Monday, November 24, 2008

A Perennial Lament

I'm a writer living in New York. Not always, but often, I write about New York: my stories are set in my neighborhood, populated by the types of people I run up against each day. I have to do this. When I don't do this, the work feels contrived and overblown. I've tried fantastical rollicking satire of the Barthelme kind (Barthelme lived in New York), but I'm... not good at it? So, yeah, I have a lot of stories about walking dogs, going to parties, breaking up, making dirty jokes with friends, and eating pizza -- all against the backdrop of gritty, hilarious upper-upper Manhattan. They're not all good, but some of them are, I think, good.

Nobody likes this. People get angry about it before they've even read it. It's discouraging. However, something that's partly comforting to me (and partly more discouraging) is the idea that people don't hate it because it's in New York, they hate it because it's about mundane quotidian stuff.

But is it really so mundane? Why, even when it's based on sad, disturbing events, does my fiction always come off like an Archie comic?

Better than a Cathy comic, I suppose.

1 comment:

Gregory said...

I have no fear of the quotidian. I'd be happy to read stuff like that.