Creative Ordeals

I was reading the Orson Scott Card Novel Hart’s Hope this morning and as I read a particularly intense passage I realized I was going to pass out, the same way I become ill and realize my consciousness is in danger when watching a gory film. I managed to put my bookmarks back into place before collapsing on my bed for a few senseless minutes. This book is intense, and what’s more, it made me realize the dangers inherent in craft.

Alan Moore, the writer of Watchmen and V for Vendetta (and many other excellent comicbooks) has been quoted as saying that any work of sufficiently daring creation is one a writer may not be able to complete. Michael Chabon writes that any work of significant creation endangers the creator, whether that creation be a golem or a novel. I’ve respected both of these concepts since I discovered them, but not until today did I realize that perhaps a greater work of creation endangers the reader.

In this case I mean more than gore, but because of Card’s use of language and violence in Hart’s Hope I feel as though things have been illuminated more fully. I’ve never passed out reading a book before. This time it was combination of intense emotions and violence in the scene.

Just like when I pass out during a blood test or watching something gross/gory in a movie I just imagined too much. Things got hazy and I managed to mark my place in the book before I fell down on the bed.

I feel as through a significant enough work of creation can harm, or even destroy those who experience it as well as those who create it.

I must think more on this, but I believe the concept is the creative ordeal. Subject to it, one becomes unable to deal with ordinary thought.

More to come.


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