Saturday, March 1, 2008

Brooklyn Writers

If only the NY Times showed reciprocity in the same way as the Village Voice feature "Hate Us or Love Us," given the amount of times I quote the Times. We'd get more traffic.

There's a piece in the Book Review this week by Brooklyn-based writer Colson Whitehead called, "I Write in Brooklyn. Get Over It." What I love about the piece is that yes, it does seem a little silly to confuse "a geographical and economic accident with an aesthetic movement." It's true, there is nothing inherently creative about Brooklyn as compared to any other place in the universe. Although the water in the Gowanus canal does probably flow with some funky mojo.

What's interesting to me is the fact that my agreeing with Whitehead is, in a way, ironic. One of my favorite books of poetry of all time is Lunch Poems by Frank O'Hara, and a big reason I love it is for O'Hara's bopping-around-New-York thing. The first time I came to visit Brooklyn (and on subsequent trips), I wrote lots. I got pieces of multiple poems out of it. I thought a lot about how moving here would influence me as a writer.

Now that I live here, I haven't really written much of anything. I wrote a poem for a wedding, which included F train imagery (though I didn't name the train). I wrote a poem for a funeral, which included Manhattan skyline imagery. And that's it.

If living in this place influences me as a writer in any way other than superficially by giving me urban imagery, that'd be nice. But I probably won't find that out until much later, in a reflective mood, when I'm writing again. And probably not until I live somewhere other than Brooklyn.

PS. Whitehead asserts that if you Google brooklyn writer you'll get "Did you mean: the future of literature as we know it?" But, if you Google image search brooklyn writer you'll get this guy:


Miss Twinkle said...

I think you're just saying that because you all live there and you don't want to the rent to go any higher than it has and you want to hog it to yourself. But also, you all suck, and I have the beach and the sunshine like 24/7, except when it's night time, and then I have south beach.

Jessie Lucia said...

I see what you and the article you are supporting are saying, but I think there are many, many things about Brooklyn which change the way you think about things, and in turn effect your creative output, whatever it may be. Don't believe the hype, but don't believe the anti-hype either...reality is always somewhere in the middle. And also, that dude is from Manhattan, so what the hell does he know about how the experience of living in this city different from other places?
Wrong wrong wrong. No. Wrong.

As an aside, ;) that "Brooklyn Writer" you googled looks an awful lot like a really angry unattractive version of Nick Dennany.

plastic said...

i thought he looked a little like Nick Dennany too but I was too afraid to say it!