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A Failure to Progress
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a bit ironic that when people complain about a lack of visceral, emotional punch in the story, we get rebuttals about metaphor and the need for more rigorous reading (which would imply a more analytical approach, rather than letting the text speak to you in its native language of Story and Narrative); but then when people complain about the plot mechanics, we get rebuttals about how superficial it is for us to focus on the plot, that this over-emphasizes Logic rather than a "more human" experience like Emotion.

So this is what I was talking about above: no matter what the complaint is, the problem is always the reader. If we want more emotion, then we're not analytical enough to notice the metaphors. If we fault the plot, then we're not emotional enough to connect with our own humanity.

We all see the metaphors. We get it. We're not complaining about a lack of metaphors. We're complaining about the story that strings them together. It's not just the plot, but the depiction of the characters' arcs.

Anyone can claim anything is a metaphor for something else, if you're trying hard enough to see metaphors (and riddles). Whiny little Jeremiah is a metaphor for compassion? You gotta be kidding me. What did this boy do to sacrifice for others? How did he illustrate feeling other people's pain? He was totally wrapped up in himself.

The metaphor is not the message. Donaldson has never stated this as his own opinion. That's a personal opinion driven by one's own philosophical agenda. What Donaldson has repeatedly claimed is that his CHARACTERS are the reason he writes the story, i.e. that these characters need these particular events to happen to them. Therefore, when we engage the story at this level, in our criticism, we're dealing precisely with the level that Donaldson claims is the most important part.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lurch wrote:
Dense?..no argument Wild !..but thats not a new trait in the TCoTC , imho. The tragedy in real life gets transposed to " The Land" where everything is an exaggerated upside down inside out version , or metaphoric version, of what has and is transpiring in real life. Its been that way all along...imho.

What I fall victim to..is..the author's lyrical prose. It flows sooOOoo wwEELLllLL,,that whats going on, already complicated by the upside down inside outness of it all,,gets scant attention because I'm enjoying the alliteration and metre so much. Therefore, I know I will be doing a second read minimum,,as soon as I get done with the first read. The first read is for the joy of style. The second read is for wadeing into the deep end.

What happened with TLD tho..style became the story. Metaphor became the message...I'm still reeling from this "transcendence" by the author. I'll be the first to say the observation was/ is not easy. But,,dense? No, not dense, just different...Is Intuition any denser than Logic or reason?..no, not really,,its just a different way of using the brain.


I agree it's nothing new to the series as a whole, but the Last Chronicles in particular have a lot of plot to get through.

That being said, I didn't have the same issues with the LC, or TLD in particular, that others did. Perhaps because looking for metaphor and deeper meanings isn't my first reaction. Maybe that's why I suck at interpreting poetry Wink

One thing I found difficult about it was, aside from the giants, a lack of characters that were likeable in any way. Sure, there's the Mahdoubt, but she's not in it all that long, and we never really find out much about her. All of the main three are wrapped up in their own problems, whining away in their heads about how unworthy they are. Just makes me want to slap them with a big stick.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:12 pm    Post subject: Progress Reply with quote

I am, admittedly, one of the people who have complained about the LC, despite the fact that Donaldson is by far my favorite (living) author.

Just a quicky, but not intentionally pointed or snide, comment, but do I remember correctly reading that the writing strategy/framework for the LC was something called 'stirring cycles?' If I have that correct, and if I am somewhat correct in what it means, maybe SRD just 'stirred' a little too hard. Or maybe he was correct all along and he just wasn't up to the challenge.

I still love SRD and hope we get something else from him really soon.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

..ha haaa....you all remind me of the guy in back of the English Lit class going on about how Shakespeare sucked and didn't make sense. Yea yeaaa,,trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole and then blame the carpenter because its not working.

The issue isn't whether you like TLD or the End or not. The issue is your own words on why you have concluded what you have. Not one of you brave souls have answered my question...Do You Like being Disappointed, Confused, Bitter etc etc.? If you like that ,,what can I say, you've said it all.

If you want to do something about that unpleasant state, then there are ways being offered here. After all, this is a fan site...If you throw your hands up in the air , and say,,I can't do that,,or won't do that..to me, thats a lot of negative that is easily overcame with just another try. But once again, its easier to blame the messenger than heed the message.

Its funny,,or better yet..Its SURREAL,,that the very chapter we are waiting on to begin being dissected,,has an invisible character in it,,much like a hot potato as it is passed around the Company. The chapter is a nice parable on ...GUILT . Yeaa..I'm not accepting any guilt for any of your dissatisfaction, confusion, bitterness. I offer a way to seeing the authors work that bring satisfaction. If that " way" isn't to your liking,,thats on you, not me ,not the author. I believe that author isn't going to accept any of your guilt blame either. Like it is said in the chapter..this is what SRD does. This is his work that hes been doing since LFB. Its what he does and theres no guilt to be had.

