Sunday, 18 October 2009

It's late at the bookstore and two flies are wrestling

It never seems that there is an absolutely ideal time to post - but 3 am Greek time is as good of one as any. I'll admit to feeling a little bit of blog-writer's block lately. Life here in the bookstore is repetitive, it changes in barely noticeable increments, but there is something so ineffably relaxing and grounding about it. Nonetheless, there have been revelations (if only incremental) and it seems that the blog being what it is, I should share some of those here. And so, in the grand tradition of the blog, I will list my recent revelations in the order that I find them to be most impressive - impressive to who is a great question. Especially when I'm asking the great hulking mystery of the internet - though "Who are you trying to impress?" is a question I'd like to ask myself a lot more often anyway. See? See? Leave me in a Greek bookshop and I get all kinds of reflective.

But onto the tiny revelations of so far.

1. In our society we place far too much importance on individual achievements rather than collective ones.

Okay, so you probably saw this one coming with socialist-sounding talk about why Homer was probably written by several poets over time and why we should all definitely be okay with that and see it as some sort of grand structure, like a cathedral, that could only be built through the collective effort of many individuals and the knowledge, hindsight, whatever you'll call it of many generations. But I was also prompted to think about how much we undervalue work by a collective when I was reading Raymond Carver's "What we talk about when we talk about love." Some of you may have already heard the lore about this collection - that the stories were so heavily changed by his editor Alfred A Knopf, who basically created what many always identified as Carver's unique minimalist style, that you could say they were co-creators of whatever made those stories magic.
Now a lot of people, myself initially included, would be inclined to be annoyed at the fact that Knopf had so much to do with Carver's legacy - that Carver wasn't given more creative room to move. But, to sound like a psychologist or particularly tuned in teacher for a moment, can I ask why we are annoyed? Could it be because we are uncomfortably attached to the idea of a lone genius making work in his basement? At the end of the day, it may just be possible that Carver is great because there were two people involved in that greatness. And what the heck is wrong with that?

2. I am excited about theatre because it is live. I am excited abouttheatre because it is now. I am excited about theatre because you have to *literally* be in the right place at the right time. And even if this sounds obvious, I also need to be reminded of it in the moment, live, at the right place and the right time for it to really hit home.

There's just nothing else like it. More on this later, but for now my here and now inspiration is more preoccupied with the desire to sleep that the desire to explain itself. So for now, here's to incremental revelations, and explaining them to the blog incrementally.

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