Mary E. Latela @LatelaMary
Adam Kirsch and James Parker argue whether writers should aim for timelessness or for “this moment in time,” the moment presence, which will bring timelessness as a by-product.
Both perspectives miss the point. A writer writes. I don’t think anyone decided in the Medieval Period to stick with Latin because they sensed it would last longer. Students of empires know that language, like the government is always in flux. I doubt that Michelangelo gave more effort to marble because it does not fall apart than that is just the best medium for the production of his pieces of love/life. I don’t think Monet obsessively worked on the lilies, year after year, because he planned to leave them as a legacy. They were living art.
Do what you do well. If Little Women is still popular how fortunate, but this was not the purpose of the authors, who had stories that must be told. If Love Story, that sentimental 1970s pop art tale of a Yale/Harvard tragedy is still around, I doubt it would have the punch of a sad Ali McGraw, a distraught Ryan O’Neal in everybody’s version of Romeo and Juliet – death by cancer, not the sword.
In drama as in the Sunday news, timing is everything. The story must be out today. On the other hand, I am probably not the only American with my scrapbook of clippings of the JFK assassination, something which was just “news then, but which seemed even then to have some mysterious quality, perhaps the yearning for timelessness.
I believe the topic is off the mark, but still it courts danger and a little excitement.