Truth, writing, and journalistic practice

Due to the previously recounted writers block that was in full effect yesterday (an obscene amount of whining about and a rather, uh, heated discussion about content and ultimately some organizational suggestions from my parents has allowed for progress), I found myself discussing writing with a friend of mine. As I have not read anything of hers, of late, that wasn’t an email I can’t tell you exactly what kind of writing it is that she does, but I’m fairly certain it is of the personal essay kind (when it isn’t directly for school).

Earlier today I was reading an essay in an old issue of The Believer, July 2003, in fact. Protesting All Fiction Writers! by Tom Bissell, wherein he discussed the Underground Literary Alliance, who sound thoroughly crazy and often rather unpleasant. You can find them online (or you could back then). At one point he gets into the fact that writing is a solipsistic endeavor. Here’s the quote (I found it!):

“…the problem with novels is that they are written by novelists, all of whom necessarily share a basic similarity of foundational experience: bookishness, self-absorption, perceived alienation. Oftentimes, this can lead to shrunkenly personal work…”

Here is the note I made in my journal/bound pieces of scrap paper after reading that line:

Are journos (journalists) less self-absorbed than novelists? Is the outward goal of journalism, the banality & REPORTING a different drive from the novelist? Continue reading