Monday, June 28, 2010

Lows' Prose and Worse Verse

"Lows'" being the possessive of bad times. This one is crazy. Actually, the rest of them from this month are crazy, if they all weren't already. Not much else to get to. Let's let this part end here.

And in the future when everything will be searchable and we’ll all be hard wired to the net, I really do see these two blending, becoming one and the same, but still differently entirely; the ability, to hit a button and read the story as a poem and flip it back to novel with a switch—it’s all so very entertaining to imagine. The ideas that I have now, which do have divides, things headed for certain bins marked verse or prose or you can never write that because you’re not a good writer: even these set pieces of discrete data mesh and mold into one form.

Consider the following: a book that is written by old man Grimm who is cataloguing people’s fairy tales in the late 1970s. This is a novel I’ll write when I’m forty-five. The maybe here should not be necessary; I’m not a fortune teller. But you get nowhere when you don’t have a plan. A book that is all this talking from this ethnographer, this guy writing down people’s stories, and when they speak, it’ll always be in verse: a specific poem being “Rapunzel.” This is how I get my ideas: not as neatly as Warren Ellis, but in a similar fashion. The stuff that won’t leave my mind becomes jumbled and eventually while I’m writing, my hands will end up force-feeding it all out into this laptop, which will devour it unceremoniously, because you always feel like you could’ve done it better. Because you’ll never be so good as to be completely chained down by only the language.

Chasing Victor, the short novella that will be the middle section of my second book of poetry, may or may not randomly stray into verse. It’s just that I feel like story-wise you can tackle all situations both ways and I’ve always been one for adaptations. The strangeness of the past: all those movie novelizations that I’ve read, it’s the fun of seeing something from a different angle or perspective. A line from Neil Gaiman about a piece that he wrote that was eventually published without the line breaks he put in it; he republished it in a short story collection with the line breaks because he thought it worked better that way, which makes sense, because why else would he have put them in there in the first place?

The transformative line break, something I’ve only used well in only one of the poems I’ve written, seems to transcend prose completely. This is not an idea for every piece of work ever made. But it’s a concept that still haunts my mind: being able to listen to the musical interpretation of the book you’re reading; reading the poem-form of a movie; the dance that is interpreting a television show—all these separate languages and the inevitable acts of translations.

Lately I’ve become obsessed with the question of collaborative art: is it too much in this day and age to imagine your work as worthy of being your own? Clearly giving away your creation to be recreated by the public is ultimately productive. It’s hard to look at this seriously, due to the very parent-child like relationship between any creator and creation. You don’t want everything you make to be only partially yours. But collaboration just seems like it would be so much fun, being able to both create and experience, because as creator of something, your ability to experience the creation is stifled.

The slippery lines between it all: no longer genre-bending, that’s old school. Medium uncertain, the creation headed towards a new place in society. A high-school teacher asking me why we should have intellectual property laws, why we can’t just say that what you create is yours for now and for always, and now I finally do have an answer. Because—needless of what congress will actually do, which is bow to the money—the creation of art is a public action. I have no issue with people who work for a living, who hate their jobs with a passion, for whom the song “Working for the Weekend” was written, but art in the sense of the word that I’d like to use, has nothing to do with money. When you create for the dollars, you are creating something else. And here I have gone and created a restricting definition. Something that I scoffed at when it was used by David Biespiel. But it sure does make proving a point a helluva lot easier. Or rather sharing an opinion. I don’t believe in “proof” of anything and when using that word, I guess I’m speaking metaphorically or figuratively, because taken literally I would consider myself to be speaking drivel.

And this post has gone way off the road it was originally on, but that kinda had to happen, because we were driving on a landing strip and we had to go several miles. It was either fly or keep going on the grass and whichever way these words have headed, I’m getting to the destination. A remembrance here to the fiftieth poem in my 100 written in February; the whole point of this is to get the writing in, to keep on going, because although it might not look pretty, you can never be too familiar with the language, with the keyboard, with how you like to construct sentences.

Writing from my mind is so different than anything else I can think of. I had forgotten that and when I got to college the research papers were difficult to conceive of. I’d think to myself how do I write this and it’s because there’s something here that isn’t anywhere else. Regardless of medium, the act of simply thinking the words and letting them roll off your fingers, this is what I’m in it for so much of the time. This can quite often make it worth my while.

The plane crashing, now, back to the main line; and we haven’t covered all that much distance, but it’s enough. So what I’m saying is that when discussing poetry and prose, I find this best done by experience, the way I’ve played around at times, when suddenly a poem will lose its line breaks for a while or a piece of prose

will fracture
splitting into a million pieces
that all speak to some extent
not so much on their own
but in the holistic sort of way
the whole being greater than the parts
only because the whole is indeed
broken into

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