Chekhov’s curse – You can’t mention anything in writing without giving it too much significance.
I don’t dream about things I would do if I won a lot of money. I dream about what I wouldn’t have to do.
Labels and titles are rather unimportant. “Artist” implies a special and untetherable link to the artifact. Should a maker of cars be called carist? The artifact is the thing – we only bring it out of the structure. Summoner, shaman or magician. Condenserist? Cavic light-blocker? Rustler of trees serving fruits of emotions. In the end I am no one and the artifacts I made are something else.
Meaning, message, rules of storytelling – tools to be used or discarded at will. One story built by logic, narrative structure and character development, an electrical grid with source, relays, switches controlling a single engine. Another is a mood, a feeling, a river shifting from rapids to falls to meandering and ground water tunnels.
The questioning of everything is built into the urge of expression. Instead of competing with the masters I have found my own niche. Not trying, comparing, wishing, but just going where I have to go. Admiring, learning, repurposing, but never playing the same game, changing the rules to fit me, challenging myself as I wish, pushing-relaxing with the tide of my energy.
Humming to myself, the vibrations in my chest is comfort and joy, a pleasant feeling, as the flow kicks in and I leave logic for intuition. I’m doing this for me, for the experience, for the vibrations I make, for the thrill, for the climax, for the satisfying end, be it artifact or a surge of electrochemical lightning caused by putting words in a novel and exiting order.
Choices too granular. Illusion of will. Trapped in hyperfreedom. Triage of prayers, conveyers and the ephemeral hellmachine. The gravity of reality distortions. What gains attention gains value. Event currents. Too many zeros multiplying the messages. The manicfacturing of junk thoughts in pursuit of revenue instead of renewal. Pararotting vomitted words to fill in the added gaps. Transsentenced entirely by non-breaking spaces. Carriage makers of reverberating noise. Carpenters as content producers. No nutrition in sawdust. Kids taste everything and numbed adults learn to eat anything. Pointless rumination without stomaching it. Widespread digital coprophagy. The dark ages, the enlightenment, the dazzlingment – so fucking much of everything at once. Lost in formation. Forgetting stars. Every number becomes either null or infinite. Zebra patterns all over reality. The path goes to sephira eleven. Trapped in fiction. We need an anti-thought to this affliction.
An acquaintance saw the movie Taxi Driver for the first time a few years ago. Afterwards she said to me: “Sure, it was good, but not as special as people said it would be.” She didn’t consider (or know) that there were no other films quite like it when it was made in 1976.
She would probably react to David Cronenberg’s early films the same way. He was doing stuff late 1970:s and 1980:s in a way that no one else had done before. Then the styles and themes he explored seeped into mainstream where they have been refined with better budgets.
But now that I’m doing a retrospective, re-watching them all in cronenogical order, I find that I still love the rawness of those films. Slick production and modern effects can never replace the earnest excitement of exploring these dark, liminal spaces of the human body/psyche.
The progression in the early films, starting with Shivers (1975) and Rabid (1977), ramping up with The Brood (1979) and Scanners (1981) to (at least in my eyes) culminate in Videodrome (1983), is a beautiful journey. Though they are (mostly) horror films I get really happy when I watch them.
His continued production is also great, Dead Ringers (1988), Existenz (1999) and Spider (2002) to mention a few, and I’m very excited to see his new Crimes of the Future (2022). But, though I’m no nostalgic, the new ones lack one certain aspect of the old ones: the vintage production design.
Because the Canadian late 1970:s is my absolute favorite aesthetics in film ever.
For each time we spin to face the billion-year-explosion things become more and more unreal. It’s as if the radiant pride of the gravity well can’t help pointing to the flaws of its obviously half-measured creation.
With every turn the dense composition is revealed as hollow, an insubstantial tangle of shadow play and make-belief, forcing us to participate in a fiction without script, directed by an elusive feeling of the inevitable.
Caught by surprise, imprisoned by the floodlight, we hastily patch together an undercover dayself from scraps we find around us to avoid detection, to fool the guards, too fool each other. To avoid confronting that we are the flaws.
The brief hours of respite, when we look away from that self-centered scorching face scrutinizing our personas to pass condescending judgement, is the only time I feel I actually exist. My nightself is my real self.
I only truly exist at night.
