Saturday, March 09, 2013

Lars Iyer, Manifestos, Benchley, and the Inspiring Abyss

I'm nearly done with book one of my Jerzy Kosinski marathon (The Painted Bird, a true vision of hell), and I did promise myself I would read three more of his works in order to be truly acquainted with this writer, but I am itching to read Lars Iyer's trilogy Spurious, Dogma, and Exodus, all published by Melville House, one of the best presses in the country. 

In the meantime, I'll whet my appetite with this, Iyer's manifesto, published a while back but, you know, with all the other books, blogs, bits, and bytes bombarding me, not to mention cable and movies and, sometimes, work, I'm late to the game.  A friend once told me that writing manifestos in the age of Facebook seemed silly, and sure, I can understand that stance, but this manifesto does raise some very interesting points, though I might suggest that Iyer's condemnation of a culture that overproduces imitations of literature and publishes more books than there are readers is not unlike his claim that these works ape each other, as his criticism, though spot fucking on, is not all that new.  Robert Benchley said as much in the 1920s. 

As gloomy as this all might sound for would-be writers, critics, editors, and anyone interested in the world of books, physical or otherwise, I find Iyer's manifesto oddly inspiring.  Yes, we are on the precipice, but I happen to like the view.  In this state of reiteration and emulation, I find anything is still possible, and while I would never be dumb enough to try to create a masterpiece, I do realize that any day now someone might and that, fuck it, why not be vain enough to scribble some thoughts from time to time.  In short: Sodom is doomed to fall, but that's no reason not to enjoy the party.

Anyway, the manifesto is useful, thought provoking, funny, and provides perhaps the best advice I've ever seen for aspiring writers.  Sad, true, and duly noted. Give it a read.  What else do you have to do?