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Mark Hewitt
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I felt much the same about literature classes when I was in school - I even wrote a classic angsty teenage poem comparing a literature class to carrion birds tearing apart a carcass :) But in university I studied art history, and because we had awesome tutors, what we actually got was a masterclass in every kind of critical/analytical "reading" - of art, literature, music, philosophy. As a result, I saw a new side of criticism (and realised how terribly and unfairly maligned that word is) We learned to connect the threads between all the influences and histories that went up to make a book, artwork or piece of music - the concerns and inspirations in the author's world at the time, the works that went before and to which the piece was a reaction or comment. More than that, they taught us to cut loose our literal brains and play with the associations the piece threw out - to read it like it was a message from the universe or the author's subconscious, and let it spark new avenues of ideas, images and beautiful unfolding patterns. There's no place for "grownup" snarkiness or pedantic practicality in that side of criticism, you have to feel it and let the ideas carry you away. At first, while analysis was a conscious process, it stripped the artworks and stories of all their immersive beauty - I was too busy analysing to "fall into" the world. Over time, as the process became unconscious and automatic, I found myself looking at a painting or reading a book on two levels - the unadulterated joy of the story as it was, and the cloud of associations, symbols, references, in-jokes and tricks that were woven into it. Which is a longwinded way of saying...literature study doesn't have to *take away* magic :)
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Loving the blog right now, Wil. Thought: You could film or record the stories people tell you with the dice and collect them together, it'd be a like a big gamer geek story archive type thingy :)
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Aug 24, 2011