It’s tricky business trying to guess how people will perceive what we – as writers, artists and plain human beings – try to convey in our attempts at communication.
Tricky because every little part of information (sentence-word-letter-punctuation) in our message have connotations that are inextricably linked to the unique point of view, shaped by mood, language and culture, that any one of eight billion potential readers happens to have at the particular time they interpret the message.
Title, cover art and typography are the shutter, aperture and ISO of a book. Tune them all appropriately together to get a good image of your novel.
So far we only know of one existing living organism: The Earth Biosphere. Humans and other animals, plants, fungi, bacteria and archaea – we’re all inextricable parts of this single creature. It won’t be saved by more divisions between its many parts. It will only be saved by more connections.
As a writer I thought that I was rather alone diving headfirst into the ever-shifting currents of culture to chart the depths of imagination and explore the visionary landscape of the human psyche.
But now it seems like most of humankind has been dragged off by an escalating series of malgorithmic realityslides and thrust deep into the dark torrents of a psychic deluge – far beyond the actualities of physical reality.
So I have realized that instead of being a writer I will become an avalanche dog. I’ll try to dig tunnels and drag anyone I can find back to reality before they suffocate under the imaginary weight/state of the world.
And maybe offer some brandy to those I have saved.
Tradition is a hammer to deal with the nonconforming nails of the population. It wreaks havoc on people like me – we are screwed.
I put on headphones and turn up the volume as high as I can endure and then listen on repeat to an hour long recording of feedback from a distorted guitar amplifier paired with unintelligible screams from when some friends of mine had a bad trip in my basement studio until my subconscious starts writing some weird but true shit without interference from my fucking anxious people-pleasing consciousness.
About me being both an author and a reader: “If there are enough pretty accessories I can ignore the visible seams in the dress.”
It’s spring and the sun comes back. People are not used to this and get sunburned. They dismiss me as whining by stating that everybody hurts when I try to explain that a long time ago I got trapped in a car that caught on fire.
Struggling my whole life with both mental health and people dismissing this as me being lazy and too sensitive. Now with pandemics and wars this attitude gets even more condescending: “It’s tough for everyone.”
Remember that being you is not the same as being me.
Funny that I, who have spent most of my life writing stories exploring the mind and it’s reach beyond physical reality, seem to pay more attention to what’s actually real than most people do today.
Printed books are special. They are not just things. A novel is inextricably bound to the medium (the book) in a way that a movie (the screen) or a record (the loudspeaker) isn’t. This makes my love for a novel extend to the physical artifact.
Partly because of this and partly because it’s much harder for me to focus on digital reading I have avoided e-books. But it’s a brilliant format. Cheap to produce and distribute, easy to transport and store. I want to give it another shot.
“Be your own god” they say. Sure, it’s a good sentiment. But it’s more like we are passengers in a taxi. We can say where we want to go but we have no control over how it happens.
We rarely know the actual address and have to point and give directions along the way. So we unwittingly guide the driver away from the good routes and often end up stuck in traffic.
Then we have to change the destination, or get dropped off in a bad neighborhood, when the driver realizes we don’t have enough money to pay the fare all the way out to the airport.
We are not gods – we are taxi passengers.
The mirror I’ve used for most of my life recently turned out to in fact be a cheap Picasso reprint.
Asking a writer to play [any popular word game] is like challenging a whisky connoisseur on who can drink a bottle of 25 year old single malt the fastest.
I had a different kind of ambition as a writer when I was younger. I know my writing could be difficult and demanding. But that also meant it could be art. I need to get back to that again. The feeling of creating something so dense that it becomes real.
While reading an old novel of mine I realized I had more nerve and disrespect for convention in those days. It felt like I was truly exploring the unknown. Shaping the world with fiction. Dissolving the borders. The kind of writing or work that I today would call magic.
But when my limited circle of readers back then didn’t understand what I was trying to do I got self-conscious. The existential dread was taken down some notches, the experimental prose became more straightforward. I suppose I wanted to fit in, be accepted.
I do like what I have written since then. But now I long to throw away the shackles of the ordinary. I long to return to the wild lands again, long to become a hermit, to rewrite myself, remove the safety limits of my frequency and transmit truly unfiltered again.
I will rise to the State of Transfictionation.