Thursday, October 13, 2005


JH: I don't think a writer needs to be consciously epical to produce an epic, any more than one needs to be programmatically surrealist in order to write surrealist poetry. I'm not writing in MONSTER with the idea of epic. I didn't start out with the idea of epic, rather. I like how a text is out of the writer's hands (I initially wrote "reader's hands" - which is equally, if not more, true) once it arrives to the reader. A reader may assign the term "epic" to MONSTER, and indeed MONSTER in time may develop epic traits. Perhaps a long work "naturally" assumes these characteristics? When does the picturesque / episodic become the epic? Is it a matter of opinion, except for those works that are clearly (classically) epic? Speaking of long projects, and Digital Cellular Phone, could you write something about Digital Cellular Phone?

AHB: The picturesque / episodic becomes epic when the intensity coheres. The tale grew in the telling, said Tolkien about The Hobbitt, or maybe it was the trilogy. The writing reached a point of intensity and seriousness for Tolkien, not mere tales to tell the offspring, and the story became epic. DCP is something that grew in telling. Growing in fact from the title, which had pregnant implications for me. It is another attempt by me to write a daily project. Now, I write daily as a matter of course, thru thick or thin, but it is difficult to maintain focus on a single extensive project. It means I mull it thru out the day, it means I look forward to when I can write more, it means accepting the challenge amidst the distractions of life. I've been reading Rilke's Letter to a Young Man, and feel his utterly romantic view of writing. Rilke's a bit hyper something-or-other in his presentation, but his sense of commitment rings favourably with me. DCP repersents an attempt to maintain my commitment to the work. The title page lists where it was written, which includes the house in which Beth's father died (we were there cleaning it out). I like that sense of place and of process evident. Somewhere in the midst of its writing, I think I decided to put it online, so the challenge of learning how to do that (rudimentarily, I know) was a hidden part of the process. Anyway, tangent-time, I was just thinking of Rilke in his tower, Yeats in his, Jung in his, and you could add Dedalus and Mulligan in theirs, and one could infer a sort of radio network up there. Do you ever write 'like that'? I mean, do you sense writing angels, or radio waves of creative energy, or connection to the empyrean? I'm serious, tho the tower image came to me in a humourous way.


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