On Arrogant Writers (us included) - The Reykjavik Grapevine

On Arrogant Writers (us included)

On Arrogant Writers (us included)

Published July 13, 2007

We maintain: Originality is the refusal to borrow anything you can remember as stolen. No being is more pitiable than the arrogant writer who claims ‘he only creates for himself’ while lacking the necessary means which should enable him to spot the narcissism encapsulated in this very remark. As if all writers are not mongers who pimp their own perspective. What is the value of a perspective which no one perceives, a fire that does not burn, or a prostitute abstaining from sexual relations? As if you could write in a void, pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. Does anyone truly believe that Münchhausen escaped the deadly depths of the swamp by pulling himself out by his hair?
In an attempt to engage your interest… We have a few mates who we quite like to get pissed with, but ultimately some disappoint. They profess to write ‘for themselves’ but eventually you get into dreary discussions about the very basics and feel like giving them an evil dressing down or chuck Fight Club quotes at them: ‘You are not special!’, ‘You are not a unique snow flake!’. None of us are; your attraction to originality comes from people reading your work and pointing out other people who have had similar sentiments and abstractions – as if this somehow is an insult to your work and points scored; these people are idiots for god’s sake, reactive shitwits!
You suddenly realise that these mates of yours have the kind of faces you just want to punch and that time is running out to get one in: Smartness is just a petty form of power; presence has so much more force than clever arguments; character is the source of belief. It did not spring from nothing that the Greek mythology made the goddess of wisdom burst from her father’s forehead dressed in divine armour: One will always have to fight for one’s ‘truth.’
Writing is only about one’s ego and arrogance… Arrogance, arrogance, arrogance! First comes the suspicion, then psychosis, then understanding and finally that epitome of sanity: arrogance! Love struck with the obvious: I never forget to shit. It slowly dawns on you: If you want to be a writer you have to stick to your own. Give us an ‘and’ over a ‘but’ anytime of the day, though of course you can never exclude yourself from the game of exclusion. Why do we worship such automated parsimony? Efficiently retrieved answers that beg no questions? Occam’s razor as deadly as its sharpness is sharp, the lack of plurality that is its edge – that bleatingly whispered echo: one…
Wondering about fictional ethics – what fictions should we allow people to entertain, and which should we censor? We can’t stand people ‘correcting’ other people’s dreams. There is a distasteful bitterness in the sentiment; how, and more to the point, why, do people take pleasure in others’ misfortune. We are glad that we suffer, it allows us to be more human, which is to say, more sympathetic. And what gives us the right to present further fictions as the ‘truth’? Wittgenstein put it elegantly and with characteristic brevity when he cited “I must not cut off the branch on which I am sitting”. Indeed. Perhaps we should build a swing.
Here is a productive operative that could possibly be of use for our aforementioned mates: Instead of engaging in dull, dull arguments, try to keep your will to publish the texts alive by peppering them with wit and a sullen, dejected and wounded but eloquently sarcastic tone – a tone meant for ‘others’. Convergent Evolution, though instead of involving genetics you could cross breed fictions, explore metaphors, analogies, syntactic metonymic semantic disparities that give birth to moments, raping and pillaging language to conquer grammar in all its static glory while paving the way to a new and dynamic Rome. Have no mercy. Tear it down brothers. Tear it down! Beyond left and right, beyond up and down… Beyond beyond to beyond itself. “Oh the wonders never cease when you have eyes for this marvel!”
Arrogance, arrogance, arrogance! Sorry about our arrogance. Not that you’d be bothered anyway. Columns – probably due to most of them being invented in business environments where social niceties are as disgustingly ubiquitous as the average office slaves’ stupidity – seem to demand such pleasantries, so we feel compelled to say something of the sort. So apologies for the apology. Kind regards,
“Two men so miserable that they have lost their faith and have nothing left but the cross”. Magnús Björn Ólafsson and Jamie Burton


Show Me More!