Friday, October 17, 2008

Evolution of a novel

The evolution of a novel is a strange and haphazard process.

I am reading Kluge by Gary Marcus to get a handle on the construction of the human mind. This is a fascinating book that shows us how a brain is constructed like a city. There are errant bypasses, one way streets, odd public art, houses built with their backs towards the view, houses facing what was once a view but is not the arse end of a shopping centre.

I follow a new track that has been stomped into the well cared for garden bed at the GOMMA building. People need to get from point A to point B. The easiest way is to hoist yourself up onto a concrete rise and wander through what once was a well planned garden bed. This is now a footpath built of dirt and careful trudging. The perfect metaphor for the creation of a book. I assemble random pieces of writing. Some of it is good. Some of it is not so good. I wander down paths I have set for myself and step up to dead ends and impossible climbs.

This is uncharted territory. I will need a brush cutter and probably some dynamite. I can see that I must reek havoc before I can settle into the architecture of the thing. I borrow people from the real world, fragments of conversation, images abandoned from a previous work. I cobble it all together with gaf tape and sweat. I start to loose perspective. The world begins to swirl around the vortex of what will become my book. Everything is a sign or a warning. Everything belongs to the work. I steal images and moods and relationships and shove them into the emerging city. I do so without apology, knowing that somewhere beyond this fragile beginning, I will begin to bury the people that I know in my own familiar flesh. This is the process of my work. This is the building of my novel.

Kluge; noun; a solution that is clumsy or inelegant yet surprisingly effective.

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