authors and magicians

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Wed May 9 17:06:15 EDT 2001


>There is no College of Magid Authors. There is a group of writers, 
>loosely affiliated, who like what the others are doing and derive 
>strength, hope, and ideas from each other. In THIS world, the world 
>of this internet message, they deal with agents and contracts, and 
>with the physical labor of putting together X thousand words. They 
>also derive some satisfaction when they have, in those X thousand 
>words, managed to explore the fictional world, which REFERS to our 
>world, in which Deep Secrets are explored, slantwise.
>What can be frustrating to readers of these books (and I should say 
>to be fair I have been caught in this situation myself) is that we 
>are missing the knowledge in this world of who these quite human, 
>usually quite private people writing these things are, and this 
>makes it easier to get tangled in the confusing web of metaphor and 
>reference--to go something like: "Jones wrote this wonderful book 
>that opened up a whole new set of ideas about the way the world 
>works to me. Jones wrote about this with a device where someone like 
>me, the reader, meets up with a fictional world... kind of like me 
>reading this book! Whoa, so the writer of the book must be saying 
>that she is like the Arch mage who made the fictional world, and 
>must really be in on the Real Knowledge that the book talks 
>about..."  You see where I'm heading.
>In any case, exploring magic as a metaphor can be a dangerous thing 
>for a writer and reader (just as magic is usually held to be 
>dangerous, powerful stuff), BECAUSE it is unknown. In this regard, 
>what Jones and a few other people do can be edgy stuff: they are 
>offering readers a chance to enter a fictional world which is itself 
>insane, in terms of the world in which I'm typing this at a computer 
>in my office. What they point out is that parts of that insanity are 
>also the source of the wonder, art, love, etc.
>Confused? See what talking about this stuff straight-on does? See 
>why people use fiction to deal with it?

A little bit - but then it's heading for late, and I'm a bit 
sleep-deprived anyway, and it would probably be better to leave it 
til later, but, it was too interesting.

One thing that's confusing me is why you say this can be frustrating 
for the reader.  It seems as if you're saying that the writer of the 
book can use metaphor to explore all kinds of truths, but that the 
*reader* of said book using metaphor to discuss the book or the 
author is in danger of being out of touch with reality, or blundering 
into confusing the author with characters in the fictional world he 
or she has created.

Which seems a bit - well, needlessly worrying? not trusting the 
intelligence of the reader?  something like that. To me, at any rate. 
But I'm not sure I quite got what you were saying in the first place.


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