Sunday, March 17, 2013

Is Masculine Writing Dead?

Novelist Frank Bill looks around a bookstore and finds very few writers that capture his life of deer hunting, physical labor, and ruggedness.

From a piece on the Daily Beast...
What I’m saying is, a large number of men have lost their ruggedness. Maybe they never had it. I believe to be a man is to be tough mentally and physically. To have a small set of skills to survive from day to day when needed. Like lifting weights or boxing in a dust and spider-web-infested concrete shed with a tin roof. Where it’s sweltering in the summer and freezer-burn-cold in the winter, to keep the body and mind tough. Hunting and fishing to hone the skills my father and grandfather passed onto me.

I’ve met guys who take great pride in their cars but can’t even change a flat tire, guys who glory in a steak dinner but squirm when I speak of killing a deer. They struggle with baiting a worm onto a fishing hook and can’t stand the site of gutting, scaling, and cleaning fish. My mother and grandmother did all of this and without effort. I grew up around strong-willed and even more capable females the same as I did males.

And when walking the isles of a bookstore, those are the characteristics that interest me most, writers who shed light on what masculinity means, what it is to be tough, to be rugged, to be able to take care of your damn self.

1 comment:

David Scott said...

I am with you. So much of writing today concerns getting in touch with our emotions. That's ok but not what I prefer.

I still rather read or rather reread Jack London, Mickey Spilane, Ross Macdonald, Hemingway Clive Cusller to those who write about the unfairness of life.

My heros have always been Theodore Rosevelt, the exploers Amundsen, Perry, Shackleton, and Lewis and Clark.

The men I worked with all my life were men who only acknowledgement to the cold was to work harder to keep warm and to the heat drink a little extra water. They busted their backs and wore out their bodies early so as to provide for their families. They did it without expectations of appreciations but because it was ingrained in them.

Because of this I prefer to read of people and events that I can relate to and not cry about the unfairness of life.