Monday, January 31, 2011
It has been very difficult to figure out how to explain the unifying principle of my compilation, Mangled Doves. I am not sure if that is a valid selling point or a harsh criticism of the book. However, I must answer for this collection of musings from a baffled and often confusing soul. In my story-fragment The Cherubs of Sablewing, an administrative character complains about the bias of my stylistic excesses, asking, "Why don't you focus that rhetoric on the good image? You want people to think you are happy, don't you?"
As for my writing style, I had a reputation for delightfully "sending my readers running for a Dictionary." I never actually outgrew that habit, but I did realize that it was counter-productive. In an effort to compensate for such childishness, I have included a Glossary at the end of the book, where I can more appropriately flaunt my extensive vocabulary. But, I have been told that including a Glossary is just as pretentious as needing to include one.
I expect that many readers will inquire about my favorite writings, so I will discuss them in advance. I find the greatest curiosity in the transitional poems, such as "Building Blocks," which represents the first indication of an urge for creative expression, or "The Torn Letter," which constitutes my first effort at technically competent versification, or "Twenty-Seven," which signals a full centrality in the Miscellany section, in which I had fully moved on from my failed relationship with Debbie, but had not yet begun to be smitten by The Vixen. The long poem, A Picture of Her Face will always be my proudest moment in poetry, if not for its ruthless brutality in portraying the complexity of the relationship, then for its surprising virtuosity in maintaining a complex rhyming scheme in a subtle and dynamic structure. In prose, I will always delight in the contrast between Int Dat Cute's flashy, formulaic style and the slow, methodical pacing of Footprints on the Wall. The "Wander-Sea" passages are not really short stories, but captivate with their mysterious meaningfulness nonetheless. But for all the gravity and pain in this collection, the novella This and That flaunts a flagrant disrespect for literary convention with its comic disdain for reader expectations and narrative technique. I cannot forget the "Imagination" texts, which, along with "A Modest Proposal," constitute my first philosophical writings, however tongue-in-cheek they were.
In The Cherubs of Sablewing, my narrator's response to the questions was "I want people to think what is." As for the unifying principle of the book, I will only guide you this far: Don't neglect the "Unfinished Verses and Prose Fragments."