Accept the responsibility of your own dissatisfaction. ..What are you going to do about it? Nothing?..What makes you think people at a fan site want to wallow in Bitterness,,when there is ability right between our ears to discover satisfaction, joy and reward?..And why wouldn't I offer that to any, showing sign of distress?

Of course,,it may have nothing to do about the ending or the author.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
..ha haaa....you all remind me of the guy in back of the English Lit class going on about how Shakespeare sucked and didn't make sense. Yea yeaaa,,trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole and then blame the carpenter because its not working.


I'm one of these people. I found Shakespeare over wordy and pretentious, and I'm a poet.

Statements such as this are not conducive to bringing about the type of discourse you appear, at least on the surface, to be advocating.

Perhaps the problem *is* the ending. I didn't care for it either, although I found much to enjoy in TLD.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again, thats your choice..Yet you aren't posting out a Bitterness Blog that collapses under it s own self defeat.

Alls can say about your ..over wordy and pretentious quip is ..there was no radio TV etc back then. Even books were for only the very well off. Theater was THE Entertainment for most, along side of..bear bating and circus type acts...So Theater,,no matter whose,,was All About being wordy.. Word Play was Entertainment. You may be one of those people,,but a few hundred of years being considered " Classic" and The Epitome,,is against you. And that the Bards works are taught in schools and colleges across the world,,again is against you. Statements such as yours still don't address the issue..If you perceive the ending to be a Problem..What are you going to do to solve it?
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lurch wrote:
Again, thats your choice..Yet you aren't posting out a Bitterness Blog that collapses under it s own self defeat.

Alls can say about your ..over wordy and pretentious quip is ..there was no radio TV etc back then. Even books were for only the very well off. Theater was THE Entertainment for most, along side of..bear bating and circus type acts...So Theater,,no matter whose,,was All About being wordy.. Word Play was Entertainment. You may be one of those people,,but a few hundred of years being considered " Classic" and The Epitome,,is against you. And that the Bards works are taught in schools and colleges across the world,,again is against you. Statements such as yours still don't address the issue..If you perceive the ending to be a Problem..What are you going to do to solve it?


Dude, it's not a quip. It's my *opinion* that I am entitled to. Just like my *opinion* of the ending of the book. What I am going to do to solve it is re-read it when I'm ready and be happy with the parts I am, and not happy with the parts I'm not.

The reality is I have nothing to solve. How I read is how I read. And even if I came here and said "I didn't like X or Y" and posted a long rant about why I didn't, it's still not be something to "solve". That's my opinion of the book.

What I am *not* going to do is get on some high horse and talk down to everyone else like my opinion actually counts more than everyone else's, or that I know more than everyone else, or perceive more than everyone else.

What are *you* going to do to solve *that*?
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again..its not about ME..Its about You..You have a problem but you don't see a need to solve it.. I don't have a problem. The author solved all my expectations and with most ,did so exceedingly.
I'm not talking down to anybody.. You are talking down to yourself. The author has put an end to a life long effort and You and other have the audacity to say that his End is Problematic.. doesn't work, is confusing, is dissatisfying..etc.. This is HIS END to HIS Work..not Your End to Your Work..

Again,,I've yet to see any vocabulary on failure of craft, technique or style. The complaint of not connecting says a lot more about the reader,,when there are plenty of other posters admitting to being brought to tears.

We all get what we get from the works. But I'm not into moving goal posts. I repeat, I have no problem saying that I don't know it all, that there is very probable more to TCoTC including the LC and especially TLD, that I have Not grasped yet. So please back off on the high horse, talking down bit, Mr Poet. When even the idea of a 2nd read is anathema..thats beyond pretense,,thats just sad.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rdhopeca wrote:

The reality is I have nothing to solve. How I read is how I read. And even if I came here and said "I didn't like X or Y" and posted a long rant about why I didn't, it's still not be something to "solve". That's my opinion of the book.

What I am *not* going to do is get on some high horse and talk down to everyone else like my opinion actually counts more than everyone else's, or that I know more than everyone else, or perceive more than everyone else.


Hear, hear.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So..the author brings an end to 40 some years of writing TCOTC,,and you all know better than he about how he ends it..You all respect him and respect his achievements and accolades, so respecting his life long work, that when the End leaves you confused, and dissatisfied,,that it simply must be the author's fault.

