So I found out that my brother made a report on my recent “The Painter” blog series, using it to illustrate what literature means to him. He sent me the word file containing the essay and after reading it — I felt — well — I didn’t know what to feel. Proud? Humbled? Happy? Yeah. Heart-meltingly happy. Aww.
Okay, okay. Enough with the drama.
I’m posting his piece here so that you can see what literature means to him and so that you can have a view of how my little project — in one way or another — made a difference to him.
Here’s to my brother who grabbed the feature-writing pen from my hands. : )
WARNING: This essay contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so if you haven’t read “The Painter” yet — by all means, read it! Start HERE. But if you’re done reading the series — go ahead, and read my brother’s literary piece. : )
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Quantum Yuri Lubrica March 23, 2010
Humd. I Essay: My Literary Experience
Based on my experience, literature is art which reflects the writer, and which the reader can relate to. I say that literature is art since it is made of an array of letters, words, and thoughts – all put together by an artist. The said array is unique for every writer, and the way a person writes is influenced by experiences, knowledge, imagination, and mood. I say that literature is an art which the reader can relate to since certain parts of a literary piece are more striking to some readers than others, and the degree to which a reader can relate to it is based on the reader’s past experiences.
Let me illustrate my point using a short story, entitled The Painter that was recently published by Mari Anjeli B. Lubrica in her blog. Art is all around us in many forms. I believe that art is at its finest when it is recorded. Painters cannot be considered artists if their imagination isn’t recorded by oils, colors, and brush strokes. Musicians cannot be considered artists if they don’t express themselves by producing melody, rhythm and music as a whole. Thus, writers cannot be considered artists unless they organize their thoughts and reveries into a collection of uniquely arranged words and punctuations that is of course a form of self-expression. Thus, I believe that an important requirement is that literature, being a form of art, should be written and recorded – preferably even published, for it to be recognized and considered as a literary piece.
Literature is an expression of the writer and thus somehow reflects the writer’s background. Mari’s use of ‘nth’, which is a mathematical term, is an example of this since she is a BS Computer Science graduate. Even the pairing of ‘semi’ with the word strange – something that isn’t unusual for us, tells something about her roots and way of life. The use of the word ‘demeanour’ instead of ‘appearance’ somehow gives an idea of her educational and social background, and possibly even her mood. Her usage of “–” and placement of commas dictates how she imagines the way the story should be told – where the pauses should be. Notice how she uses ‘colours’ and ‘demeanour’ with a ‘u’ – an influence of her present residence, Malaysia.
The Painter is actually seven blog entries that started out with one original story that was essentially a summary of the eventual whole story. Because of the encouraging comments, according to Mari, she was inspired to continue on with new entries and she wanted to unfold the life of the painter. She spent parts of her days just imagining how the story would turn out to be – imaginations that must have been influenced by the many things happening around her. She describes it as “the painter knocking on her mind”. From the comment of one reader expressing interest about a boy, his father and a kite, Mari eventually even wrote a length entry about it – this shows how even feedbacks can influence how and what a person writes. She mentioned that the painter’s father died because of cancer, he had to leave his beloved girlfriend and even his family, but eventually had his dreams realized – social realities that may not have happened to the writer, but it must have happened to people around her, whether fictional or real, for her to be compelled to include these in her story. Her Christian life is also reflected by her usage of “Daddy God” in one line of the text.
I would now like to use the reader-response theory – that the reader is an active rather than passive participant – to elaborate on why I say literature is art that readers can relate to basing on their past experiences. The setting of the story is a small park, filled with people, grass and benches. How would someone who has never been to a park be able to relate to this story? The person may possibly be intrigued by the new idea, or may lose interest in the story altogether. Mari has also used some words that may be uncommon to some – such as apparel, joshing, nostalgic, insurmountable, limacons – but may also be very fitting (and strikingly familiar) to others. The things that the writer includes in a text, together with the way the words are written, and also the present state of the reader, affect the overall experience of the reader. I say this since I was almost brought to tears as I was reading the conversation of the painter and his girlfriend. I was moved since I have a girlfriend of my own, and have had some misunderstandings leading to pain. This, the writer’s choice of words, and the fact that I was alone while reading the story influenced how I experienced the literary piece – with all the goose-bumps, pounding heartbeats and a heavy feeling.
The reader is actively screening out some details while embracing other details, contributing to the overall experience while reading. What to keep and what to throw out is based on the reader’s personality, knowledge, motivation, and even mood or state at the time.
I had a one-of-a-kind feeling while reading my sister’s work – a sensation that I was reading my own work. Yes, Mari Anjeli is my sister, and though we have been living apart for almost six years, our way of thinking and writing style is still somehow similar. This is how I realized that indeed literature is an expression of oneself greatly influenced by one’s background, imagination, knowledge and frame of mind. I realized that I, too, can write excellently – I only have to do just that: write down and organize those messy, jumbled up thoughts. Once I do that, I can make a literary piece that I can share so that others may be able to relate to it.
By the way, the story ended with a girl fitting the description of the painter’s girlfriend, visiting the park looking for someone. The final scene brought me hope and enthusiasm. It shows the wit and creativity of the author. It also reveals the ability of the reader to understand, interpret and connect ideas, since an inattentive reader would fail to catch the implication of the final scene due to the way it was written.