Sunday, January 9, 2011

It's just that easy.

When Andrew Hurley had some difficulty in titling his translation of Borges's El hacedor, he ran into the good luck of hearing that JLB had originally named the book in English, The Maker, and simply translated it into the Spanish. With ease, then, he could bring back the original title, rather than attempt to identify which specific definition Borges's had had in mind when he chose the word hacedor.

In my experience, this is the way the world works. In much the same way that Bret Easton Ellis was able to clutter Imperial Bedrooms with last names, cell phones, Myspace pages, and threatening text messages, the world provides artists with the means to continue their craft successfully.

Consider the following: in the book I am currently reading, a woman kills a man, then uses his cell phone to get in touch with the people he's been hanging out with. I think she plans on killing them too, but I haven't gotten that far. Even the idea of the cell phone, in the long life of literature is quite modern, but the major innovation is the above mentioned text message. How else could she get in contact with the people in this dead guy's address book without calling them up and being asked to provide proof that this guy isn't worm food. The world provides and the dude abides. Two main rules of life. ("I'm kidding," the old Kurt Vonnegut stand-by.)

As a writer, I feel it is necessary to note facts like these: there are stories that you can tell and stories that you can't, so you need to be able to differentiate the two. Because of this, it is necessary to know when a problem with something you're writing will be temporary or permanent. You let it wait awhile and maybe you think of something. Maybe you research and find the guy originally thought of the word in English or maybe you just realize that a popular technology solves your plothole super realistically, but either way you are spared some serious brain power. None of this should take much thought. I mean, it's not fucking rocket science.

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