I mosey around the internet on a fairly regular basis, when time and energy permit. Primarily, I visit blogs by other writers and poets and often there is some discussion about contemporary writers which inevitably expands to accomodate a variety of opinions. Sometimes I comment, although not with any serious intent to impart wisdom or sway someone to my side of the gate. Usually I write something silly and leave. Always I’m ignored. 😉 Anyway, on the heels of my rag chewing event yesterday, regarding the crap lining the shelves in various book selling venues, I felt that post needed some balance. See? I’m not completely devoid of seeing the sunny side of the egg. 😮 Therefore, I’ve been thinking about the emergence of some literary giants within the past forty six years (my age).
First, I never intentionally read crap. If I do read crap, it’s usually a paperback accident foisted upon me by an acquaintance, and after I disinfect my head and eyes I vow to never be hoodwinked again. I’m down to two hoodwinks a year so I’m making progress. I’m not a difficult reader to please. I expect the author to be able to spell, understand where to place prepositions, utilize commas correctly, avoid fucked up tenses, be consistant and respect periods. Experimental anything should never be attempted unless you know what you are doing. Everything else is a matter of taste.
I’ve three writers I adore. They are brilliant because they produce quality work, they are original and their writing will stand the test of time. Remember, these are just humble assumptions of literary greatness from this mere peasant.
JONI MITCHELL: I know this seems a bit odd and out of whack, but beyond her iconic musical status and undisputed artistic genius, she is first and foremost a poet. I’ve a deep respect for her both as an artist and a woman. Many years ago, a group of my friends I were gathered around a fire pit at a lake in Northern Ontario. After consuming far too much beer and smoking way too many cigarettes, the conversation meandered it’s way around the meaning of life, our plan to make a million by thirty years of age and our socially conscious superiority to our parents. Doesn’t it always when you’re young and full of bullshit? Eventually, my friend asked if each of us only had a week to live, what famous person, dead or alive, would we most like to meet. The obvious names were mentioned: Einstein, Socrates, Marilyn Monroe, John Kennedy, Martin Luther King etc… Me? I wanted to meet Joni. Twenty six years later, I still have the same answer. She is as relevant to me now as she was then. She has broken through so many social restrictions, it would take all day to list them. Although she lives in California and has for many years, she is the truest of Canadians.
Books: Joni Mitchell, The Complete Poems And Lyrics.
ALICE SEBOLD. She has lived, suffered some very real horror and after immersing herself in the darkness that could have buried her, she emerged valiant. She is incredibly gifted.
Books: Lucky, The Lovely Bones, The Almost Moon
ANN MARIE MACDONALD. Multitalented doesn’t even begin to describe the depth of this writers ability. She is a playwrite, novelist and has even completed an opera libretto. I’m in awe. I can honestly say I will never achieve this level of competence as a writer.
Books: Fall On Your Knees, As The Crow Flies