What started as an imaginary book cover became a handful of pages from the imaginary book. the imaginary book is no longer imaginary. It is called ‘tapeworm folios’ and consists of fragmented prose juxtaposed over my photography. The book will be creative commons in its electronic form but will eventually become a physical specimen which you can buy for cash-money. maybe.
encapsulates the mystery of meaning. The moment of recognition
happens as if by magic; and yet, when we reflect on it, we see- its
very name tells us this-that it is impossible without prior
experience. What becomes puzzling then is the phenomenon
of insight, the creation (apparently) of new meaning. Here, we
forget that to recognize can mean to re-think, as in think through
differently. It need not always signify mere repetition of a former
cognition. We say in such cases not only that we recognize x (as Y),
but that we realize x is Y.
In fact, we almost never use the word ‘recognize’ -even in the
most straightforward cases of identification or recall – unless there
is some problem: we don’t see her face clearly, or she has changed,
or we met only briefly years ago. That is, ‘recognition’, even in
apparently straightforward cases, involves re-organization of
experience- an act of contextualization, a sensing of connexions
between aspects of immediate experience and other experiences.
Thus, the experiences of seeing how an assemblage of parts must
go together, recognizing an old friend in an unfamiliar setting, and
understanding a metaphor are species of the same phenomenon.
They all involve insight, understood as re-cognition; a gestalt shift.
And this is the original of meaning.
— Jan Zwicky, Wisdom & Metaphor
Twitter is great for certain things. If you are expressing yourself with only 128 characters it brings a certain clarity of thought, encouraging not only levity but also the sharing of fleeting impressions. It can also be a great conversational tool. My first thought was to post this musing to twitter but, at the end of the day, more people following this blog than follow me on twitter. Also, I do like to go on a bit…
I am currently reading The Drowned World by JG Ballard. I got it out from the library over a year ago along with a few other Ballard titles and kinda forgot to return it. Another county library system I owe money to added to an already extensive list. Reading it I am struck by its inherent cinematic nature – The urge I have to film it is overwhelmingly strong and I find myself pondering how a certain paragraph, page or scene would be expressed in a screenplay and through the camera lens. I think if done right it could equal the works of Tarkofsky in its expression of the interior. In fact, Tarkofsky would of been a perfect directorial candidate for a adaptation.
I have recently been struck by a thought concerning science fiction cinema – With the exception of perhaps ‘Alien’ all the greats have been based on short stories and novels. What is it about science fiction that makes it so inherently unsuited to being expressed in screenplay form from inception? (ooh! Inception! No, wait, wasn’t that based on a short story by Nolan’s brother?)
Maybe I’m wrong and getting carried away with this notion of mine. What do you think?
Samuel O’Neil has a life most people would commit horrendous crimes to achieve. He is an international playboy, acclaimed businessman, and esteemed academic … it seems he can do no wrong. Yet on the eve of what should be the zenith of his career, something doesn’t feel right. Certain somebody is messing with him he turns all his attention to finding out who and why.
But as he begins to unravel the mystery, he realizes he is in danger of also unraveling himself.
Ye Gods! It has finally happened. After many many years of writing and honing, toiling away in obscurity and waiting for the great artistic myth of being discovered to be thrust upon me, it actually has been! Through a series of accidents involving chatting to complete strangers online my work is now available for purchase!
Through the good grace of one J.M. Synder, and her lovely small press J.M.S Books my short story “The Vertigo is available for digital download. Shit, it’s even on amazon and a bunch of other places! ( US link / UK link )
Right now I am working in a prawn factory. From 5pm till 2am I arrange prawns on a conveyor belt to be mooshed and deshelled, or i pick through prawn meat removing bits of shell that have escaped the process. It is, if i’m honest, back breaking and somewhat disgusting work. It does (or will) though pay the bills. It’s not good for my mental state though, oh no, not good at all. Some of the people I work with are… well, they’re assholes. Worse still, they’re stupid assholes. Also, I’m not exactly awesome at the job. In fact, I suck at most of the jobs I’ve ever had.
The only thing I even begin to approach not sucking at is writing. The only thing that actually stops me from going on a murderous killing spree which inevitably ends with me taking my own life is the knowledge that, some day, I will make a living from writing. Self delusion is a powerful thing.
But maybe it doesn’t have to be self-delusion. Maybe I can make a living from writing. Hell, maybe you can even help me achieve this dream!
Please, have an excerpt:
Last night, all he’d felt was a lonely vertigo. A vertigo he’d been compelled to throw himself into. Samuel did not like this feeling, this giddy desire for oblivion, had never felt it before in his life. This morning it felt like all he’d ever known.
