Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Better Late Than Never: I accept, belatedly, your rebuke over Eggers. I am too cynical with this generation of novelists. Still, they remind me so much of precocious 4th-grade students on a lunch-box diet of Pixie Stix and Hi-C, bouncing off the walls with a look-at-me smartypantsedness. I don't dispute the ability of an Eggers or a Franzen to create fine characters or reveal interesting conflict. But Faulkner could do that too, and even he wasn't as pointlessly logorrheic as these clowns (er, novelists) -- and he was pretty pointlessly logorrheic. But emotion and character doesn't come simply from a damn-the-torpedoes flood of consciousness, which is what I get, particularly, from Eggers -- as if he were determined to not only leave in every phrase that plopped from cortex to word processor, but to make it a point of pride. "See? I don't have to edit!" No doubt it isn't as simple as all that; it very well may take a lot of work and editing to achieve that unworked, unedited, stream-of-consciousness-prose effect. It still comes out sounding like a 12-year-old saying "I made a poopie" and thinking it's cutesy-profound.

Speaking of streams of consciousness, I have wandered from my humility. I apologize. Perhaps I'll try David Foster Wallace, who by all reports is the grandpappy of this style. Hell, if you're going to drink the effluent of a disposable society anyway, you might as well drink from the fire hose.

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