No, it wasn't about that.
It wasn't about that either, but it does have something to do with it.
The thought was about what makes classic writing - the quality of the writing, or the content?
We've all seen success stories where relatively poorly written works make millions and become hugely popular, but that's not what I'm talking about here. What I'm talking about are the works where the quality or writing is excellent, but the content is not 'weighty'.
In particular I'm talking about erotica.
I have read books in the category of erotica where the quality of writing is extremely good. There are those that deserve to be called 'classics' in that they are worth being and remaining popular for a long time, and have important things to say.
Such novels are not, however, likely to be seen on a reading list or in a book club. Why not? I've been involved in plenty of book clubs where we're discussed books on controversial subjects, many having received critical acclaim. I have to admit I found many of them boring as hell. I'm a storyteller and find it difficult to enthuse about technically perfect use of language. I'm far more interested in what is being said than how it's being said.
I'm learning a lot about the use of language as I go on and am becoming more interested in its technical use. This has led me to see the intrinsic value in some of the erotica I read. What is it about sex that instantly reduces the value of the work that depicts it?
We can look at nudes on the wall and appreciate brushwork, yet we can't read a passage describing people loving one another and appreciate the perfect positioning of punctuation, or the exemplary choice of words to describe the sensations experienced by the characters?
Writers of erotica are often not seen as 'proper writers/' and elicit smirks everywhere. They're not 'real' writers. Why not? They're amazingly skilled. Finding the perfect words to describe love, and acts of love, are just as difficult and need just as much skill as finding the perfect words to describe war, terror, abuse, courage, overcoming difficulties and any of the other things people consider to be worthy and 'weighty' subjects.
I don't have any answers or suggestions. As I said, it was just a thought I thought I'd share.