I had fun reading and posting that excerpt of The Silver Ring last Friday, and I started thinking about some other stories I'd published that I could possibly read, and immediately I realized there are two stories that I couldn't read at all, no matter how much I'd want to: “The Amazing Adventures of © and ®” and “The Killer Inside ©". Those stories cannot be read aloud for obvious reasons, but does that mean they are lacking? Storytelling, from what we're taught in school, began as a form of oral tradition. It started with Homer telling the story of Odysseus so very long ago, and through the centuries it began to change where the stories were written down. That is not to say stories aren't meant to be read aloud anymore, but a good percentage of stories and poems nowadays simply can't. Many of these would be labeled "experimental" and deal with some kind of significant change in the text. Such as poetry, or even stories, that is formatted oddly, like some kind of special shape. For some reason the author feels the work has to be written and published in that specific way.
I remember one submission I'd received for the anthology, the author complained in his cover letter (note: never complain in your cover letter) how long it took for him to format his story in the e-mail because he couldn't send a Word attachment; for some reason his "story" was twenty-five words crisscrossed as an X. It was less a hint fiction piece and more a poetry piece (at least to my eyes), and it reinforced the fact that I just don't get the reason for that type of experimental work. It sometimes seems pretentious of the author or poet, moving words around the page like that, as if by doing so gives the work more authenticity than a traditional poem or story. These poems and stories are meant to be seen, not heard, but does that ultimately mean they lack anything? Or is this simply the way literature has evolved, to cut ties with oral tradition and become a form strictly confined to text?
Keep in mind that while I occasionally enjoy playing around with nontraditional texts, I'm a traditionalist at heart. Maybe this is something I just don't "get". So would anybody be willing to please illuminate me?