Okay, can we talk about appropriation and homage for a second, fashion aside? Familiar territory, right, but I need some reminders.
I'll come right out and say it and probably feel embarrassed later. Is it possible to write anything OTHER than homages to our heroes? I want to, badly. I think in the past, my influences were more vague. They were vague and hidden even to me and by hidden I mean ignored. I don't think I was writing better stuff then but maybe it would have been harder to call me out. I'm wondering to what extent each of you is aware of your influences and how you play or don't play with them. Should we attempt to disguise our heroes? Should we admit from the get-go? Should we just hope that no one gets the reference or should we hinge the work on the reference? Transparency?
A friend's writing could be reduced to Woolf + Wilde + Theory Curveballs + Artworld Curveballs + Friend. Totally brilliant.
Another friend could be Proust + Foster Wallace + Wittgenstein + Multiple theory curveballs + Friend. I think it's genius but I haven't read much Proust or Foster Wallace and don't know the theory well so I'm blown away.
As someone's influences become more clear what affect does that have on the reading experience or on your perception of the writer? Does it ruin it for you? Does it enhance your appreciation? Does it MATTER?
I could offer other algorithms but I am completely afraid of pissing one of you friends off. Of course, everyone's algorithm is a perpetually shifting, mutating thing with parenthetical subtractions and additions: a + b + 2c(d-e) = f. I wonder if there is a mathematical symbol for "sometimes". Maybe it's the mixture (alchemy, duh) that is exciting. Synthesis, yeah. Maybe it's when we're stuck on just one that we get into trouble.
I can't stand those music reviews that do the A is like if B and C had a lost weekend in Maui, drinking Mai Tai's spiked with acid and came back to their hotel and puked in the same bag and then froze it and smashed it into a million pieces with a sledgehammer and then gave you the dust to snort and this new record out from X label is like the dream you had after you came down and fell asleep. I can't stand that as a framework for critique but it is maybe inescapable on some level.
Now I'm rambling. Can someone help me with this? I'm already embarassed.
p.s. I've been reading a lot of psychoanalytic theory and want to share with you some titles of self-help books that I would like to write, just to be cheeky. They are:
If You're Angry and You Sorta-Kinda-Maybe Know it, Clap Your Hands"
If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say, Don't Say Anything at All: Repression for Dummies/Children