Have you produced any literature lately?


The word literature conjures up the notion of high-brow writing, as if working stiffs cannot aspire to produce it.

I reject the  notion that literature is a type of writing reserved for ivory tower intellectuals or writers of “literary fiction,” whatever that may be.

In truth, I believe literature is often just a word applied to works that have stood the test of time or are contemporary examples of fun, interesting reads.

I don’t mean fun as in ha ha, necessarily.  More like fun as in intriguing, mesmerizing.

I doubt that Dostoevsky was worried about writing literature when he cobbled together a chapter at a time in some of the greatest books of the last one hundred and fifty years to pay off his gambling debts.  I doubt Ray Bradbury knew he was producing literature when he wrote Fahrenheit 451 in nine days on a rented typewriter at a public library.

Today, in some obscure setting, a writer is bent over a keyboard pecking out a few words that someone may read and enjoy, and maybe a generation of readers will find and enjoy. If that happens, then in a university somewhere years from now, a literature professor may add it to her syllabus and teach it to her students, who will view it as literature.

So, I suppose I am saying that labels are applied to books in hindsight. No one knows as  he writes something if it has that magic something that will cause it to stand out from other works, to receive accolades, to ascend to the heights.

That’s  not really what writing is about.  Rather writing is about immersion into a subject that fascinates the author to the extent that he must address it, even if his effort is halting and uncertain.

And if he stays with it, sees it all the way to the end, doesn’t worry about the critics or the academics, he may, just may, piece together enough words to make a good story.

Perhaps even literature.


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