How We Get the Stuff

(Remarks prompted by the discovery that Bomb magazine has a section called “Literature.”)

Every thousand or so years, civilization burns to the ground.  As it burns, all sorts of people flee for their lives.  About one in a hundred of these people pass a bookcase on their way to saving themselves from the flames, and they see a book and decide in a split second to take that book with them.  They grab it and continue running for the nearest exit.  This process, repeated over time, is how we got a lot of the writing of Euripides, some of that of Sophocles, and not very much of Aeschylus at all.  The end-result of this process is called literature.  Literature is not about education, college degrees, MFAs, publication, carefully crafted craft, or finely observed observations.  Literature is about survival.  That is all it is about.

Happy New Year

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