Thursday, June 18, 2015

From their high-towering hopes he hurls mankind to utter destruction

I find myself reading a lot of ancient Greek literature, and German-language literature, and English-language essays on art and literature and morality, and simultaneously I find myself not working away at revisions to the novel I thought I'd be revising this summer. I realize that I have no intention of beginning that revision until I've finished reading all of the Greek tragedies, which is a chunk of reading. I may finish Thucydides' history first, as well. What I am doing with all of the Greek drama and Greek history and German fiction and English essay is, frankly, pushing all of that Chekhov and Shakespeare out of the forefront of my imagination. I have a strong desire to approach writing with a new set of conceits, to shake myself into a new shape before picking up the pen again. Certainly Shakespeare and Chekhov have soaked into my writerly DNA, but surely there must be room for other things, fresh assaults against the same old bulwarks, etc etc und so weiter. Well, we'll see. This is clearly a placeholder post, a note to myself.


  1. It's a good note. Ancient modes and forms are exciting--seep in and do strange things to the writer's mind.

    1. There is a scene at the end of Aeschylus' "The Persians" where Xerxes and the Chorus sing a lament together. Xerxes is conducting the Chorus, there is a call-and-response between them, they join together on some lines, "woe, o woe, woe upon woe." It is marvelous, shivering. I would like to write a passage like that. I had no idea such things were possible. I see something like that on the page and I feel like a dwarf, a puny little writer who needs to grow and grow and grow.