Blast the Boxes

“Chick lit.”

They’re two words that can make the skin of some writers actually begin to crawl. Just ask writer Elizabeth Crane, who is clearly fed up with the classification.

She makes the following wish:

“I want to go back to a time when sentences on a page were called literature. Where the suckiest sentences ever written are called literature (I’m starting to think even “fiction” and “non-fiction” are almost too specific anymore), where actual readers decide what sucks and what doesn’t suck and whether something fits in a box or it doesn’t. Sigh.”

It’s funny to me that a recent study indicated that more people acknowledged having read a book in the past year than having read “literature.” At some point, it became decided for us that literature was was only the highbrow kind of thing taught in English classes, the kind of material we were forced to read by teachers, but at the same time never the type of things we’d pick up on our own if no one could see us in the book store.

Even spectacularly bad novels can leave their mark. Just ask the folks in the English Department of San Jose State University. Each year they honor bad writing with an award named after the writer of what is purported to be among the worst.

When I write, I don’t worry about whether I’m writing “literature” or “suspense fiction” or a “horror novel,” because it’ll all end up in the same place when it’s printed and waiting for someone to buy a copy of it, whatever it is.

The important thing isn’t that people classify what they read as literature or something less, or whether what I write perfectly fits into a single genre. What’s important as far as I’m concerned is that there are people who are still in the market for the printed word. When that market dries up completely, I think we’re all in a lot of trouble.

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.