This, it has just occurred to me is a novel. Here and arriving daily. Before your very eyes. It is, so to speak, the ego of the cloud. It’s the narrative theory that best explains all the manifestations of the writing, the novels, poems, collections, letters, journals, meditations, reasonings, declarations. It’s the story of the work, who supposedly did.
A story implied in blog posts, not a story about blog posts. A story that is not possible, because of its uncountable links and hyperlinks, in any other medium than this one. It’s about time. It’s about time literature came to the electronic world. Lit has been far too busy rendering that world and not busy enough participating in it.
The beauty is I can write anything any time. It’s all part of the narrative voice. I don’t have to explain everything in every post. Just assume the rest of the cloud and if you’re interested you can check up. This website is a sort of interface with the cloud. You will eventually (we’ve just got up and running) be able to access the cloud in whatever way you wish. Maybe you want to follow the bio thread of the poems. Maybe you want pieces on a certain topic no matter whether they’re poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or math. Maybe you take a quick look and go somewhere else.
Another beauty of it is, it’s always finished. It’s done. It is, simply by having been announced as one, a completed novel. I can kick off at any time, and it will stand complete. The fact I can kick off at any time is part of its structure. It can certainly gain detail, and I hope it gains a good deal of it. I will continue to finish stand-alones like The Illumination of Elijah Lee Roswell or Dinosaurs from Outer Space or One Man’s Canon or the memoirs or the villanelle I began yesterday and got far enough to know the repeat lines have to be “There are certain facts no one can explain:/ the light in beauty, the loneliness of pain.” They’re awfully pretty so I’ve gotta muscle up the others. I’m debating “I go a long way with physics. It aint insane,/ for one thing (theology springs to mind),” but maybe it’s a cheap shot. The vulgarity I mean, the brazen attempt to trigger adrenalin.
Definitely a shot, in any case. Gotta think about that. Some of my best friends are theologians.
If I do kick off sooner rather than later then the novel will be one of those teddibly lit’ry little jewels with just trillions of implications in its apparent brevity. If later, more epickish, maybe.
And the central character is very like me, yes. Prezackly, except I aint made out of words and he is.
So far as I can tell.
He’s a poet. An American poet. Of course a novel like this is not to everybody’s taste. Probably very few will be drawn in. But lordy those few are gonna love love love it.
One problem that turns out to be easy to deal with is his life is not terribly interesting. There’s no car chases, nothing blows up. Once a long time ago my young mind broke and I was afraid I had done something terrible but I hadn’t and most of my life has happened since and has been primarily interesting I would guess to me, but as it happens that’s precisely the viewpoint I’m using.
It turns out that for some the act of reading is a blissful state. They don’t want to get the gist more quickly, the hell with the fine structure. They do want to be carried forward, they do want a connected line of talk, a bit of playfulness, the sort of quick-mindedness that’s fun to sympathize with. (To those, I say again, welcome to the cloud.) If they’re like me they would appreciate exhilirating views, excitement, which is easy to offer without either pretended or real danger.
I had this idea out in the yard in the sun doing yoga. I was thinking how bored I was with the same old literary exercises. I know how to write poems. I know how to write novels. I know how to write all of the forms. I’ve been not writing and blaming myself and trying to tell myself that there is no blame but still not being able to get any juice going and calling it age and blaming myself.
What I need, I thought, is a new literary form. Something that aint any of these. And it dawned on me.
There’s thousands and thousands of pages out there. There’s this blog, beginning now. The published books are available on Amazon. There’s the quarter meg or so of poetry and other thinking I keep on my computer as the cloud of what I am up to now, the more-or-less official total works. Which bears the scars of the terrible loss of data two and a half years ago. Excluding letters, I don’t see why, and other wordatives. Like the stuff in Special Collections at Ole Miss.
This is a way to get myself to sit down and write every day. It’s better than a journal. Freer. It aint autobiography, it’s thinking. I love thinking. I can put in exactly what interests me or grabs me every day. Exactly. My death is irrelevant except as a sort of formal boundary.
I notice that there is indeed suspense: Will I finish the villanelle? What will it be like? Imagine how you’re going to feel when you read the real thing and it hits you that I knew I was going to end it that way but didn’t tell you. Imagine if one day you found out that when I was 23 I wrote a poem that made a very similar move in its last line.
One thing about the villanelle, it will really exist. It won’t just be a villanelle mentioned in a novel but never seen. And mystery: I don’t know what’s going to happen next. Nobody does.
And yet I know it’s all going to fit together.
Another good thing is I don’t have to spend a lot of time on meta-meta. Don’t have to do the coyly self-conscious author bit. Overdoing the clever. Writing is a lousy way to get ego strokes anyhow. I’m interested in this because it offers a way to keep writing without beginning to parody myself. (My own concept of how I write is not adequate, I now find.) I’m interested in it formally far more strongly than I am interested in it as a rendering of my character. Maybe I will mention this level every rare once in a while, just to keep the viewpoint clear. Keep it clear that while real as anything else, this is indeed a viewpoint. And the rest of the time just write.