I mentioned in a post last week about learning responsibility as an author, and how we rely on the other to exist. It gets pretty messy when you start trying to define it and think of it logically, but here I'll put it as simply as I can;
We, as a writer, can not exist without our subject. That is, it is our environment, interactions and relationships with all that is around us, that shape our writing, and thus our writing can not be subjective in this sense.
So it's still a pretty hazy statement right? I hope I got some of my message across. We looked into Helen Garner's writing. A little history here - Garner is an Australian author, a pretty damn good one by most accounts. She's published some four novels, four non-fiction books, three screenplays, three short story collections and various articles. The first piece of writing of Garner's that I read was her personal essay 'I' which can be read here. This essay discusses and explores the 'persona' that a writer creates when creating a piece of writing, be it fiction or non-fiction.
First of all, Garner's writing is different to anything that I have so far experienced. Not so much to read (she does write well) but the subject of her writing and how she writes. The fact that a lot of her works of non-fiction are so raw in the fact that she writes a no-holds-barred account of her experiences. Garner immerses herself in various situations and documents it to write about later. She tackles highly controversial topics, such as the death of a toddler at the hands of his stepfather, and a 1992 sexual harassment scandal at Ormond College. Her writing is different to anything I've considered - she openly declares that she writes based on who she is, what she knows and her experiences.
I think that this is what I am supposed to be getting from the course - that as a writer, everything we write, be it fiction, non-fiction, or supposedly subjective articles and such, is shaped primarily on our own experiences, beliefs and opinions. In each piece of writing we sit down and complete, we inject it with our own experiences and shade it with ourself. This is what I think we're supposed to take from these first few lectures. I think we're supposed to realise when we sit down to write, that we can't be totally subjective. Nothing we write doesn't have an effect on our readers.
I hope this post made some kind of sense after all that. Thoughts? Do you agree or disagree? I think that Garner's writing is unique in the fact that she writes based almost literally on her experiences, but I tend to agree that to less of an extent, the writing we do (however fiction it may be) still contains all of our self.
Thoughts are welcome in the comments!