I fell in love with both DFW and Murakami, hard and fast. Literary love can be just as blind as it's real-life counterpart and for a long time I was in a sea of bliss. The reckoning came first with Murakami – his treatment of female characters is 1. mostly unpleasant and 2. so fundamental to his work and style that it seems impossible to e.g. separate the scene where one of his characters has sex with an underage girl from like, the whole message of the book. DFW is more subtle (although his real life adventures are most definitely not), but his meta- style, showy prose and way of making you feel smart-enough-to-approach-the-master-but-only-touch-his-feet are valid reasons to dismiss him altogether, (this post is actually inspired by another post i read on here, an article about 'outgrowing' Wallace). Still, I find myself in 2019, reading Wallace and Murakami, and loving it.

It's easy to get political about authors who aren't completely deferential to the norms and rough moral outlines that Every Good Person should follow, (and if I'm being honest, I'm don't think that I would be friends irl with any of these writers even though I enjoy their work), but it's even harder to defend them without saying that 'genius' gives them a pass on basic human decency. You just can't win being political about artists and their work, and even if it seems right to boycott a man (DFW) who once pushed his girlfriend out of a moving car, I'm not sure that if I did my quality of life would be as high as it is now, reading Wallace or Murakami.

Read:  What kind of vocabulary limitations should I impose on myself when writing a teenager in first person?

The compromise came, with hip hop music. I was never a fan, from the early days. Hip-hop's self-referential qualities and vices always ruined the effect for me. Somehow, though, I got into it and because I liked certain things about the music I was listening to, I decided to indulge the musicians. Not to 'open my mind' as XXXTENTACION insists when it comes to his albums, or sit down let J.Cole 'preach' to me, but to indulge them, to listen and to allow them to be themselves. What I found was that my ability to accommodate perspectives and feelings grew, without me ever having to change my own personal opinions. It was a lesson in nuance.

While I still have a pretty rigid stance on like the number of times an author should make me refer to a dictionary as I read his work, or the number of times he should describe to me the exact shape and angle of an (underage!) female character's breasts, I indulge their person-ness and hope the world will indulge mine.

What do you think? Are there any authors who've made you feel this way?

Source: reddit post


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