Monday, October 5, 2009

Falling off the Scaffold – Lyn Coffin



Lyn Coffin - November 12, 1943

I’ve had some trouble with some of the experimental prose that Oates has chosen to include in this volume and I suppose I should say there was trouble with the submissions Solotaroff made.

I think though that I would be correct in labeling “falling off the Scaffold” as a bit out of the ordinary for a short story...so would it qualify as experimental?

What is the definition of experimental in literature and who has the power to define it? Am I viewing this as experimental through the lens of 1979 or am I bringing my 2009 eyes into judging it? Tough to say.

I define it as experimental because this is my blog, my writing and me having a conversation with myself.

Coffin creates a world where a writer of poetry and short stories conducts a correspondence course with a writing instructor and delivers an interesting look into the relationship between artists. It was a short glimpse and one that I found myself feeling a bit uncomfortable reading at times because of the reactions that the two characters gave to each other concerning the poets work. I enjoyed reading a bit of poetry within the story as well as shorts contained within the short. I felt that the poet/short story character toyed with the professor. She was batting him around more than seeking his criticism and advice...and he seems to be of course, full of himself, not shaping and developing the author but stroking his own feathers.

Coffin offers writing consultancy services in the real world...interesting after reading this selection. I feel though that the insight that she could provide would be genuine.

What did “Falling off the Scaffold” give me?

I have trouble with criticism, and I think that when I finally break down and start writing “for real” this is what will provide me with the most anxiety. The criticism. I have trouble with editors and I have trouble seeing their eye as just an editor’s eye...I see them hacking and slicing and manipulating more than what is just created by me...I see them attacking and changing ME.

This is an incorrect assessment of what they do and I think though that one of the reasons why I am afraid to really write is because I fear the criticism.

I’ll find a way over this, and perhaps this whole exercise I am engaged in now is allowing me a bit of that.

Lyn Coffin. She has had and continues to have, and what seems to be a wonderful life. A successful poet in the past through today...and from what I understand, this is no small feat. I mean, being a poet is HARD. Do Americans read poetry? She has quite an online presence and even a Facebook page. This shouldn’t surprise me, as after researching Coffin, one can tell that she is quite a progressive woman.

This pushing of limits/boundaries made Coffin into what she is today. I respect her for this and I intend to write her and give her a big thumbs up on this fine work.

Score – 8 out of 10.

1 comment:

  1. I really appreciate your remarks. Did you ever write me? I don't think so. Still- intentions can only carry us so far, I guess. I do have what seems (even to me, mostly) a wonderful life. I am glad you respect me, and I respect you right back. I just now read your remarks, and they brightened a dull evening. How are you in 2012? Best wishes, Lyn

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