I left academia a long time ago, and with it I left behind the arcane art of literary criticism and some of the high-end jargon used to dissect, disemble and otherwise deconstruct what a writer wrote.
Then last night, during a bout of insomnia, I came across the submission guidelines from Unsaid Magazine (a WordPress Blog based mag):
When the act of narration becomes as integral to the total story as the actions narrated, as motivated by restless urges, as fraught with perils, pains and ecstasies; then the story suddenly bristles, an automaton turned inside out. All the inner devices of poetics are exposed, brought into plain view. The author is revealed to be a writing machine. His desires now figure as mere drives, his unfathomable creative force as hydraulic differential flow. With this inversion the artist passes beyond himself, outside his ego. Likewise, the work of art, originally and reassuringly emblematized by the scenes of peace and plenty contained within the gilt frame of the shield of Achilles, inverts itself. Its cogs, planes, levers, screws and pulleys, its ropes and bellows now exposed and live (as wires are said to be live); the work of art then becomes Deleuze’s war machine, Vaucanson’s famous defecating duck gone on a killing spree. The horror . . . and the hilarity.
I’ve read this paragraph a few times now, and to be plain spoken about it, I have no clue what they’re really gettin’ at here. The story becomes “an automaton turned inside out” and “all the inner devices of poetics are exposed, brought into plain view.” Hmmm. Interesting? Perhaps. But it makes my head hurt.
There is something about the relationship between the narrator and the story that they’re indicating, okay I’m with them that far…but this idea of poetic devices being exposed is where they’re losing me. The idea of a story as a war machine with its ropes and bellows exposed, yeah, I’m not smart enough to have a clue on that either.
Personally though, I’d liken this to the He Man Woman Haters Club on The Little Rascals. You were either in the club, or you weren’t, and if you weren’t in the club…well, Darla, it’s best to move along.