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Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained?

February 20, 2009  Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft   3 Comments

gladiator

People ask me what my favorite movie is, and I say, without reservations, Gladiator. Oh man, there is not one single good thing that happens in that movie to the protagonist. Not one happy thing, except, at the very end, when he dies and meets his family in the Fields of Elysium.

But I digress, for this is not a exposition on a journey to the bleak.

Lately, I have been reading published authors’ websites and essays. Many of it is a cheerful, welcome decent into humble gratefulness. Sometimes, I find playful arrogance, and who could fault anyone for that? Some people have a forward personality, and that is just their style.

Then I come across something that goes beyond arrogance. I see a distinct pretentiousness, which is, without a doubt, cliché. It is not arrogance; it is a lack of empathy—a lack of understanding of the different viewpoint.

So I did an experiment. I’ve read a few of their books, I sought them out. The prose is neigh perfect. The writing on the money, the characters interesting.

The books are mediocre, however, because they have no soul. They talk to me, but they do not engage me. They are hollow and shallow because they are trying to pretend to be something they are very not. I sometimes wonder, for whom did they write these books?

I’ve mentioned this before, here, that I am a greedy reader. I want entertainment and reflection. I want something that challenges me but also engages me. Color me with your reader brush, in the shade of thought. My thoughts. Not yours.

Luckily, I am an older man, and my library has reached critical mass. I can pull out a book that I have not read in almost two decades and go “Oh, yes, that was so good, give me more!”

Am I entertained? Only with a good story with a heart. Only with a good story with a heart.

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3 comments on: Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained?

  1. MauiPotiki February 20, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    A book had best entertain me or grab me in the first few chapters, else it’s the old thumbs down to me, and it’s slaughtered and tossed aside. My life is too short for bad fiction, and I crave fiction that does something, anything for me.

    Having said that, sometimes I want fun pap, but not often, and even then it’s hard to find fun pap that isn’t crap.

    Color me a Roman Emperor on the matter 😉

  2. Peter February 26, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    I wonder if success leads to arrogance leads to pretention leads to writing as a job leads to losing your writing soul. Almost everyone I know hates their job.. I wonder.. if writing became my job would it also become rote? Scary…

    Yeah, perfect prose does not an engaging book make…

    And I like Gladiator too. 🙂

    • Anthony February 26, 2009 at 5:48 pm

      Could be.

      I love my job, though. I would rather write all day, but when all is said and done, I have a cool job, with nice people as my co-workers and a good work-life balance.

      I hope it lasts!

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