Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween Costumes

It's a little early for this post, perhaps. Having been invited to a party Halloween, it is necessary to consider a costume, and I was thinking of what I might do when it occurred to me that this is something to consider as a writer.

Not what I should wear for Halloween, but the whole concept of wearing a costume. What if you were to think of your dissertation as something of a costume? It is not you and yet it is. On Halloween you go out and your friends recognize you, and yet you're also someone else. It is easier to act the fool.

The Halloween costume is a celebration, and one on which many invest a great deal of energy. But because it is a celebration it does not seem onerous. So we might wonder whether, by looking at our writing as a sort of costume, we might be able to enjoy the exploration and even enjoy making a fool of ourselves.

It's crucial for the writer to be able to try on a costume and then just as quickly throw on another if the first didn't work. If you can write and rewrite, then you will be able to produce good work.

It's also crucial to be able to see the writing as separate from you. The costume hides the identity, and in so doing turns the criticism into an attack on something that is not you. Borges writes a little parable "Borges and I" in which he discusses the distance between himself and the figure that manifests on the paper.

We need not be too tied to our writing. We can it hold it in a gap between us and the world, and this gap--this distance between us and the work allows us to see what others think of the work without worrying that it is a reflection on us.

A final note: it seems to me that the costume and the writing are both a chance to celebrate your own voice and to celebrate your own imagination. Explore the possibilities; take chances. Being repressed doesn't make a better costume or a better piece of writing.

1 comment:

Brisa said...
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