Writing about writing the writing

“It wasn’t a story, so much as a series of episodes that contained the rhythms of life.”

-Sukhdev Sandhu writing about Francois Truffaut’s Qautre Cents Coups (The 400 Blows) over at The New Statesmen via 3QuarksDaily.com.

This is sort of the philosophy I am taking concerning my latest proyecto, Not the Autobiography of Olivia Jack (Check out Not the History of Last Week I posted a few days ago…).  Essentially, Olivia Jack is an idea, perhaps The Idea.  Or, if you prefer BIG and Jay’s conception, it was all a dream:

It was all a dream.  Was it all a dream?

That being said, there are few points of divergence concerning how to work through the sequencing and how to characterize the narrator.  First of all, I am debating whether I want to Fight Club it David Fincher style with the heroine embodying different perspectives from distinct visual presences, or if I want to Rayuela this like Julio Cortazar and create a decentered narrator that floats in and out of the story.

The legendary Pixies and scenes from Fight Club:

“With your feet in the air and your head on the ground

Try this trick and spin it, yeah

Your head will collapse but there is nothing in it

And you’ll ask yourself

Where is my mind?”

And now el loco genio, lo siento si no comprendes el espanol…

I don’t understand everthing that he said here, but he’s alluding to the world of signs and signals that each subjective entity can make use of in assembling a semblance of vision, of comprehension.  Word.  His version is much more articulate and his pace is charged by the energy of clarity.  Dude knows what he’s talking about.

Most likely I am talking about some sort of hybrid narrator that is not necessarily the person Olivia Jack, but Olivia Jack the idea as an elusive entity, a character created out of an individual as well as out of a collective subjective experience.  The idea and the person come to the climactic scene acknowledging the presence of the other, however disillusioned and alienated they have become over time.

What I do know is that something died That Night at the party – either the person or the dream (both?).  I suppose it’s a classic existential question, ‘Does the person die with the dream, or does the dream die with the person?”  Experience tells me they both happen all the time.  We die a thousand deaths everyday, sometimes more, sometimes less.  We do know that there are 86,400 seconds in a day, 604,800 seconds in a week, and 31,449,600 in a typical year.  Of course there is the flip side to that coin – from every dream we are re-awakened.

It’s like Brother Ali says when he’s rapping about dying through a terrible 4 1/2 minute song, “Did you ever realize that’s 4 1/2 minutes of your life you can never get back?”  I’m sure this thought has been repeated throughout history and all I’m asking is what is going to happen in the next 4 1/2 minutes?

So then, what is left to be discovered is what really happened and what it means to the people that were there to witness it as well as to the people that have only heard it through the wire.  The purpose of the work is to gauge how people make sense of what they have seen, heard, and believed in order to create some sort of node of understanding.

In Cultural Studies we call this practice ‘discourse’, in poker we call it ‘the rake’, Radiohead calls it ‘the bends’, Gramsci calls it ‘hegemony’, and in everyday conversation we call it ‘the news’ or ‘now’.

Currently I’m calling it ‘Olivia Jack’.  It’s gotta be better than Rose…

Sure enough more questions than answers break the surface in this type of endeavor, however there will be some shots at answers – chiefly among them that there probably are no answers.  But we do have facts, stats, pictures, and evidence at our disposal.  Do with them what you will.

Again, that being said, the traditional novel cannot capture what I am talking about.  I don’t want it to come across like the newest spin-off of a television melodrama, although I wouldn’t mind making bank like those screenwriters are pulling…

The reason the novel comes up short is because the traditional format does not seem to be able to contain all of the elements that I want to not only include, but to amplify (that, or I’m just not yet a good enough writer to capture everything I’m thinking…).

For example, there are points where a scene could only capture what I’m trying to say if you were able to be reading with a particular image in mind, or a specific song playing gently in the background.  Or even loudly in the foreground, you decide.

Another example – I could tell you how St. Vincent looks like Alissa Milano, her voice sounds a bit like Alanis Morisette crossed with the music of some Broken Social Scene and old school Fugazi, and shares the same name as a hospital in Santa Fe, or I could include the damn link to her playing a live set and you would be able to make your own comparisons and descriptions.

Part of me likes the blog format because you can get obscenely close to this effect without having to rely on the conventional audiovisual cues of a film.  I wrote a few days ago about the perils and state of crisis the publishing industry is going through and I basically said, “Yes that is the case, but that’s not going to stop me.”  As I thought more about this, I tried to imagine ways of subverting or re-arranging the structure and format of literature.

Everybody goes to movies, hardly anybody sits down and reads a book.  People don’t find the time to engage their intellect in reading just words but if they have the right music, a high budget action sequences, gorgeous actors and actresses, a notable director/producer/studio and box of popcorn and large soda, you can churn out any drivel you like and turn a sizeable profit.  That just simply isn’t the case in the realm of the novel.  It used to be, but that was 1850 Victorian England or 1960’s Beat, or early to mid 20th Century Latin and South American lit.

We are a generation addicted to the technology that shapes us and defines us as we try to catch the next wave of innovation.  I am an unapologetic (and undiagnosed) ADD media surfer.  I find clicking links and running a handful of tabs while listening to music and posting to my blog to be perversely captivating and energizing.  It gives me a rush and it’s not even a drug –  At least not yet, maybe in the next version of the DSM…  It kind of feels something like this:

This project only works with the words being physically (ok, maybe technologically) presented in front of your eyes and mind for you to contemplate and integrate into your thought patterns and prejudices.  If I put it into screenplay format with dialogue and screen directions and all that biznass it would not carry the same significance, which is not to say a better or worse or bigger or lesser significance…

The other hard part is actually sitting down and hammering it out.  Part of me thinks the writing about the idea of the project is just as exciting as the project itself.  At its base this just might be a problem of vanity, or of trepidation.  On the other end of the spectrum, the writing of the process is already its own in-progress process – a form of writing about writing the writing, if you will.

I wouldn’t.

Well, I hope I am painting something worth looking at.  If anyone is actually reading this or doing something creative of their own, lemme know your thoughts.  I have a penny:


~ by garcialoca on April 9, 2009.

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