In today’s Journal
* I decided yesterday
* Topic: On “Intertextuality”
* My son and grandson
* The numbers
I decided yesterday to write a Journal post for today when I received Jane Friedman’s “The People in Publishing I Learn From,” which you can find at https://www.janefriedman.com/people-in-publishing-i-learn-from/. I strongly recommend it.
The fact that she listed Kris Rusch hooked me on checking out the other people and links she mentioned.
Also see Michaele Lockhart’s “No, But I Saw the Movie” at https://prowriterswriting.com/no-but-i-saw-the-movie/. And you might want to read my comment.
Topic: On “Intertextuality”
If it sounds like one of those words that are coined in a critic’s lair or a college classroom, well, it is.
But it’s useful to explain a connection, which it very nearly does almost by intself.
Before I get too deep into this, let me say up front, this probably won’t help your writing even one iota.
Intertextuality is one of those concepts about which probably thousands of scholarly writers have written thousands of scholarly essays and never said anything significant at all. (grin)
That being said, it’s an interesting concept to explore for those times when you want to let your mind wander around studying odd things.
Or maybe when you’re one on one or two with writer friends and you want to explore a concept that isn’t really ABOUT writing but one that RESULTS from writing.
Intertextuality simply means that one “text” is related to another, um, intertextually.
In the collegiate or critics’ ivory towers where students and other deconstructionists regularly discuss this stuff, the original “text” is an initial actual event—say a sunrise or an explosion or a car wreck—as it is perceived (viewed, heard, smelled, tasted, or felt, physically or emotionally) by an observer.
What results from that observation (even if what results is only a dream or memory) is automatically a second “text.”
After that, in the third “text” (if there is one), we get into what folks like you and I consider “texts.”
For example, say a poet sees a sunrise (the original “text”) and is inspired to write a poem. The resulting poem (the third text) is intertextually related to the original text (the actual sunrise) and the poet’s thoughts about it or memory of it (the second text).
A fictionist happens across the poem and writes a short story based on it. Then another writer reads the poem or the short story and writes a novel based on it. So the short story and the novel are intertextually related to each other and to the poem and to the original text, the sunrise.
See what I mean about connections? Come to think of it, the concept of intertextuality is a way of saying everything is plagiarized. Huh.
(Of course, nothing about this is meant to forgive the intentional theft of words in a particular sequence for use by the thief in a “new” work.)
Maybe a better way to say it is “The concept of intertextuality is a way of saying everything is inspired by other, earlier texts.”
Come to think of it, everything we write—every word we put on the page—is directly connected to something we’ve seen, heard, tasted, smelled or touched (or felt, emotionally) at some time in our past.
Or to something we imagined as a result of having had that initial contact.
I use those connections a lot. Which is to say, a lot of my work is intertextually related to other works, either my own or other’s.
I was reminded of this whole concept when I was looking through some old files for items to include in upcoming issues of Stanbrough Monthly Reader.
In the now-defunct Candlelight Poetry Journal, I happened upon a poem by Robert Bowles titled “In Pamplona.” Great poem.
Alongside it was printed my “response poem,” titled “For Robert Bowles’ Pamplona Dream.” My response, of course, was intertextually related to Robert’s original poem and whatever event or thought gave rise to it (I never knew).
All of that happened back in the mid-to-late 1990s.
Flash forward to mid-2014. That’s when I wrote a short story called “Old Suits.” It was all about running with the bulls in Pamplona. Or rather, watching the running of the bulls in Pamplona and, of course, the effect that event (the watching) had on the characters.
What have you written that’s intertextually related to something else? I invite your comments, but even if you don’t comment you might want to explore the concept on your own a bit.
But don’t get a headache.
My son and grandson are visiting today and I’m taking a trip starting on Monday, so I’ll talk with you again when I can.
Fiction words today…………………… 0
Nonfiction words today…………… 780
Total fiction words for the month……… 0
Total fiction words for the year………… 374653
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7560
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 254270
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 628923
Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 7
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… 2
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 43
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 195
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31