An anti-wednesday experiment in discourse
Explanation: What follows is an attempt at reaching a fuller understanding of anti-tale through a rigid form of process argumentation that I made up.
Beginning with a query and a tentative conclusion, usually arising from a text by significant scholar in the discipline, the argument suggests a series of theses that argue with and nuance the tentative conclusion. Each thesis is supported by an Argument, or evidence from a relevant text, and a Corollary, which usually contains the logic necessary to build one thesis on another.
Hopefully, this experiment will help illumine still further our understanding not only of anti-tale, but of tale and narration, particularly in regards the literature of mythopoeia.
For my query, I’ve chosen to examine E. A. Wilmot’s theory of anti-tale for reasons which should become obvious. The experiment begins below the jump.
As a fantasist, there’s a subtle, insistent pressure to do something new. It’s unspoken that ‘good’ fantasy is ‘new’ fantasy—doing what’s not been done before, telling tales that haven’t been told before. New concepts, new ideas, new everything. Even the trend toward speculative fiction (SF) instead of science fiction (SF) suggests this. Give us weird, incomprehensible worlds, the fashion whispers, not scientific possibilities.
As a writer of fairy tales, there’s a continual, almost chronic, backward gaze. These tales have been told and retold forever and again. Someone told them for the first time once, but who they were, where they were, or what language they spoke—who knows? In a way, they’re speaking to us still
As a contributor to an ongoing blogalectic, Jenna St. Hilaire drew sharply the tension between originality and derivation. How accurate is the writing rule to ‘Be Original’, really, Jenna asks? We’re urged to do something completely original, and yet we cannot seem to escape the backward gaze, writing into the future while listening to the voices of the past. (That’s actually a good working definition of ‘present,’ by the way.)
Today’s great act of rebellion is tomorrow’s everybody’s doing it, and after all that, it was probably done every day in ancient Rome. Just how different can we get, honestly?
The novelist fluttered back into what is popularly thought of as consciousness. He wondered why he was lying on the floor of a whimsical tea shop. A moment thereafter, sixteen ounces of iced tea splashed into his face.
The novelist spluttered. “Glowf,” he remarked. “Blug.”
The sock monkey peered down at him. “Are you all right?”
The novelist scrabbled to his feet. “Glog,” he said. “Glubbe blup—whaa?”
The sock monkey scrunched his forehead worriedly. “I must have got the dose wrong.” He quickly dashed another quart of iced tea with lemon over the novelist.
“I say!” said the novelist.
The sock monkey trotted back around the desk in satisfaction. “Good, glad to hear you say it. Now, what kind of tea were you wanting to buy?”
(c) Gerald Richter
Exhausted words that dribble from faltering pen, enchanted into icy silence. Stillness, memory, listening in wounded silence for the sound of words that will not ring again. These are the songsters, the merrymakers, the mummers–befuddled through sleep-ridden eyes.
They have lost the words of singing.
Outside on the streets, worship the rush and the warp. Here come the paraders, masqueraders, riddlers, tippling their wares for the fortieth share of a half-worn drumlin. Dash the worn pages from weary hands, tumble away those fools who cannot keep their feet. These are the rulers, the aspiring ones, the pursuit of a nullified dream.
They are not laughing, these hordes. They are not weeping. These are the ones who run, success in their eyes and their dreams at their teeth, sand falling from their sacks to drivel in rivers at their heels. They will not turn around to see, nor will they speak of it if you ask.
(c) 2009 The Writer's Block
Both love and poetry, of course, are staples of fantasy literature. That’s not the main reason you see them boldly at the byline, though.
I’ve been following The Writer’s Block with some interest since its conception. A young, eclectic, international literary journal from Canada, they’re out to rediscover poetry, and human emotion, and many other things editor Ben Gehrels explains on the website better than I could.
Part of that rediscovery process is their forum, a scrum of ideas and questions that can’t fit into an issue. For a few months now, one of the topics there has been the love poem. The conversation has taken several unique turns, landing at last on that bizarre cohesion of theory, praxis, writing, and musicals that we here at the Paradoxes love .
I hadn’t but finished my latest reply when I realized you dear people would probably have thoughts of your own to contribute. So, courtesy the Writer’s Block Forum, welcome to the conversation.