A Life Of Fiction CLXI
For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.
Experimental writing: Oh, how those words feel the readers with dread – and experimental poetry even more so than experimental prose. If people, in general, are not interested in experimental music then what makes you think that they might have the slightest possible interest in your experimental verse?
Actually, I quite like some music which might be described as uneasy listening. I used to listen to the John Peel show, Mondays to Thursday nights, back when I was a little kid.
I like avant-garde classical music as well. I like John Cage. I like Karlheinz Stockhausen. I like stuff like that simply because it is so interesting. But I guess that I would not want to listen to it every day.
There are avant-garde pop groups, if that is not an oxymoron. Early Kraftwerk can certainly be considered to be avant-garde. There are groups like Einsturzende Naubaten (not sure if I have spells the name correctly). I remember seeing them making music with drills, once, on a music programme called the Tube. Interesting.
But I digress. This post is about prose and verse, and not my musical tastes. I have heard a few experimental poems in the past. Some of them have even been on the television, in one of those very rare programmes which the BBC has done about poetry. I heard one poem read out which was only a collection of sounds, with no proper words. Even I have not done anything like that. Well, not yet, anyway.
I have experimented with prose. My experiments tend towards the purple end of the spectrum, if you know what I mean. Part of the novel The Book of Gana’Ot can be considered to be experimental – well, really, the opening few sentences. The novel Shadows and Ghosts also features, in part, a style more outré than the usual. Here is a section from that novel (italicised) to show you what I mean.
USA, 1997. San Diego, California. Heaven’s Gate. Not only a Christian End Times cult, but also a group of people who had expected to be borne up into the heavens by UFOs.
The Heaven’s Gate cult was founded by Bonnie Nettles and Marshall H Applewhite in 1975, after they had become convinced that they were characters mentioned in Revelations 11: ‘And I will give power to my two witnesses…’ They got their first followers in Oregon and California, that latter state always a soft touch for fools seeking a rapid escalator to the heavens.
The two original leaders predicted a ‘transition’ to the stars. According, again, to Revelations .’…and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and three score days’ – or a little under three and a half years.
The transition did not occur, and the two original ‘leaders’ retired to Texas with their remaining followers. That should have been an end to the cult, but a few refused to give up their belief.
In 1996, they moved to the San Diego area; and became convinced that, in 1997, they became convinced that their souls would be transported to the stars by the Hale-Bopp comet, which they believed was actually some spaceship. The remaining 39 members took poison as the comet approached.
Go all the way back to Masada and you will find people willing to kill themselves because of God.
Paradise (‘pærə,daıs) n. Originally, an enclosed area, or a walled garden. The word may come from the Persian. There were many beautiful walled gardens in Afghanistan, once upon a time.
One mile to Paradise. He would be arriving soon. Have to pay attention with towns of this size, blink and you’ll miss them.
The radio cut out, a sudden, impolite ending to Desperado. All that came through the speakers in the car was the occasional buzz of static. Perhaps there were words there, overwhelmed by the auditory snow. Perhaps not.
“What the..?” Sanders asked.
“It’s the area around here.” the other officer in the car said. “You can’t pick up radio signals. Well, not very well. TV is next to impossible, too, I hear. Can’t get any mobile phones, either. It’s supposed to be something to do with big iron deposits in the hills around Paradise. Well, that’s what they say, anyway.”
Nothing I have written, though, is as experimental as the novel House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski. It is one of the few very odd books which I would recommend. Hell, I have read it twice. But maybe I’m strange.
I am guilty of occasionally doing poems which are a little bit experimental. Here is one poem written very quickly, as a flow of consciousness. There is no rhythm, and it doesn’t rhyme. But I think that you guessed that it was going to be like that. For those really interested in such things the poem is taken from the collection Bag Of Words.
A permanent interlude
Between two nothings;
The dichotomy of Dasein.
An awareness of darkness while standing in the light.
Self-delusion – a denial of entropy;
Belief in the unbelievable;
That esse cannot cease.
No other beasts bear the burden of knowing
That the candle flame must gutter and end;
They are spared foreknowledge of extinction.
We seek a purpose to the pointless;
And find mystic patterns in chaos;
And listen to the tiniest strings
Playing the most cosmic etude
As we waste the precious seconds
Of this brief interlude.