Saturday, 29 August 2009

A Work in Stasis

For a long time I have been bumbling around with another novel, which keeps falling apart as soon I look at it. Writer's cramp would at least help me to get a grip on the disintegrating fragments.

It's a near-future dystopian frayed yarn but somehow it wants to move beyond surreal gooning and gurning in the ruins of the West.

There's a strand about an elderly unemployed nuclear weapons designer looking for a new life in a Britain that is becoming rapidly post-industrialised and polarised around various fundamentalisms .

There's another strand set in a town on the Anglo-Welsh borders(hey, hey!) where an alternative neo-pagan culture is evolving. But it's fragile, fraught with internal dissent.

There's a techno strand, entangled around a corporation that creates virtual reality environments as escape zones for an increasingly disturbed urban populace. Cyber-entities may emerge from the digital soup...

And I've tried adding yet another sticky strand, drawn from the entrails of my first novel The Qliphoth. This revisits my protagonist Lucas a decade or two on, when the trans-dimensional energies released at the end of the first book have permeated daily existence, heightening its unpredictable & apocalyptic quality.

Somewhere there's a pattern from which a structure will develop , but I suspect it will have little to do with"what the characters want", as the plot-gurus keep reminding us. Their drives will become apparent, on the road, as it were. I have a feeling some of them may become retro-drives, into a kind of hyper-flashback.

Last week on a random impulse I bought a copy of the original "Scroll" version of Kerouac's On The Road, the first draft he wrote in three weeks on a long continuous roll of paper, which he glued together and fed through his typewriter. The myth of course, is that the whole book was conceived in three weeks, whereas he already had numerous discarded false starts, fragments and years of notebooks; and the Scroll mss was subsequently heavily revised and re-drafted. Yet the Scroll gave him the direction and focus he needed, to keep watching that narrow paper moving in front of him like the white line on the middle of the highway. The man was on a roll...

So that's what I need - a Holy Rolling Scroll. And a voice in my flaky ears...


Tom J said...

Hello Brother Paul

You have had a long and interesting career, n'est-ce pas? I hope that the small part that I played in encouraging you to disengage from Further Education in order to write did not have any negative effects?

Sometimes I find the sheer scale of recorded ideas overwhelmingly daunting. Are we not already well beyond the point at which anyone can sensible claim to be well informed in the way that it used to be possible? Or is the mega glacier of an infinite number of terrabytes of information of all kinds somehow a grotesque version of "the empty pouring into the void"?

Was it always a myth that the three pillars of a classical education, a la Jos Owen, or indeed yourself(!) were just a means of exerting an ideological superiority over others and that we now have a democratisation of knowledge? Or were there indeed essential concepts and facts that were the toolkit that gave keys to the secrets of life and human existence?

I once had contact with an occult organisation, (the purpose of this note, indeed), which I had the "fortune" to grow up with as next door neighbours. As with all such organisations, which are never democratic, the leader was the key convergent thinker and synthesizer. He once said that if you could understand how to do it, then the tarot cards could enable you to know all things about the universe if you were to be alone on an island.

As your latest posting came up automatically by the reasoned mechanisms which have been designed into Facebook, I thought you might like to cast an eye over the organisation which was occult but which is no longer. here si the link:

A bientot and deo gratias.

Brother Paul said...

Thanks for the link and your thoughts, Tom. Sorry about the delay in responding. I'm still three-fifths enmeshed in FE, and this has been a hectic period, for both work and family. Yes, the sheer volume of data is overwhelming. But we need to surf the torrent in style, and this where education gives us hypothetical cyberworld maps. even if they're only able to warn us that "here be dragons". A map of the flat earth ( or just one layer of the multiverse) is probably better than no map at all.

My reaction to the info explosion is probably embodied in the Slow Learning sequence I wrote a few years ago - see:

I'll investigate the Halliday site.

Hope all is well with you and yours.

Brother P

on my ancient retro website