Thoughts . . . by Mark Rich

. . . scribbled . . . scrawled . . . trimmed . . . typewritten . . . grubbed up . . . squeezed from circumstance . . .

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fresh from Cradle, and Cribbing

The news last week about "novelist" Helene Hegemann, of Berlin, Germany, seems less like news than a re-run confirmation that our Age of Masses is insane in a way quite different from the way the Modern was. Hegemann has used cut-and-paste methods in "writing" her novel -- a natural outcome, perhaps, of living in a global culture in which cut-and-paste refers to an activity no longer restricted to kindergarten.

Hegemann's being up for an award worth $20,000 from the Leipzig Book Fair, however, gives belated recognition to the artistic success of the Activity Book of our childhoods, which usually was printed on newsprint and was meant to be "read" with blunt-tipped scissors and colored wax crayons at hand. We can only hope the Leipzig Book Fair judges have these essential tools within reach; and we can hope the local kindergarten can spare a teacher to supervise judging.

Hegemann's "novel," of course, is only a pimple on the face of a society that has been eating factory food. It comes in for mention here as an example of what this effort of mine, this discussion, stands against.

With all due respect I would suggest Hegemann try to write a short story using a pencil. Writing is the finding of a line to follow -- usually a line that is invisible until the setting of pencil to paper. While a pencil may be used in cribbing, it is such a fine tool for finding lines that reveal inner worlds as well as outer ones that its use might shame even a plagiarist into removing the horrifying mask of Age-of-Masses stupidity.

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