Saturday, October 30, 2010

Reading: The Advanced Genius Theory by Jason Hartley

Yesterday, I rode the bus around town and made a few stops (library, mall) to distract myself from writing too much as NaNoWriMo approaches. At the downtown library I idly scan the "new books" section and come across one that catches my eye. It's called The Advanced Genius Theory, by one Jason Hartley. Being a genius myself, I picked it up. Turns out the "theory" deals with the decline of great artists (its two primary examples are Bob Dylan and Lou Reed) without actually explaining it as decline. I checked it out from the library, and it became my bus reading for the day.

Hartley's "Advanced Genius Theory" attempts to explain apparent decline. The conventional assumption is that a genius has a hot period, then a high point, and then goes into decline and can be safely ignored in favor of the next hot young thing. Why the apparent decline? asks Hartley. Because the genius has Advanced far beyond the ability of his fans to understand and appreciate what he's doing — and this goes double for the early fans. Chuck Klosterman (whom Amazon.com credits with being the book's coauthor despite having only written the foreword, because he's more famous than Hartley) offers a concise introduction to the theory in his 2004 Esquire article. As Klosterman sums it up (and Hartley himself quotes this): "When a genius does something that appears idiotic, it does not necessarily mean he suddenly sucks. What it might mean is that he's doing something you cannot understand, because he has Advanced beyond you."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In Which I Break My Media Silence, Post-AugNoWriMo

After I failed to win AugNoWriMo earlier this year, I spent nearly a month almost completely offline. Or at least avoiding my social media accounts except maybe an occasional visit to Twitter, and not blogging at all about anything. And now NaNoWriMo approaches, and I find myself in a sort of non-WriMo Panic Time. So here I am.

I have an explanation for my absence. Occasionally I find something that really obsesses me. This time around, it was something called the TV Tropes Wiki. I was always the kind of kid who got lost in encyclopedias, and I've gotten lost in Wikipedia numerous times. I got lost in TV Tropes for two full months, not writing any actually story words but merely listing (in a now massive Microsoft Word document) all the tropes (read: memes) that fit Spanner. I've got enough of an understanding of both the tropes and TV Tropes that it'll no longer distract me from writing my book.

Which reminds me: I need to update my NaNo profile now...