He rose from the large, luxurious bed and padded across the faux-marble floor to the dumbwaiter that served the privacy of whoever could afford the $1,000-a-night price-tag. Sensing his proximity and its current load, the hatch slid silently open to reveal a silver cart which held a breakfast of coffee and croissants, both kept at optimum temperature by the dumbwaiter’s heating element. The morning’s Times lay beside the meal, sealed in a milky material shot through with veins of what looked like copper, designed to keep it cool. Samuel rolled the cart out of its enclosure.
Sitting in the lounge area of the open-plan penthouse, Samuel poured himself a coffee and, taking a bite from one of the croissants, turned his attention to the newspaper. Unwrapping it from its hermetic cocoon, he was struck by the anachronism of the ritual. He could get more up-to-date and varied information from feeds online, but he enjoyed his morning ceremony far too much to be bothered by its antiquity. In fact, the idea that his actions had been repeated by hundreds of thousands of people all throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries gave him a sense of peace, of being connected to something larger than himself. He imagined the feeling was similar to believing in God and, at the moment, it was a feeling he so desperately needed.
On the bed the woman began to stir, possibly roused by the aroma of food that had begun to diffuse through the room. He paused in his routine and tried to recall her name. He could not. Pangs of sadness flooded his system, but he quickly dispelled them as he pulled the paper free of its wrapper, unfolded it with a flick of the wrist, and took in the lead headline.
“Your life is not your own.”
The vertigo enveloped him, filled every part of him. His head spun, sank, swimming in treacle he felt himself plummet. Images and moments he’d never seen or experienced tripped and stuttered through his mind’s eye like an over-cranked newsreel.
He dug his nails hard into the plush leather of the sofa and fell back into it. He craved warmth, comfort, the sanctuary of his mother’s womb. He felt himself regressing through his life, through every stage, every person he’d ever been. His thoughts began to collect in pools, silently vocalising a question that had been struggling to break free from the murk of his unconscious since yesterday.
It was never really a question he’d ever asked himself, always being so secure in its answer that it didn’t even warrant a second thought. The question was this:
“Who am I?”
You want more, don’t you? I can see it in your eyes… Unless i’m mistaking that glint for absolute boredom. Go on, buy it anyway. It’s only $2.99 – for those in the UK that’s not even £2. As we used to say at another job I sucked at that wouldn’t even buy you a coffee at starbucks. 50% of all net profits goes to yours truly. If you buy it at amazon they’ll take some of that money and put it into their giant evil money hole but I cannot compete with the convenience of it being sent straight to your kindle, so I forgive you. If i sell enough copies maybe I can buy that artificial heart I so desperately need (family history of heart disease, don’t you know).
I wish i could spend more time on this post, I really do, but those prawns won’t arrange themselves on that conveyor belt.
POST SCRIPT: The myth of being discovered will actually destroy your soul. My advice to you is to submit as often as possible in as many ways as possible. I had my own reasons for waiting this long to get published and only some of them have to do with self-esteem issues.
In 1997 Arundhati Roy released The God of Small Things. It won the Booker prize (now the Man-Booker, as The independent have been pointing out all week whilst writing about it and the recently launched Literature Prize). I haven’t read it although I probably should. I reckon I’d like it as the plot revolves somewhat around the fucked up class system in India (The Caste System) – which i find equal parts interesting and horrific. She hasn’t finished a novel since.
Now, to not follow up the winning of such a prestigious literary prize (or formally prestigious – whatever) would seem like career suicide. Frankly, I don’t think Miss Roy gives a fuck. She’s been far too busy doing more important things. Namely, challenging the capitalist and human being fueled industrialization of India, getting down and dirty in the trenches of India’s hidden war and generally horrifying the countries burgeoning middle-class by writing essays like Walking With The Comrades:
After dinner, without much talk, everybody falls in line. Clearly, we are moving. Everything moves with us, the rice, vegetables, pots and pans. We leave the school compound and walk single file into the forest. In less than half an hour, we arrive in a glade where we are going to sleep. There’s absolutely no noise. Within minutes everyone has spread their blue plastic sheets, the ubiquitous ‘jhilli’ (without which there will be no Revolution). Chandu and Mangtu share one and spread one out for me. They find me the best place, by the best grey rock. Chandu says he has sent a message to Didi. If she gets it, she will be here first thing in the morning. If she gets it.
It’s the most beautiful room I have slept in, in a long time. My private suite in a thousand-star hotel. I’m surrounded by these strange, beautiful children with their curious arsenal. They’re all Maoists for sure. Are they all going to die? Is the jungle warfare training school for them? And the helicopter gunships, the thermal imaging and the laser range-finders?
Why must they die? What for? To turn all of this into a mine? I remember my visit to the open cast iron-ore mines in Keonjhar, Orissa. There was forest there once. And children like these. Now the land is like a raw, red wound. Red dust fills your nostrils and lungs. The water is red, the air is red, the people are red, their lungs and hair are red. All day and all night trucks rumble through their villages, bumper to bumper, thousands and thousands of trucks, taking ore to Paradip port from where it will go to China. There it will turn into cars and smoke and sudden cities that spring up overnight. Into a ‘growth rate’ that leaves economists breathless. Into weapons to make war.
