Friday, September 17, 2010

Neruda contemplations

Today at work, amidst all the grey concrete slabs of QUT and the grey brooding skies outside, I was on a bench. It was bright red, steel, and as I sat there, eating pasta and chicken and sucking hot chocolate from a cardboard cup, I was reading one of my most-loved books - a complete collection of Pablo Neruda's poetry.

The reason I love Neruda is that what he says is so beautiful in its simplicity. He writes from his heart, and he writes from his soul - he knows exactly what he wants to say and he knows how to say it. He is the writer that has moulded me the most, because whether he writes about love, about his country or about those he knows, he says what he means. There are levels to the poetry, sure. But if you just read for the love of reading, you'll understand it.

So I flicked through my collection of his poetry (an 18th present from Kathryn and Emily) and just read. I listened to Crowded House and slowly traipsed through Cien Sonetos De Amor, and in that half hour where I wasn't bound by customers calling and bells dinging, I was calm.

As you'd know, Neruda's won the Nobel Prize for Literature. We were discussing the Nobel Prize in Literary Studies with one of my old lecturers from last semester, Kari Gislason, and the award itself goes to, if I'm going to directly quote from the site:
the person who, in the literary field, had produced "the most outstanding work in an ideal direction".
This, Kari theorised, was generally social commentary. He provided a couple of examples for this, but of course when I want to be all super and whatnot, and give these examples, I can't find them in the lecture notes. Anyway, so Kari proposed that social critique was what generally was considered Nobel Prize standard, and reading Neruda's later work, this is definitely true. He went into the political world during his writing, and I know from the Chilean point of view - this being the rather large amount of Chileans I know - that they don't regard this as his better work, but that his work about love, about nature, about simplicity in life - that's where the jackpot in literary masterpiece lies.

My goal, to write prose as well as Neruda handles words in poetry, is going to take a while. I haven't got an overwhelming ambition to win a Nobel Prize - my goal is, in fact, to write for the mainstream and show God in this way. But the thing is, I already know that whatever I write is going to be realism. And realism apparently delves into the social commentary/critique.
I, at 18, don't know enough about the world to write anything worthy of a social critique. No matter how often people say that we understand enough, I can honestly say I don't. I mean, really, I've lived a very blurry 90s, a 00s that I was so self-centred during that there's not much I can comment on beyond my disdain for rap. But I can write about the things that consumed my childhood and teenage life. Crazy ups and downs. Unrequited love. The shenanigans that happen when you grow up with a Chilean family - seriously, you think I'm dramatic? I only got half the dosage of a typical Chilean. I make up for it being a writer, but still. This, for now, can be my 'early years' as they're so often termed, and if I end up becoming a legitimate author of novels, well, who knows what they'll be?

Now to figure out this issue of my impending minors.
I am majoring in Creative and Professional Writing, and I've decided on a journalism minor for one. But the second minor - literature, or fashion?
Literature would be good for my editing degree later on, if I get into novel-editing. However -  fashion would be awesome. Just to learn about, you know?
This is an issue that requires prayer and contemplation, but views are welcomed.

Anyway. I've posted it. You can now read it! (Yes. You know who you are. [poking out tongue emoticon, because it looks retarded as actually putting it as the colon and p] It's uploaded.)

NOTE: I think I've decided on a literature minor.
Oh, now I say that, I want fashion.

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