Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Brief Argument for “Uncreative” Writing

I'm not even going to quibble the term itself, though I could, for valid reasons, take offense to it. For me, let it be said, that to be creative is to make connections, and that there is a certain benefit to reusing famous lines because not only do they refer to themselves in the new context of their re-uttering, but they saturate the label/signifier with a doubled reference back to the original utterance.

The tension between the old reference, and the new reference, could be said to create some sort of energy between the two which has infinite literary possibilities.

The idea then becomes a resonance.

Take for instance:

Now I lay me down to sleep / Ere on my bed my limbs I lay
I pray the lord my soul to keep / It hath not been my use to pray
If I die before I wake / By moving lips or bended knees
I pray the lord my soul to take / But silently by slow degrees

There is enough metrical similarity between Coleridge's beginning to The Pains of Sleep, and the child's prayer that we're all taught, for a case to be made, that the one is the sublimation of the other. An echo of the prayer is there, and whether Coleridge intended this or not, the effect is subliminal (if not sublime).

So I think there is a lot to be gained by exploring “uncreative” approaches which in fact, may excel in a way in which “creative” approaches are not designed for.