I'm more inclined to believe that TCoTC has been more of a mystery to you than you are willing to recognize.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lurch wrote:
So..the author brings an end to 40 some years of writing TCOTC,,and you all know better than he about how he ends it..You all respect him and respect his achievements and accolades, so respecting his life long work, that when the End leaves you confused, and dissatisfied,,that it simply must be the author's fault.

I'm more inclined to believe that TCoTC has been more of a mystery to you than you are willing to recognize.


I never said it was anyone's fault. I simply said I didn't like the ending per se, in particular the absorption of Foul, and the author himself at E-Fest admitted he could have done a better job writing it.

Other than that, in general, I'm happy with the thing as a whole, and have read TLD three times so far, in a way that makes me content. Which is really what anyone should be about.

Rather than hurl intellectually elite insults at you, though, I'll respect your opinion about the TCoTC, uneducated, non-fluent, unmotivated, and clueless person that I am.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

..Hey, c'mon now, I was there too..that last few percent that he felt he could have given to "closing the window"..would not have made the difference between bitterness or not..imho anyway. I thought the simplicity of that scene made it easier to ..grasp.I was looking for Unification and I got it.The timing was exquisite , imho. TC's " Now" said it all..imho.

..Also,,clarification is needed..The End being the epilogue or..the End being the everything to rubble..? In my mind, they are interlocked, both need the other,,as in Save AND Damn..but to some,,Rubble and Rainbow are two different un related scenes. ..oh well.



So, that makes you a poor poet?
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lurch wrote:
..Hey, c'mon now, I was there too..that last few percent that he felt he could have given to "closing the window"..would not have made the difference between bitterness or not..imho anyway. I thought the simplicity of that scene made it easier to ..grasp.I was looking for Unification and I got it.The timing was exquisite , imho. TC's " Now" said it all..imho.

..Also,,clarification is needed..The End being the epilogue or..the End being the everything to rubble..? In my mind, they are interlocked, both need the other,,as in Save AND Damn..but to some,,Rubble and Rainbow are two different un related scenes. ..oh well.



So, that makes you a poor poet?


We don't really know, do we. Perhaps three or four sentences might have made the difference in that particular scene. In my current project, one or two sentences actually have made a profound difference in what I've written.

I don't think I'm a poor poet, no. I'm proud of a lot of the work I've put out there for review and criticism and enjoyment, as evidenced by my signature. But that's not for me to decide, is it.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm the poor poet
And admit it unprompted
Stop the cheap shots, lurch!
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I was fishing for was,,"theres no such thing as a rich poet.."..Joy is in the ears that hear....oh well..
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cambo wrote:
A point: even if we accept that the metaphor and symbolism is as deep and rich in the Last Chronicles as some claim, and that more incisive reading would reveal this....is that necessarily a success if it made the books less immediately engaging than the previous ones? Reading the Last Chronicles, there were brief flashes of the emotional punch the Second Chrons had for me. In TLD, there was nothing at all, despite some very emotionally charged moments for the characters. If there are depths of metaphor to plumb- and I believe there likely are- that will be an intellectual reading, not an emotional one. I don't think any amount of dissection will provide me with what was missing on that first read.

And that, really, is why I am bitter.


Well Cambo... I don't know what to say... except three years between books is a long time between books for us to grow and develop as readers. We are young, and not necessarily set in our ways and we have a desire to explore new different works... expand our horizons.

I use to worship Donaldson as the one true literary God. Now, I enjoy and value his work...but I appreciate him more as a doorway between the juvenile tripe I read in my younger days to the more stylistic works I prefer to read now.

And you know what? Experience may change me so I view Donaldson in stronger lenses again. For whatever reason, sometimes what an author is trying to say means nothing to us. For the longest time, I felt that Ray Bradbury was a terrible writer... I could not fathom ever liking anything he wrote... I mean, his writing for Fahrenheit 451 is so BAD. After going through life experiences though, all of a sudden Bradbury had a lot to say to me. Has nothing to do with being able to intellectually study him, my being was just able to resonate with what he had to say.

