Tuesday, August 7, 2012

from reality hunger: a manifesto, by david shields

The etymology of fiction is from fingere (participle fictum), meaning 'to shape, fashion, form or mold.' Any verbal account is a fashioning and shaping of events. (10)
Collage, the art of reassembling fragments of preexisting images in such a way as to form a new image, was the most important innovation in the art of the twentieth century. (19)
On Bernard Cooper's Maps to Anywhere: 'Maps to anywhere' comes to mean (comes to ask): when a self can (through language, memory, research, and invention) project itself everywhere, and can empathize with anyone or anything, what exactly is a self? (24)
As a work gets more autobiographical, more intimate, more confessional, more embarrassing, it breaks into fragments. Our lives aren't prepackaged along narrative lines and, therefore, by its very nature, reality-based art--underprocessed, underproduced--splinters and explodes. (27)
Contemporary narration i the account of the manufacturing of the work, not the actual work. What I'm interested in: the startling fragment, left over rom the manufactured process. Not the work itself but the story of the marked incident, the whole industry surrounding a work's buzz. We want the vertiginous details. (36)
I don't feel any of the guilt normally attached to 'plagiarism,' which seems to be organically connected to creativity itself. (38)
Autobiography is ruled by chronology and is date-driven. It's a line running through time, punctuated by incident. The very thing that would seem to be the basis of autobiographical writing--a life over time--is not the ground the memoir can stand on. It has to root itself in the same dilemmas and adventures as poetry and fiction. It has to make a story. In doing that, it has to disregard a lot of life.  The inevitable incompleteness of memoir may account for the fact that people can write more than one memoir. Presumably, you would write only one autobiography. You can write multiple memoirs, thought, coming at your life from different angles. (41)

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