Literary Modeling

When I was younger, so much younger than today…

I had a notion about literature that I have since reneged on.  I used to think that something that was missing from literature was a successful capture of the real.  Where were all the trips to the bathroom, the awkward non-conversations?  Why was it important to write people speaking grammatically when we so often fail to speak grammatically?  When I was talking to one of my writing instructors about this, their response was something along the lines ‘you’re kind of right, but who would want to read writing written like that?”  This memory came to me yesterday, and I decided that my old idea no longer fit my current views.  Being able to make something feel real is still vitally important, and I think having a talent for doing so can make an artists career (the example that comes to my mind is Josh Whedon’s Firefly series).   I instead had the thought that literature is more about presenting a model of life.  Literature compresses life into a digestible whole, cutting off  the superfluous and bringing out a story.  A story is not something that exists in life either – the story is part of the cutting that writers take upon themselves.

I think that a very strong analogy could be made between literature modeling, as I describe it here, and scientific modeling. My conception of scientific modeling is that theorists try to cut down the world into thinkable pieces, and these pieces are in many ways fictional.

Let me know what you think,


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