Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Close Reading

I’ve discovered a few truths since beginning this blog, the most important of which is that my personal opinions and reflections might actually be interesting to other people. Also that most people who read my blog know me personally, and might therefore be interested in my ramblings.

I’ve often scoffed at writers who write from places so far inside their own heads as to be nauseatingly solipsistic (def. extreme preoccupation with and indulgence of one's feelings, desires, etc.; egoistic self-absorption). And I certainly have never wanted to be numbered among that set.

But lately I’ve found that I am fascinated by my friends’ writings that hover in between solipsism and philosophy. Rather than writing reams of detached observations interrupted by stream-of-consciousness depictions of highly intimate physical experiences (I don’t find your bodily functions titillating, sorry), as a certain artsy writerly set is wont to do, these writers use their experiences to connect with readers. They aren’t trying to draw readers into their minds; they lead the readers to wonder with them and think more deeply about themselves. Instead of bearing witness to a monologue a la Hamlet—the prince of solipsism, the reader is engaged in a dialogue with the writer. The autobiographical style still strikes me as self-indulgent, but it works, and I am at once envious of and deeply grateful to my friends who write with such power.

So while I will continue to post various articles that haven’t yet found homes in print, I’ll also try out a few more personal ventures in writing. The first of which is my reaction to a recently printed article in the LA Times. See next post.

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