I flared up yesterday at a facebook friend’s post. I hate those sudden bursts of anger, since my goal in life (aside from being a good writer and a good friend) is to be even-tempered. It was not politics, it was literary theory — the idea that there is a dichotomy between fiction about people and ’cause’ fiction, fiction with a political agenda, and that cause fiction is inferior. I am pretty sure I misunderstood what my friend was saying.
My response was not so much about the friend’s post, as it was about my own issues. I dislike literary fiction that is about personal and familial problems. I suspect this strain in US fiction derives from the McCarthy witch-hunting era, which (I think) stripped politics out of American art and literature. We are still dealing with the effects. Genre fiction mostly escaped the witch-hunting, because it wasn’t taken seriously. My own work has been criticized for being too political, so I have a personal interest here. Yes, my work is political. I don’t think it makes it less good. In fact, I think it makes it more interesting.
But what is important here (to me) is my anger flare up had very little to do with my friend’s post and a lot to do with my own issues. What interesting (I guess) is the flare up is about writing, not politics by itself.
Writing is my way to be political.