Devotion ~ Question #9 - Wrapping up

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SnoopyDances
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Devotion ~ Question #9 - Wrapping up

Unread post by SnoopyDances » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:26 pm

As we wrap up our discussion of Patti's book, are there any questions/topics you have that weren't covered?
Any favorite quotes?
Any final comments?

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Devotion ~ Question #9 - Wrapping up

Unread post by nebraska » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:56 pm

On page 87 Patti writes "Why is one compelled to write? To set oneself apart, cocooned, rapt in solitude, despite the wants of others."

Maybe those words explain something that has troubled me since the tidbits about Simone Weil and Albert Camus. Simone trotted off to a war that wasn't really hers, marched in protests, and eventually starved herself to death wanting to experience the misery of the oppressed so she could understand their reality. Camus wrote abstract thoughts, page after page of theory and idealism, safely perched in his personal ivory tower. So much of this seems to me to be for their own satisfaction, a lot of blah blah blah and not much meaningful action. Perhaps that is what philosophy is. :perplexed: Contrast that with the life of Mother Teresa who saw suffering and did something concrete about it. She fed the hungry and nursed the ill, devoting her life to physical care of others, fighting social injustice with action.

It upsets me to think that being a writer must mean "despite the wants of others". It seems to me we should all have loved ones in our lives whose wants and needs come before our own selfish desires. Perhaps I am taking Patti's words too far, but the tidbits about these two heroes of Patti's have laid uneasy on my mind ever since I read about them.

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Devotion ~ Question #9 - Wrapping up

Unread post by fireflydances » Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:28 pm

I missed Patti's wider take on things, a la M Train in particular, this time out. And although I enjoyed Devotion, and more so because of the process of researching the tidbits, its more abstract focus, devotion to the creative process, felt limited to me, too quick and not enough plumbing of the depths. A LOT more could have been said about the topic. But Patti chose to give us a fringe of experiences with a lengthy center devoted to fiction. To me, the purpose of the book was to showcase the fiction.

But then, I wonder about the inclusion of the short story? Perhaps the process of writing the story led to a decision to showcase the process of being inspired. The story itself sticks with me on several levels. First, I found the characters odd and not really sympathetic at all. I wouldn't doubt that this was Patti's intention. And second, I do believe that the purpose of the story was to illustrate the negative reaches of devotion --- i.e. obsession. The characters seemed less well developed, and therefore perhaps intended as vehicles to carry this theme.

I haven't read any long articles, or interviews on Devotion. I would be interested in learning more about Patti's objective in undertaking this book.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

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Devotion ~ Question #9 - Wrapping up

Unread post by nebraska » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:38 pm

Patti has one of those writings styles that I find beautiful to read, I enjoy the way she selects words and blends them into smooth composition. I picked out just a few pretty phrases from "Devotion" that make her style pleasing to me.

pg 20 It occurs to me that the young look beautiful as they sleep and the old, such as myself, look dead.
pg 37 Her mind was a muscle of discontent. also: Her sole desire was to astonish.
pg 39 She experienced the melancholy luxury of solitary joy.
pg 44 I was born beautiful, she blurted, why should I have an ugly life?
pg 59 When does it cease to be something beautiful, a faithful aspect of the heart, to become off-center, slightly off the axis, and then hurled into an obsessional void?
pg 68 Looking down at her small naked body, Alexander felt a wave of remorse that he swiftly stifled.
pg 69 She possessed not the glow of love but the face of a ravaged bird.