1. Sometimes the two of us sit down together & weep.
Who said: I think you should consider fixing a date for regular intercourse. The routine of it will deflate the tension I’m sorry? Disgust? That’s a strong word…
at some point you’ll begin to take pleasure in the act. Once the sexual tension is removed, you’ll also find verbal communication less troublesome.
2. Sometimes she helps me to my feet.
Who said: After a fight, he busies himself with the children. With the housework. For a change!
3. Sometimes I render her the same service.
Who said: I begin to better recognize his latent, ambiguous, aggressive behaviour though he’s keen to pass himself off as a nice guy.
4. Her around me.
Who said: What set off today’s quarrel?
‘I didn’t come to bed early enough for him.’
Mhm… Thematic overlap: distance, sexual frustration:
“kiss my arse!”…
Who said: It cannot but be a good sign that he dared show his emotion in all its purity
‘but can a sign – an act, it acts, we forgive – ever suffice? ‘
6. No room for her – for us – in my marriage. We left.
One day there’ll be nothing left to breathe.
I couldn’t know that I didn’t know, I can only know now.
Who said: Soul(stoned), yelling at current things: Words, words, yet more words. Find the right words. Warmth, softness and … look. And absence. And mockery. And lies.
7. Understanding about my own understanding? Doesn’t exactly map onto the notion of the silent mind (as I understand it…)
Who said: I ignore his request to come to eat. Table rituals, cover-up, 3x daily whilst his father fucks daughter and mother sings soprano in the choir every Sunday.
8. Every second of my existence is spent at a crossroad & I must doubt & do…
Who said: Pattern recognition:
‘kiss, cigarettes, eat.’
Who said: A dirty weekend? If you’re going with him it’s hardly a dirty weekend, is it? Where’re you going? For your wedding anniversary? God help you!
He said (pontificating): Your accusation regarding my so-called latent aggression, my insinuations, are based entirely on what I have told you about myself and not on your… personal… experience.
Who said: When I say that he’s misunderstood, that what we’re dealing with here is his impatience, the signs couched in this impatience,
He said: That’s mere judgement!
He said: You don’t know how to listen!
9. Doubt yet do. The conventional way won’t allow me to show that I care.
Who said: you like to expand. He distills. Problem?
He said: Dependent independence! You think too much. We didn’t come to Paris to think. Come to bed. Make an effort. For once.
(work in progress from Verses Nature. Illustration: L.W.Eden, copyright © 2013)
The working title of my PhD in Creative Writing is:
Dancing with Our Devils: Dialogism Within and Across Reading and Writing Processes.
As a question, it is formulated thus:
How many devils may we dance with in modern fiction? How may dialogism redefine literary genres and reading-writing processes?
And why is the novel entitled Verses Nature? Verses Nature, as I would like to solicit us to relinquish the old ‘givens’ in exchange for a new harmony (nature); a new order (verses) based on the inherent conflicts (versus) of Being and Meaning. News is not a given, however much we should – or want – to believe it is so. News is creative; it is story, an art form (surrealist at times…) so that the larger, higher, question is a philosophical one:
What is real? Do I need to know? What can I bear (not) to know?
where truth lies blind you can’t do it easily…
We may no longer argue that we speak, or ‘receive’ in a monolithic way. We know that we don’t. Our thoughts are permanently disrupted by other voices, each with their own history and echoes spilling beyond the horizon. We try to tame all of this if we are to make any sense at all. To ourselves. To others. Disorder feels loud. I want you counterintuitive: not reading to find out what comes next, but reading to find out what the hell’s going on now, then working backwards to patch together a plot that will spill beyond our horizons. My story merely supplies references that are liminal, tenuous; abstract. Impressionistic? Taken together, they solicit us to pull away from and challenge the ‘givens’, in favour of entertaining new possibilities; possibilities to replace, re-place, displace, deconstruct and, ultimately, democratise what Wertsch calls our ‘narrative templates’ (Wertsch, 2002); our genres, and the boundaries we draw between them. Boundaries harbour an imperative for us to decide, to position oneself, to act. As I state in Mut@tus: ‘there will always be a line, as there will always be a beyond the line. Question is: where do you stand in relation to the line?’ The original meaning of I decide is Greek and the word is: crisis.
Where do I stand in relation to the line? I want to straddle the lines. Promiscuity in preference to purism. An opening up and a disheveling of borders. Of sequences. The sample above orchestrates different voices, all only vaguely attributed, speaking from different times and different places. Penstrokes. You will never see what I see when writing these characters. That’s the point. I’m not just giving you a story, I’m proffering a thesis. Your dialogism isn’t my dialogism. You can start where you like, stop where you like. Reshuffle the sequences to create a whole new interaction. You may attribute gender where I remain deliberately vague. You may do what I cannot even begin to anticipate. I may only set the whole thing in motion, but never control how many devils are danced with. You are the key character in my novel. And as one of my favourite writers once said to me:
it doesn’t matter what I meant, I’m glad you saw so much.
to this day I do not know what I am only what others call me (…)
So I am with them in a way. Learning from them and watching in awe as they conceive of and answer questions to my creations that I never bothered to ask.