The Last Chronicles is for people who can see the finish line and question the efficacy of their actions during life. Particularly the ones that cost us so much and produced very little to no results. Intellectually, we can understand that but it does not necessarily resonate with us...with who we are currently Donaldson does not have much to say to us. Maybe someday it will hit us with the force of a thousand suns... then again maybe not. Does not mean we do not understand it, it's just not what we are looking for right now!
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What -is- too bad is that no one can discuss anything without people executing their free right to shit on your discussion.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well,,to Orlion's point,,that TLD,,LC,,are written for the older folks...The problem I have with that is..since when is ,,Who Am I ?..Self Identity, the property of the older set? I certainly was aware of those philosophical Humanity questions as early as high school and have kept an eye on them thru higher education years and ever since. I understand what you have posted and can see the connection to a perspective on the work. But, to me, you are saying the " younger" folks only look for certain things..or ..can't see anything beyond what they have experienced...Seems to me thats contrary to one of the motifs so strongly demonstrated in TLD..opening your mind to choices that you don't even know you have..and..free yourself from the limitations of Time and Space.....No, that is Not the sole property of gray hairs. Please don't belittle yourself by saying only olde pharts get that.

And,,again,,there is no vocabulary in discussion and dissect , that I use that is beyond 2nd year English at college..English 201 and 202..Thats not even a freekin footstool to look down from. I have no guilt from using what I learned and realize I have forgotten much as well. Point being; education is age free...you can get it any time. ..young, old..anytime.. You only embarrass yourself when you try to belittle a person for using their education. I have gained enjoyment and appreciation of all the fiction and non fiction I've read over the years thru having a basic understanding of literature. ..Since you LOVE to read,,and If you want something to feel good about ,be more than satisfied with..my advice is..get some English lit courses under your belt. You will never regret it no matter how olde or wet behind the ears you are. Wink

..and yea..there is a lot to this work of Donaldson's that needs to be opened and explored. A fan web site presents a place and time for that opportunity. So when folks go there, turn on the flashlites and step forward.. understand its hard to see, if you have your eyes already shut.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
What -is- too bad is that no one can discuss anything without people executing their free right to shit on your discussion.


Certainly. But it must be remembered that the shit can flow both ways. Sometimes even unintentionally (Believe it or not). And it's hard to distinguish between "honest opinion" and "defecating on your discussion". As a result, I've stayed away so as to try to avoid being the problem.

Quote:
Well,,to Orlion's point,,that TLD,,LC,,are written for the older folks...The problem I have with that is..since when is ,,Who Am I ?..Self Identity, the property of the older set? I certainly was aware of those philosophical Humanity questions as early as high school and have kept an eye on them thru higher education years and ever since. I understand what you have posted and can see the connection to a perspective on the work. But, to me, you are saying the " younger" folks only look for certain things..or ..can't see anything beyond what they have experienced...Seems to me thats contrary to one of the motifs so strongly demonstrated in TLD..opening your mind to choices that you don't even know you have..and..free yourself from the limitations of Time and Space.....No, that is Not the sole property of gray hairs. Please don't belittle yourself by saying only olde pharts get that.


I could argue that the idea "Who Am I" is not really central to the Last Chronicles, but that would be derailing the discussion and point Razz

To give an example of what I mean: a good portion of the Last Chronicles is dealing with Linden's frantic drive to save Jeremiah. Now, I could piece together her rational, or even compare her to people I know... but how much am I missing if I've never had children or dependents that I've felt a profound responsibility for? Further, what is lost if I've never experienced all that with the doubt that I've accomplished anything meaningful in this guardianship that I've poured my soul into? I can understand it, but that does not mean that the story itself speaks to me or has anything to offer me.

At that point, I would be a mere observer of the story... and without getting anything out of it, I would not be involved... then what could I offer in a discussion? Just whatever critique of the plot, prose, style, etc. that I could observe.

Now that is not to say I did not get anything out of the Last Chronicles... truth be told, I was the most involved during Against All Things Ending and got exactly what I needed at that point in the story... to the point that getting The Last Dark was not as imperative as it might have been otherwise.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Orlion. I agree. The purpose of this thread was to vent about some disappointments with TLD. Like the Parenting thread, it had an intention and direction which subsequent posters then took in a different direction, contrary to the author's intention. (For that other thread, I acknowledged my part, expressed my regret, and respected WF's preference as the thread author ... something we don't see on the other side of this issue.) In fact, not only were the intentions thwarted for this thread, but the author (and others who agreed) was attacked personally for his reading comprehension. For about the 100th time. Not only are people in this forum unable to criticize Donaldson without being told they are objectively wrong, they are criticized on a personal level (including the insinuation that they aren't truly fans). It was this, "You're wanting apples instead of the author's oranges" attitude that prompted my shit-sandwich comparison--a reference to a South Park episode where the choice between two political candidates was literally between a douchebag and a shit sandwich ... if anyone remembers ... which isn't really shitting on a thread, but a clever metaphor for the irrelevance of the previous apples/oranges rebuttal. (Maybe it was too surreal for others to catch. I guess you all don't like mysteries enough to figure it out and see its pure shitty brilliance. Cool )
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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