I first met Ben Lerner when I visited his creative writing class before a reading I gave at Brown years ago. I remember being impressed by him– his questions and remarks were very keen. We kept in touch over the years a bit, including when he was in Spain. Sometime later, after his first book, I interviewed him; I think this was the first interview done with him. You can see it here:
saying something ‘is’ exciting may attract ‘shit-talkers’ who will argue that no, it is most definitely not exciting. it could also be potentially confusing and strange, like if discussing something conventionally unexciting, eg. the mark on this wall is very exciting. it may also be unfairly misleading, like a movie trailer claiming “… the most exciting film of this summer…”, which might cause naive ppl to spend money and see the movie, finding that to them, it is not exciting at all. not that i think it is necessary to always add ‘feels…’, i am just commenting 4 fun.
Well I did forget to mention that the interview has definitely encouraged me to familiarize myself with Ben Lerner’s writing, or at least to attempt to do so.
To elaborate on finding the new title interesting: Siddhartha 2 intrigues me because of its ambiguity—I.E., I wonder what the title could mean or what significance it could potentially contain. Considering that the title of each of Tao’s previous novels served as a low-level non sequitur in reference to some sort of repeating triviality found in the book, I am also led to wonder whether the phrase “Siddhartha 2” will adhere to the same sort of pattern. The new title has also dissuaded my suspicion(s) that this third novel may possibly correlate with Tao’s short story of the same name, and perhaps it still will. I am excited to find out. Or should I say that I feel excited to find out?
“I’m with the first/third person: to say constantly that one’s view is a perspective is otiose and a bit of anti-rhetoric that is quite rhetorical”
It is very “freshman term paper”. “I think”, “In my opinion”, etc. A rhetor would say to drop the tic except where emphasis on the subjectivity is required. But I guess a Muumuu writer would say it is always required because subjectivity should be marked not only when marking it is “stylish” or “effective”.
Maybe that is the point (of the pose) of the Muumuu style? To be a permanent freshman? To not know what parts of a piece, or of language, are and are not [more] important/[more] deserving of emphasis.
Yes; for me, the qualifiers come out in conversation – and writing – when I feel the pressure to be tentative on account of ignorance. Not ‘subjective’ exactly, though that’s part of it:
I know that tree is a live oak, but I’m not as sure that those flowers are plumaria–I just think so. Being confident that you’ll put in the “imo”, I’ll call Faulkner “great”, but my choice for the best of his novels – and I haven’t read all of them – might not be the majority or the most popular pick, so ‘in my reading, …’. I’m pretty sure that my pick for ‘Faulkner’s best’ is a top 3 – 5? – choice, so I don’t need to qualify that it’s greatly respected, but other well-thought-of Faulkner novels I think are too ‘Faulknerian’ and don’t especially like, so I’ll signpost my disagreement with their good rep.
There isn’t really a hard-and-fast rule; just say what seems useful to the other person in their sorting out one’s knowledge/assertions/questions/etc.
I think the muumuuvians are, not dogmatic, but programmatic in this foregrounding of subjectivity. Even in the comments here, I definitely feel the pressure they exert to take responsibility for establishing awareness of the limits to their responsibility. –not a bad thing. –easily lampooned, though.