Feeding the thesis
I thought this guest post over on Michael Bérubé's "web" "log" was really interesting, and plays right into the way I'm thinking about blogs as an essayistic branch of literature. It was especially interesting to see that the blogger (Lance Mannion) came at this way of thinking from one of the same angles as I did, using Vonnegut's Timequake:
(I always feel dirty when I use such long quotes.) Which is funny, because I was reading this book back when I was getting into blogs, and the comparison was striking. It wasn't literature in the canonical sense, but it was still important and interesting reading.(...) Vonnegut doesn't seem to have gone back over it quite as painstakingly as he might have. There's a lot in it that is just plain awful and doesn't work.
It's not been dull or felt like a waste of time to read, I have to give it that.
Vonnegut calls Timequake his farewell to writing novels. It's a strange confection, made up of pieces salvaged from what would have been his last novel if he could have forced himself to finish it, a book put out of its misery in mid-progress that Vonnegut refers to throughout Timequake as Timequake I, the pieces connected by snatches of autobiography, musings on contemporary events and art and culture, political opinionizings, brief sermons, jokes, summaries of imaginary stories by Vonnegut's alter-ego the imaginary science fiction writer Kilgore Trout, bits of literary criticism, reminiscences about writers and normal people he has known, random observations about life, the universe, and everything, and the occasional attempt to answer the eternal questions: What in heck should we be doing? What in heck is really going on?
Thinking about this the other day, after suffering another case of intellectual whiplash brought on by Vonnegut's suddenly dropping his pursuit of one idea and making a sharp turn around a corner in his brain to speed off after another new thought, I asked myself if I'd ever read anything so determinedly, maddeningly, and enjoyably higgledy-piggledy, crinkum-crankum before.
And it hit me.
I read stuff like that every day. Online. They're called blogs.
Timequake is a blog.