Monday, February 09, 2004

Adventures in "Writer's Block"

I'm supposed to be writing right now.

"Supposed to be."

I should have been writing for the past four hours. But I haven't been. Not a case of writer's block. Not really, anyway. I just can't bring myself to write. (I can't seem to bring myself to do a lot of things lately, hm?) Not this, anyway.

Ya see, I have to re-tell/adapt an existing story to fit one of the Early Modern/Medieval narratological modes we've been studying in my honours (or "honors," according to the University's choice of spelling) seminar.

I, stupidly, chose to adapt part of a work by a poet I have immense respect for. Dante Alighieri. No one can improve upon anything he's written--certainly not upon the cantos dealing with the Heaven of Mars in the Paradiso cantica of La divina commedia*.

I know these cantos well. That's why I chose to adapt them. Plus, I thought it'd be interesting to re-tell them according to Anglo-Saxon conventions. Truly, it is an engaging undertaking.

But I feel like I'm bastardizing La divina commedia.

How did I put it earlier? Right. I said I felt like I was committing some "egregious sin," a "mortal sin" (as opposed to venial).

I said I feel like I should be entombed alongside Farinata and the rest of the heretics.

How to overcome this? How do I respectfully adapt Dante's vision to fit parameters that don't allow for such complex allegory? Dealing with divergent conceptions of heroism is the easy part. But the rest?

* - In Italian, only the first word in a title is capitalized. Consider this your useless fact for the day.

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