I haven't written a real, big essay in a long time. (A few tiny example ones, for students.) We ask them to write them all the time, but...
to a PhD program--maybe--so I need one. Don't have very many good ones
sitting around. Have to start from scratch. And it is funny. I feel
like Dostoyevsky and a genius, sitting there, working on Fiction / my
novel. But scared a tiny bit about this.
Here's my two ideas !
A. Magical Realism thought to have Latin
American origins [fine]. And it's fiction, right ? But, then, the
brand of poetry I like best... [I mean, I can like different kinds.
Maybe the most like what I write, most of time]: James Tate, Russell
Edson, Mark Strand, Charles Simic, Billy Collins…Richard Garcia, Diana
Hartog, Cynthia Rylant…Gerald Stern, Marvin Bell..."
oftentimes stuff like that called Neo-Surrealism, for example; but I
don't think that's true. I think it's more like Magical Realism. So,
the essay could be called "The Case for a Magical Realistic Poetry." I
almost want to say "Magically Delicious"--like Lucky Charms. (Or: one
time I thought up the name: "The Harlequin Romantics." Thought that was
cute--and I don't use the word cute very often.)
B. Just to
write something about Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games... -- what
I'm into lately. (If I was accepted, I think I'd want to study where
and if YA Fantasy & Magical Realism converge.)
Or just: why
Harry Potter so successful, the others less so. Look at their
influences, precursors: Charles Dickens, 1984, romance novels. (You
know: Stephenie Meyer says Romeo & Juliet, Wuthering Heights...but I
don't think so similar, in form. Maybe content, if lucky.)
even stuff like Frankenstein or Bram Stoker's Dracula--but definitely
watered down. Basically: giving us what a regular Hollywood movie would
give us: a little action, romance, comedy--everything.
Then, that it's kind of formulaic.
is the real thing I believe in lately -- even the experiment I'm trying
to prove by writing a book myself. That it can be nailed down,
duplicated. (And I usually say YA Fantasy, but... it's pretty big --
maybe more like Dostoyevsky, I wish.)
Even... I used to write
poetry; then...took me a while to figure out: no one likes poetry. So,
and I like Harry Potter, stuff like that. (And before that: Ray
Bradbury. And, for example--w/ Magical Realism: love Haruki Murakami's
Hard-boiled Wonderland at the End of the World--and Richard Brautigan's
In Watermelon Sugar...)
Anyhow... So I felt like I was slumming a
tiny bit, or just going where the money is, when I started writing
Fantasy. Even: made the comment one time: "Writing YA Fantasy is like
shooting fish in a barrel." I'm not making fun of people -- b/c it is
an art -- J.K. Rowling a genius -- but just that sometimes: Doesn't
matter what the book's about. Just has to have some monster or bad guy
in it. Something magical, some kids doing something, and they'll buy
it, make a movie out of it. For example: Percy & the Lightning
Thieves, Beautiful Creatures...
Then, not just A. that I'm trying
to say "No, it's Magical Realism," but: B. Even though I'm writing
something like YA Fantasy, I still come at it like I'm writing
Dostoyevsky's The Idiot or Brothers Karamazov. Like: I want it to be a
classic--and that well-written. Down to the smallest detail: obsessing
over punctuation, dashes. (Did I mention I love dashes ?)
do think of Dostoyevsky as being the Master, incidentally. I used to
idolize / love him, and hate Tolstoy. Tried to read Anna Corrine
[spelling intentional] and War & Peace. Couldn't. Stopped after
certain number of pages. (Just like with Fountainhead or Atlas
Shrugged: there, could read 2/3.)
Anyhow...Used to think:
Dostoyevsky & Tolstoy living in exact same time period, but D. =
funny / action-packed, deeply philosophical and T = just plain dull.
But reading Anna Karenina now, for a book-club, and I guess I was
wrong. Think a bang-up job of writing, and pretty deep, too. (Maybe:
just so much about marriage / family / relationships -- and that not the
first thing I look for, in writing.)
Anyhow, main point: I
already said it. Trying to write something like YA Fantasy in the
manner of Dostoyevsky. And been thinking about it lately: that explains
why it's so long. I am a tiny bit self-conscious about that. 580 pp.
-- and it's just the first half. But--recently read: J.R.R. Tolkien's
Lord of the Rings originally not a trilogy, but one book. So I'm not
crazy. It's okay to be epic.
And if Peter Jackson can turn The
Hobbit into not just two films, but two films, I can have my first book
be huge times two. However, I guarantee: book two will be smaller. B/c
it's a lot of work.
Okay / Sincerely !