/spell for shit.

 

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