I’ve discovered a potentially fatal flaw in my personality. I mean, outside the more obvious ones (no need to point them out in the comments section, folks). Put simply, I like genre and I like literary. In musical terms, I like teen pop and modern classical, Spears and Stockhausen, Avril and Arvo. But this post is neither a demonstration of my “amazing” pop cultural eclecticism nor a reflection of my mental health anxieties; we like what we like, after all. No, this post is an attempt to reconcile two apparently opposing impulses in the world of writing; the aforementioned (alleged) impasse between genre and literary fiction.
For anyone who has attended a university-level creative writing course, even a single workshop, this dichotomy might already have raised its slightly distorted head. I majored in English literature and I’ve also attended a one-year certificate course in creative writing at a local university, and I don’t regret either of them. My purpose here is certainly not to trash the rarefied air of academia. Far from it. Because I genuinely learned a great deal about writing—about what works and what doesn’t work, about the inner alchemy and the outer pragmatism of this eccentric world—from those two experiences. Not to mention the confidence boost of sharing your work among motivated and engaged peers as deeply in love with the written word as you, alongside the equally essential practice of reading in front of an audience so you don’t forget that word’s spoken nature either. Continue reading “The Good, The Bad, The Indifferent”