Sunday, January 30, 2011

Riding High!

This week was an unusually productive week for the WFJ, as I wrote and posted two new projects dear to my heart.  Taken with the modest progress I've been making in my personal and "professional" life, I feel fairly good about myself, thank you very much. 

It's been a little fun playing "grown-up" since the new year began.  As a newly certified and licensed teacher, I've been visiting districts and wearing suits and generally walking around like a bad ass, using my undeniable charisma to sow the seeds for work as a substitute teacher!  I even made business cards for myself! 

(Redacted, to keep strangers from mailing me strange things)

It's true, I have not actually gotten any work yet.  But it comes in time, I hear.  Especially when you've got business cards.

Now enough about work, because work is boring.  Boring!  Let's talk about art.  I've got a couple of things lined up for the next couple of weeks, including an essay, a classic story recently mined from the vaults, and another batch of Poetry Jam-brand poems for digestion, rumination, and/or contemplation.  All of them should be quite tasty, and I look forward to adding them to my canonical oeuvre.  But for now, a few comments on this week's new additions

The Wolf of Albright is a horror story, of a kind.  There is an art to terror in which I am not well-learned.  Being a coward, I know fear when I see it, but unfortunately my avoidance of things which scare the hell out of me has stunted my understanding of the mechanics of producing fright.  It's very possible that Wolf isn't very scary to anyone but me.  I'm sorry!  Maybe if I'd been like the cool kids and watched Friday the 13th thirty times before I was twelve, I would have picked up a few tricks.  That's a scary story, right?

But you know, horror is only a genre, and its purpose doesn't necessarily begin and end with scaring.  There are some generous nuggets of philosophy, characterization, and self-expression that I've sprinkled throughout, couched in a tale of serial murders and highly defective personalities.  Horror is only a means to an end, and if it's one of the story's weak links, then I have other means at my disposal which will hopefully work better.  In any event, I promise not to scare the reader very often.

Self-Portrait at the End of the World sort of sneaked onto the website unheralded, and I think it's about time I heralded the thing.  It is exactly what its title suggests: a self-portrait of the author, who is David Miller, who is me.  Now a portrait is a picture and a picture is an image, so applying the term "self-portrait" to a collection of words may strike you as anything from counter-intuitive to frankly stupid.  But it reflects a theory of mine that I have recently developed about the nature and purpose of art which I will explore more thoroughly later; namely, that the purpose of art is to reduce the artist to an abstraction.  In that spirit, the composition and structure of the poem are highly abstracted, and the semantic value of the words is (almost!) contextually meaningless. 

What meaning they do possess, as well as the meaning of the poem in general and my justification for deeming it a self-portrait, are but a few of the themes of next week's upcoming essay.  For now, I offer only one hint for the confused reader: the poem may be read as two poems, written in alternating lines.  It doesn't make much more surface sense that way, but it is remarkably easier to read (especially out loud). 

That is all, dear readers.  Let's congratulate ourselves for making it through January.

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