Everyone’s asleep except for the sentries who take one-and-a-half-hour shifts. Finally, I can look at the stars. When I was a child growing up on the banks of the Meenachal river, I used to think the sound of crickets—which always started up at twilight—was the sound of stars revving up, getting ready to shine. I’m surprised at how much I love being here. There is nowhere else in the world that I would rather be. Who should I be tonight? Kamraid Rahel, under the stars? Maybe Didi will come tomorrow.
The reason Roy hasn’t finished the novel she’s working on is because she is living a different one.
I’d heard of God of Small Things, but i hadn’t really heard of its author, not until a few months ago. I’ve become a bit of a newshound since I got my kindle due to the fact that I could download a free copy of The Guardian every day if I wanted to, thanks to their liberal licencing and API. I should be reading novels but I’ve gotten a bit obsessive about it. Right now, for a change, I’m on a two week free trial of The Independent instead. I’ve always considered The Guardian and The Independent the only two decent papers in the UK – but i’d never put this to a taste test. Now I have I think I might prefer The Independent.
And that is the reason I have written this post, so I could link to those two interviews. Do yourself a favour and go read them, because Arundhati Roy is quite obviously a remarkable woman, not to mention an amazing writer.
Of all egotists, Montaigne, if not the greatest, was the most fascinating, because, perhaps, he was the least affected and most truthful. What he did, and what he had professed to do, was to dissect his mind, and show us, as best he could, how it was made, and what relation it bore to external objects. He investigated his mental structure as a schoolboy pulls his watch to pieces, to examine the mechanism of the works; and the result, accompanied by illustrations abounding with originality and force, he delivered to his fellow-men in a book.
When the extreme extraverted thinking model is faced with a ‘problem’ requiring a certain subjective/introverted perspective to truely understand and grap a thing, he authomatically reduces the problem to his own accumulated objective/extraverted knowledge and experience. Viewing the ‘problem’ through this filter gives an extremely narrow view of the ‘problem’, with only a few molecules of understanding beingh attracted to and sticking to his pre-existant knowledge/experience. This personality type appears quite often in the short stories of Franz Kafka.
“it is a fact of experience that the basic psychological functions seldom or never all have the same strength or degree of development in the same individual. As a rule, one or the other function predominates in both strenth and development.” [584/346]
The basic psychological functions are split into 5 groups under the two headings: Extraverted / Introverted
These are: Thinking/Feeling/Rational/Sensation/Intuition
Thusly is Jung’s model of being mapped.
“[the extraverted-thinking] type will, by definition, be a man [Or woman. Use yr imagination peoples!] whose constant endeavor – in so far, of course, as he is a pure type [if such a thing exists in the world] – is to make all his activities dependant on intellectual conclusions, which in the last resort are always orientated by objective data, whether these be external facts or generally accepted ideas.” [585/346]
I think what Jung is trying to say in his use of the term ‘last resort’ is that if the individual can’t think it out for himself he will rely on preconceived external data.
The objective-thinking type seems, to me, to embody the personalities of the majority of politicians/right wing nut jobs.
“Their best aspect is to be found at the peiphery of their sphere of influence. The deeper we penetrate into their own power province the more we feel the unfavourable effects of their tyranny.” [586/348]
“The thinking of the extraverted type is postivie i.e., productive. It leads to the discovery of new facts or to general conceptions based on disparate empirical material. It is usually synthetic too. Even when it analyses it constructs, because it is always advancing beyond the analysis to a new combination, to a further conception which reunites the analysed material in a different way or adds something to it. One could call this kind of judgement predictive. A characteristic feature, at any rate, is that it is never absolutely depreciative or destructive, since it always substitutes a fresh value for the one destroyed. this is because the thinking of this type is the main channel into which his vital energy flows. The steady flow of life manifests itself in his thinking, so that his thought has a progressive, creative quality. It is not stagnant or repressive. But it can become so if it fails to retain prior place in his consciousness. In that case it loses the quality of a positive, vital activity. It follows in the wake of other functions and becomes Epimethean [an afterthought]. Plagued by afterthoughts, contenting itself with constant broodings on things past and gone, chewing them over in an effort to anlyse and digest them. Since the creative element is now lodged in another function, thinking no longer progresses: It stagnates. Judgement takes on a distinct quality of inherence: It confines itlsef entirely to the range of the given material, nowhere overstepping it. It is satisfied with more or less abstract statements which do not impart any value to the material which in not already inherent in it. Such judgements are always orientated to the object, and they infirm nothing more about an experience than its objective and intrinsic meaning.” [592-593/351-352]
“Its habitual mode is best described by the two words “nothing but”. Goethe personifed this thinking in the figure of mephistopheles.”
