“IF evocation of place is essential to most good writing, then our place is our trash culture.” Malcolm Knox, article Stories in the wrong tense.
Semester two at uni and the feeling of literary knowledge inadequacy returns. Introductions to a new tutor today in Non-fiction writing made us reveal 1) what book we are reading at the moment, 2) what movies or television shows we have recently been watching and 3) one peculiar thing about oneself. Simple enough really but it still put me on the spot. I don’t know if its just me but it made me rack my brains, have the books I been reading lately intelligent enough? It has to seem impressive after-all it is a BA in Creative Writing, we read til we self-combust right? And we read only those of the highest regard… (hmmm). Apparently I failed on the peculiar thing department (I mentioned I get excited about hard-rubbish collection day but apparently everyone does, well there you go).
There’s a high brow/low brow and elitist sort of thing in the literary community, not saying that everyone is like that but there is a sort of skivvy-wearing fashion with some, name-dropping of miles-franklin authors, in the loop of it (not the city loop). Sorry if you’re a wiggles-fan. Literature is literature, art is art, best-sellers are what people read on trains and trams embrace it don’t try to put things on pedestals, turn your collar up, roll your eyes at pop-culture.
When I think of books I love, really love I think of young adult fiction Melinda Marchetta and JK Rowling and Holly Black. One could say commercial but I would say creative and highly influential on children and teens.
And when I think of television shows I get a kick out of such as Packed to the Rafters, Gossip Girl, Spicks and Specks, some of these which have very high viewer ratings they are not high-brow shows ones that you openly admit to liking in a literary-discussion for instance. Why? To me trash culture is our culture, or at least a high populace of Australia and perhaps needs to recognised instead of trashed (trashing trash eh)
Or maybe its just me, my Albury regional town blood that makes me a little less cultured or out of the loop then others in the literary community. No I didn’t live on a farm. I never have seen an animal slaughtered but I have seen lots of road-kill, saltbush and red earth but not where I come from, woop-woop or the sticks is like another world that many city-sprawlers have not seen.
I try to read different things, from chick lit to gothic fiction and I think all genres have worth. And although I don’t think there is shame writing pop culture (although some would say they are non-sensual and meaningless) I still save the embarrassment of mentioning commercial-orientated interests in a literary class all the while hoping that one day, one day I can lavishly be proud of fashion-esque and shallow-bourgeois shows like Gossip Girl without someone rolling their eyes at me….