Sunday, October 9, 2011

Quotation(s) of the Week: On Literature

This past week has been all about writing.

I've been grading the first drafts of my Brave Writer MLA Research Essay class. I've been writing and publishing parts/chapters of my two stories, and I've been helping my boys write their essay assignments, one writing a "keen observation" essay and the other rewriting a scene from The Hobbit from another character's point-of-view.

And as I write what I consider to be "fluff" writing, I keep thinking about the difference between fiction and literature.

Fiction (what I'm writing right now and the focus of my writing for the past eleven months) is writing stories not based in actual events (like biography and history); they may be loosely based in real life happenings, but they're disguised by the writer so as to be fairly unrecognizable.

Literature is fiction with longevity. It's not just "fluff"; it contains universal themes, quality writing styles, deep character development, and wide appeal. Literature often morphs into a "classic" with the passage of time.

I very much doubt that my current writing projects will become literature, but I hope that some of my future work will aspire to the literary category.

I have jotted down a few quotations about literature that seem memorable to me; I hope you'll find them worthy as well:

"Good literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree."
--Ezra Pound

"It is in literature that the concrete outlook of humanity receives its expression."
--Alfred North Whitehead

"Oh, literature, oh the glorious Art, how it preys upon the marrow of our bones. It scoops the stuffing out of us, and chucks us aside. Alas!"
--D.H. Lawrence

So as we devour fiction and literature and books of all sorts, and as we write what we hope will become literature (or at least hope to be published!), may we express our very hearts in the guise of deeply-resonant characters, exciting plots, lovely writing styles, and memorable prose.

Writing furiously, as always,

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