Everything in its right place.
“Whenever somebody defends or advocates a cause, negative thinking never asks its importance but simply: “What does he get out of this?”"
“The trick [to pure extraverted-thinking] is to make it appear dependant on something quite common place.”
The Extraverted/Introverted Type
What does this mean for the screenwriter if the extraverted reacts to external objects, and the introverted with his own internal subjectivity? Surely, within a film script, protagonists must be of the extraverted type because, according to the screenwriting guru types, Protagonists are defined by action/reaction? (Okay, this may not be the complete truth, but stay with me here).
What if the external objects are in fact manifestations of the protagonists subjectivity? That everything within the diagesis can in fact be mapped, directly or indirectly, back to the protagonists unconscious? What if that’s why they came into existence in the first place? If you map your protagonists’ conscious/unconscious first, then develop the story and sub-characters second, what kind of film are you writing? How does this effect everything? Does this open you up to new realms of creative expression, or just picking a way to filter that creative expression in the first place?
( i’m thinking outloud here, btw )
Consider the play of the extraverted/external and Introverted/internal outlook in both Julian and Gethin, with each sliding between the these two extremes throughout the plot, in a kind of counterpoint. A character in a film could be considered extraverted by the very nature of the medium i.e. external factors (preassures cause the actions of the protagonists and sub-characters) but this does not mean that these external forces cannot be, in actuality, manifestations of the internal.
As there are two Protagonists (Julian and Gethin) in this paticular narrative, and neither one supercedes the other, do they in fact become in actuality two sides of the same character? Is this a useful way of looking at them? Also, as they also represent a comedy double-act, is this what the comedy double-act can be viewed as?
“A normal extroverted attitude does not, of course, mean that the individual invariably behaves in accordance with the extraverted schema. Even in the same individual many psychological processes may be observed that involve the mechanism of introversion. We call a mode of behavior extraverted only when the mechanism of extraversion predominates. In these caesd the most differentiated functions are in part unconscious and far less under the control of consciousness.” [575/340]
“…There is a constant influx of unconscious contents into the conscious psychological process, to such a degree that at times it is hard for the observer to decide which character traits belong to the conscious and which to the unconscious personality.” [576/341]
“Introverted thinking then appears as something quite arbitarry [to the extraverted thinker] while extraverted thinking seems dull and banal [to the introverted thinker]. Thus the two orientations are incessantly at war.” [581/345]
I recently excavated an old shortlived blog of mine on which there are about three posts worth saving. Here’s the first one. These notes were taken during a period of my life which was spent on the dole, skating into town everyday, hitting a few spots, knocking on friends, and generally putting myself about. I have a few poems from this period that seems to embody it quite well. Got them in a notebook somewhere. I’ll dig them out. The notes i was taking were research for an as yet unrealised screenplay.
“On one level this activity appears as urban escapism… it was a repositioning of the urban… The modernist spa e of surburbia was found, adapted and reconveived as another kind of space, as a concrete wave.” (refers to erly surf-style skating) (p.33)
“New hillside housing tracts lost their hideous urban negativity and emerged from the metamorphosis as a smooth uncrowded ribbons of winding joy.” (33)
“This recombination of body, image, thought and action lies at the heart of skateboarding – an integration of abstract and concrete, object and performance…”
“the third stage [of skating up a bank that goes vertical] is that stalling space-time where the skater reaches the top of the trajectory, hangs momentarily, and begins the kick-turn – for the skater, this is a highly phsyical yet simultaneously fantastical and dream-like experience, where space-time are confronted and frozen in a dynamic, yet stable instance.” (35)
“these aural salvos remind us that ‘space is listened for, in fact, as much as seen, and heard before it comes into view,” that hearing mediates between the spatial body and the world outside it, and that it is therefore not only in a cathedral or cloister that ‘space is measured by ear’. This is ‘sensuous geography’ created by a phenomonal experience of architecture, a ‘sensory space’ constituted by an “unconsciously” dramatised interplay of relay points and obstacles, reflections, references, mirrors and echoes.” (35)
note: ‘sensuous geographies’ (Paul Rodaway)
“…’working the surface’ involved thinking less about the pool wall as a concrete wave, and more as an element which, together with the skateboard and skater’s own body, could be recombined into an excited body-centric space.” (36)
“…I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes. ” – James Joyce, Ulysses
…by tapping into the zeitgeist of a cultural shift, where concerns about privacy were becoming paramount. Masturbation, along with reading printed books–a new technology at the time–had become a symbol for the uncontrolled, uncensored private lives of individuals, including women. Such private power was felt to threaten the social order. The social keepers of the order–the politicians, aristocrats, and professional classes–hence hurried to proclaim the potential dangers embodied in this newly shamed and shameful act.