Month: January 2018

Alex Schomberg

Does Genre Fiction Get A Bad Rap?

So, is it just me wondering this, or are there a bunch of you curious about the same thing?  Genre Fiction. This is Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, you name it; it’s everything except Literature, and it doesn’t look like its reputation in the the writing community has become any less infamous.

I’m a writer and a reader. I love all books, be they The Silence of the Lambs or Tess of the Durbervilles. ‘Course, the quality wanes in some books, and in others, it surpasses my expectations, but, man, that goes for everything on the planet.

What I’ve noticed, though, is that Literature often criticizes Genre Fiction for not having enough beautiful, inspired prose, while Genre Fiction complains Literature can be boring as hell.

I can see both sides of the argument, and I understand them. They’re rational, for one, and, well, you’re not gonna go to Tarzan of the Apes looking for artful sentence structure, and Tom Wolfe’s writing is not so heart-pounding and adventurous, as it is introspective and inspiring.

The conflict; however, boggles me. Most genre fiction is influenced by classic literature.

We wouldn’t have I Am Legend without Dracula.

We wouldn’t have Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone without The Fellowship of the Ring.

We wouldn’t have Jaws without Moby Dick.

See, comparisons are scattered all over history, but most times, people forget to look.

It’s all art, right? At the end of the day, man, they’re just stories written for different purposes, drawing out different lives and scenarios, putting characters against unimaginable conflicts, hoping they’ll survive.

Books are great. Art is great. Literature and Genre Fiction are great.

Yes, they’re separate in structure and character and conflict and other writerly mumbo-jumbo, but they are connected through the art of writing; and since both are written–well, there’s one comparison.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Photo Credit: Alex Schomberg

 

Sitting, Relaxing, Reflecting…

Today I decided to eat my lunch on my front porch–why? well, I’m gonna tell you.

I made myself two sandwiches, ham and cheese, threw in some Tostitos chips, too; and I put it all on a napkin. Then I went outside and sat and ate and observed.

A question came to me: How often do we notice the small things?

By small things, I don’t mean the rabbits that occasionally pick at our back lawn, nor do I mean the birds roosting in our trees. The small things, to me, are the aspects of a usual item we often neglect after a certain time.

I was sitting on the porch, listening to dogs barking, wind whistling, when I looked over at the stucco lining our house. Now, this house was built a year before my family moved into it, and we’ve lived here for over eleven years; so it’s expected for the house to age a bit. It’s only natural.

The stucco lining was cracked apart, as if a sledgehammer had slid across it. Cracks spiraled in every direction, and there was a large white space where the stucco used to be.

In over eleven years, I hadn’t noticed this.

I took a bite out of my sandwich, studied the wall, wondered how long it took to deteriorate, why it deteriorated. I’ve already given the answer. It’s age. The stucco grew so brittle, so fast, it gave way.

Chilled, I took another bite out of my sandwich and looked at the sidewalk beneath my feet. It wasn’t broken, but it was grimy; dirt filled the cracks, so much so even ants didn’t want to traverse the terrain.

‘Nother victim of age, of life inevitably having its way.

Around then, I finished my sandwiches, started in on my Tostitos chips. Bite came after bite, and I couldn’t get age out of my mind. It frightened me, made me reflect on all those times I’d walked past the stucco and the sidewalk without the least consideration for their appearance.

I got to thinking about my life and how I’m halfway through being eighteen; my, what a fast ride it’s been. Pictured myself as an old man sitting on the front porch of his own home, wondering where the hell the time went.

Maybe I’ll be a grandfather. Maybe I’ll be alone.

If I’ve learned one thing so far, it’s that life doesn’t work in predictions. You can guess all you want, but every event is determined by how you approach it firsthand. So, fortune telling’s bullshit.

I hope I won’t be alone, and I hope I don’t pass by this short life as if I were walking past a section of cracked stucco. That’d be sad. Worse, it’d be a waste of each day and month I remain here.

I try my best, though, cherish the small things. Hard work’s gotta count for something.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Photo Cred: M.C Escher