Aaron J. Clarke's Blog
October 8, 2010
Love is such a profound emotion that drives us to despair and to ecstasy. Without the object of our desire, we languish in the turbulent ocean that threatens to extinguish our life. I, like everyone who has ever loved, have suffered the consequences of the unrequited love. We go on trying to recapture those emotions that brought untold joy with another person, who, we hope, will ignited that flame in our hearts. Yet with the passage of time, we grow weary; moreover, we become disconnected from love. The person that I cherished - more than life itself - cruelly rejected me. However, instead of feeling sorry for myself, I used those raw emotions as elements in my writing. In literature the lover can be rescued from the amorous abyss, and instead reclaim those they love. Nevertheless, as I grow older I have started to reject such claims. Is the ideal lover really worth the sacrifice of one’s ideals, one’s reason d’être for living? No! What matters is how we view such sentiments; we must use logic for an illogical emotion, namely that love is not worth the trouble for belittling oneself. What I am advocating is a different type of love: an appreciating of nature, music and literature. When we hear, for instance, Bach’s ‘Mass in B minor’ we are filled with joy at the sublimity of the music. Moreover, those same feelings are similar to what we experience when we falling in love. Space and time become infinite they become eternal: it is precisely those emotions that art, music and literature engender in the fertile minds of the observer. On the other hand, to kiss and to caress those we love cannot be negated through sensory stimulates like music and literature: because physical contact are visceral drives that are hardwired into living organisms. Instead, art and literature serve the purpose for which it was intended, namely to stimulate those visceral drives in humans. In essence, human culture is required in order to provoke yearning in those who have or have not experience true love. No matter how we, humans, try to rationalise the irrational experience of falling in love through art and literature this emotion is beyond anything that culture can adequately define. In its place, culture stimulates those sentiments through psychological means, namely the placement of notes on a music score, or the placement of words on the page of a novel. What I am advocating is both the appreciation of culture and the person, whom we cherish.
September 21, 2010
Fame is a fleeting phenomenon that transforms a nobody into a somebody. Yet there comes a price for those wish to acquire fame – lack of privacy. The media publically dissects the aspirant’s life, exposing their jardin secret to societal ridicule. The media doesn’t care, in the slightest, whether their exposé adversely affects the lives’ of the celebrity. What concerns the media is making money. In this atmosphere, the celebrity is disconnected from the world around them. Instead, they insulate themselves from the media by becoming reclusive or eccentric. Moreover, some celebrities need public adulation to justify their existence. Like any drug, such people become addicted to being in the limelight. The relationship between the celebrity and the media is one sided. The media will metaphorically drain the celebrity of their life force until there is nothing left. Once the media has cannibalised the celebrity they move on to their next victim. The tragedy is when a once famous person tries to regain the spotlight; they either succeed or fail to gain attention. Moreover, such people become a joke that the public point their finger to laugh at. Even so, the seeker of fame believes that the fate of others like Michael Jackson or Princess Dianna will not happen to them. Instead, they delude themselves into believing that the media and the public will treat them fairly. In hindsight, the celebrity will learn that their logic is flawed: because the public enjoys ridiculing those, who they believe have everything, in order to compensate for their own inadequacies. For those who wish to become famous perhaps it is best to reconsider this desire, or else be warned.
September 14, 2010
Is there a technique to writing? The public would have you believe that writers need to be inspired in order to write. I would like rebuke this belief by saying that as a writer the art of composition is an acquired skill learnt from reading authors whom we cherish. Through our literary evolution we begin to divert from the style of our idolised writer; instead, we develop our own, unique voice. Writing is an intimate relationship between the writer and the reader. Such a relationship is built on trust. The trust that the reader has for his favourite author: this trust is based on a number of premises, namely that the writer will satisfy the reader’s desire to be entertained, to be moved. The writer must try not to upset his readership; however, the medium in which a writer conveys their stories can, over time, become stagnant – the words lose their emotional resonance with the reader. Therefore, a writer is obliged to revitalise their writing. How does a writer revive their writing without alienating his audience? I believe that some of the writer’s audience will be let down, whereas others, including people who have not read his work, will be drawn to the writer’s new literary creation. I suggest the best way in which to learn the art of writing is to read. Moreover, by reading a particular genre, say nineteenth century novels, you start copying the mannerism of that particular period. Then the writer could write like Dickens or James. Now that you have acquired the mannerism and technique of such writers, you can apply them to a modern setting. For instance, subject matter that the idolised writer dare not write about publically without resorting to literary device to suggest things like homosexuality. Instead, the modern writer can openly talk about things that were taboo in the nineteenth century. Once the writer has learnt the skills of a particular style there is nothing stopping him to go off on a tangent and read genres like SF and Fantasy. What I am suggesting is to read a range of writers, learn their technique, and apply them in a postmodern way. The hard part for any writer is the process of writing. If you wait to be inspired then it could take a lifetime. I suggest writing for an hour whatever comes to mind. Do not edit your work because that inhibits creativity. Once you have written a page, then go back to it the next day and then edit it. Then continue to write what comes to mind and repeat the process of editing the next day. Hopefully, you will have developed the elements of a short story or, better still, a novel. Like work, a writer must put in the hours. After a couple of months, the writer will have accumulated a piece of writing. Only after you have finished the short story or novel can you start the process of cutting out unnecessary words and phrases: you must be ruthless with you work. Now that the manuscript has been edited several times and you have received critical feedback from a friend: you should now approach a publisher. It is natural for a writer to get numerous rejection letters, what distinguishes a writer is to ask himself the grounds for why his book has been rejected. Perhaps, your literary novel does not fit the publisher’s catalogue of fantasy. If this is the case then approach publishers, who publish the genre of your book. Speaking from experience, it does hurt when you receive rejection letters, but you must turn that disappointment into transforming your attitude. It is impossible to please every literary critic. Nevertheless, you must believe in yourself as a writer.
I have just republished my novella “Epiphany of Life” on Smashwords. This website is a godsend for those who are serious about being published. I believe that Ebooks, in time, will replace paperbacks; however, like photography some will stick to the traditional format. The question that remains to be asked is whether Ebooks are archival like books, which have been around for hundreds of years. With each year, computer technology advances exponentially: so there is a danger that formats like PDF will become obsolete in years to come. If this does happen then Ebooks on old formats may be rendered unreadable in a hundred years time. Nevertheless, such shortcomings may be avoided because computers will, more than likely, have the ability to decipher old formats. The writer lives in an exciting century with the advent of the internet, however, the quality of the written word may become banal. What do other writers think regarding Ebook publishing?