No one writes non-specific love poetry, do they? I mean the emotions described and the imagery used might be universal, but you are thinking of someone specific, right?
Can you ever come in at an angle that doesn’t involve some hint of authenticity emotion-wise.? I think it would seem pretty empty, pretty lead-footed. Who wants to dance like Frankenstein’s monster?
So what about fictions? Stories, don’t they have the same underlying structure that helps them hold their shape? Don’t you have to be driven by some passion to address something that you are concerned with in the world at large, or in the world of art?
I suppose I am spinning on that old adage that you right what you know, and saying you actually right to communicate to a someone or about a something. Even abstract paintings or avant garde pieces are forged from a desire to branch into new territory, and how do you know that it is new territory? Because you are having a conversation with the old territory.
Even if you write for yourself, as so many claim to do, you are running a kind of internal monologue, and therefore are again talking to a person, or about a thing.
How would we navigate anyone’s work if there were no commonalities? If there were nothing that said this bears relation to that, or is seeking to be distinct from this, then how would we know where we are or who we were reading about?
I’ve read a few novels that felt like a free-fall through looser than usual associations, where as part of some big intellectual game the writer sought to promote a dissociative kind of aesthetic. Sometimes it has worked for me, but sometimes it is like one of those meals which passes right through you which you are unable to digest. I’ve watched films like this – they are kind of hard to experience, and at the end of them because someone was willingly trying not to communicate the artwork didn’t; it was a formless shape.
Universality is different to non-specificity. It is all about the framing of the picture; all about the creation of a viewpoint. Write love songs to the world if you want but in some very true sense, if you have not target, you cannot hit your mark.