Brian, I don’t care for irony in fiction, and so much popular alternative writing is loaded with irony. It’s all about safety and taking the position of being superior to your subject matter. Lots of experimental writing is linked to intellectualism, which can be very alienating, very anti-body and anti-emotion. It seems to me this is the defining difference between straight experimental fiction and queer experimental fiction. The queers who do weird stuff with words very much engage the body and emotion, and they like to push their material into places that don’t feel safe. For my writing to work, I need to go into areas where I don’t feel safe. I always start with what I want to say and then try to figure out a form that can get at it, rather than begin with form.
As far as people in general’s fear of experimental writing, beyond an obvious concern that it’s going to be boring, I think it’s a fear of chaos. We use words to organize the world, and the world is a very scary place. I think people are afraid that if they enter into a space where words don’t behave themselves, that they’ll be plunged into chaos. And in a sense, they’re right. I’m all for mucking up cultural categories and pulling the ground out from under the reader.
(Dodie Bellamy interviewed here