Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On fictions

I'm at work, yet again, with a mostly-quiet bar, which of course means I'm piddling around on the internet. While prowling through various message groups, I found a book review about this:

Mythmakers & Lawbreakers looks like a book I really want to read. As someone very invested in the power of fiction and the study of literature, it seems only natural that I'd be ridiculously excited about this.

I haven't read the book yet, so I've got no commentary of my own, but the review of the work got me thinking about some things. Let me give you a snippet of the review:

A third theme to come out of these interviews wasn't so surprising: politics. Anarchist fiction writers grapple with politics all the time. The politics of writing fiction when the world is dying (see the Derrick Jensen quote, above). Creating an anarchist utopia that is more reality and less utopia. Accurately reflecting the political struggles of everyday life-- including the lives of punks, traveler kids, hackers, pagans, earth first! eco-warriors, and direct action activists. In every interview, Killjoy asks what it means to be an anarchist and a fiction writer. The responses he gets demonstrate how fiction is a political act. While most anarchist writing of our day is limited to real-life ("boring as fuck" -crimethinc.) theory and analysis, anarchist fiction writers play the important role of dreaming what could be and distilling useful stories from what is.
What does it mean to be an anarchist fiction writer? Do we have responsibilities, and if so, what are they? What of 'art for art's sake'? Could it not be said that any true, honest articulation (that particular breed of honesty that is only possible in fiction) of the human experience can, in some way, be an anarchist act? That to look at the world, to relay experience with an unflinching eye toward the real core of truth, is itself a pure distillation of anarchy in action?

In some ways, I believe that fiction can do just as much towards the illumination of truth(s) as "real life.. theory and analysis." I would agree that fiction does indeed play a pivotal role in the oh-so-vital part of our literatures that, I have previously said, we seem to be lacking -- hope. Possibility. Lights in what sometimes feels like an endless void of set-backs, betrayals, fascisms, and heartbreaks. Being able to connect with one honest experience, even if it is seeded with vice, let downs, and unrealized potential (hell, perhaps it is even more valuable if it is), is immesurably important toward creating a new world, even if that experience is one learned through the pages of a novel.

The role of story tellers and fiction weavers is one that I feel we, in our propaganda-saturated, lie filled world, have delegated to the sidelines. In many ways, I feel we don't trust fiction, because we are force-fed it by the media, by those in power, by the very people who claim they are here to "protect" us. But in fiction's defense, I don't believe that every fiction is a lie. Just because we haven't reached that horizon yet doesn't mean that dreaming of it is an act of deception.

How can we create a world if we cannot dream?

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