Thursday, 29 January 2009
Friday, 23 January 2009
Saturday, 17 January 2009
My shit 'terrorist novel' was comprised by a number of free-form miniatures loosely related to one another which were hopelessly stringed together by a highly vague plot. One of the better miniatures was about a fat kid and a skinny kid who bully the central character and push him into a pond, which I've sadly destroyed. I had it displayed on numerous websites (such as my myspace music site) for a very long time. In the short story the skinny kid is on the left and the fat one is on the right, and they are surrounded by trees and other forms of wild-life. They ask derogative, intimidating questions and they are constantly bewildered by how unusual and strange this individual is. The fat kid eventually pushes him into the pond.
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
'The conceptual auto-disaster. The volunteer panels were shown fake safety propaganda movies in which implausible accidents were staged. Far from eliciting a humorous or sardonic response from the audience, marked feelings of hostility were shown towards the film and medical support staff. Subsequent films of genuine accidents exerted a notably calming effect. From this and similar work it is clear that Freud’s classic distinction between the manifest and latent content of the inner world of the psyche now has to be applied to the world of reality. A dominant element in this reality is technology and its instrument, the machine. In most roles the machine assumes a benign or passive posture – telephone exchanges, engineering hardware, etc. The twentieth century has also given birth to a vast range of machines – computers, pilotless planes, thermonuclear weapons – where the latent identity of the machine is ambiguous even to the skilled investigator. An understanding of this identity can be found in a study of the automobile, which dominates the vectors of speed, aggression, violence and desire. In particular the automobile crash contains a crucial image of the machine as conceptualized psychopathology. Tests on a wide range of subjects indicate that the automobile, and in particular the automobile crash, provides a focus for the conceptualizing of a wide range of impulses involving the elements of psychopathology, sexuality and self-sacrifice.'From the chapter 'Crash!' in J. G. Ballard's The Atrocity Exhibition
'The television screen is the retina of the mind's eye. Therefore, the television screen is part of the physical structure of the brain. Therefore, whatever appears on the television screen emerges as raw experience for those who watch it. Therefore, television is reality and reality is less than television.
I believe that the growth in my head. This head - this one, right here [character points to his head.] I don't think that it's really a tumor. Not an uncontrolled, undirected bubbling pot of flesh, but that it is in fact a new organ - a new part of the brain. I think that new doses of videodrome signal will ultimately create a new outgrowth of the human brain, which will produce and control hallucination to the point where it will change human reality. After all, there is nothing real outside our perception of reality - is there?'
From David Cronenberg's 1983 film Videodrome.
There are many ways of searching for new, different forms of consciousness. Every night one switches in and out of oneiric landscapes to the reality that surrounds us. These 'oneiric landscapes' in themselves are possibilities of distorting the reality around us but, unless we dream in a lucid manner (which is something I've yet to achieve), we can't control these landscapes. In Aldous Huxley's Brave New World a totalitarian system issues its inhabitants with a drug called soma where one can choose the manner in the way one hallucinates depending on the strength of the specific dose. Perhaps the excitement of both dreams and drug use lies in the unexpected: the twists and turns you psyche goes through without you controlling it. This lack of control is in itself a form unconsciousness, but playing around with consciousness can be most effectively obtained through pen and paper in order to create fiction.
I condemn the casual use of drugs; it's practically the same as going out and getting mindlessly pissed. I'm intrigued by drug-use which doesn't harm the human body, and drug use which can act as a springboard towards new forms of consciousness. I think that a highly disciplined use of LSD can provide this. I'm more attracted by solitary pursuits, and I think that it can also incite new ways of approaching fiction.
The quotes which introduced my own writing are perhaos more relevant to my other post 'Reality is fiction; fiction is reality', but they are so good and interesting that I thought that I might as well use them for this blog post.
Monday, 12 January 2009
I think that one's 'craft' goes meliorating until one reaches a specific age and when one is at a peak. I think it's a terrible mistake to rush into writing novels too early because one hasn't indeed developed the craft behind it. Short stories are a great tool of exploration and honing craft, and the seeds for novels often germinate in these shorter creations.
Sometimes to deconstruct the novel form, you need to construct it in the first place. Truman Capote, addressing the disregarder James Joyce, said that 'he wrote Ulysses because he could write Dubliners'. You need to go through a process of learning to then forget and destroy... These acts of 'forgetting' and 'destoying' benefit by being developed with absolute precision and care in order for them to be any good.
Thursday, 8 January 2009
As Bunuel himself said, the only meaning you can find in his film Un Chien Andalou would be psychoanalysis. Writing in itself is a form of psychoanalysis - a tool of exploration into the depths of the subconscious and the unconscious. The writer must plunge to whatever vision he is led to regardless of the outer 'clarity' and 'roughness' and 'correcteness' his work may exert. If he is led to the dark side of nature, he must follow that path no matter how offensive or repugnant the end result is. That's what happened with David Crapper and Mary Vagina's Love Affair -
I had and impulse to write and I followed my vision until reaching the revolting and repellent result in the same way that Ballard or Nabokov reached their answers in Crash and Lolita.
David Lynch, quite rightly, always refuses to explain the 'meaning' behind his movies. That's a positive attitude to have because it'd be dreadfully boring if there'd be a definite message involved in it. We are ultimately very complicated creatures and we don't know what the fuck is going on under our skin, and Lynch explicitly makes this clear in his films and imposes a stance to keep his secrets in interviews. He, in all likelihood, knows just as little about his movies as we viewers do.
The greatest work I've produced is Victoria Red. I have obtained everything I've wished to obtain with that story. It's the kind of standard which I attempt and aim to achieve. Some surreal work which is similar to my story is Julio Cortázar's Carta a Una Senorita en Paris, where the character vomits rabbits; I love this enigmatic style, and it probably inspired my own story. I aim to get to the 'other side of things' with my writing, and Cortázar does this really well specifically with his short story (which comes from the same collection as 'senorita en paris' - Bestiario) Lejana where he penetrates into an oneiric terrain in a manner I attempt to convey with my fiction. An another great person who gets into the 'other side of things' is Juan Carlos Onetti, and he superbly fulfills this vision with the creation of the fictional land 'Santa Maria'. 'Victoria Red', Cortázar and Onetti all succesfully eschew the necessity of 'meaning' and produce startling works which defy categorisation.
One of the things I love about dreams (and certain thoughts which are similar to dreams) is that it all makes sense to yourself and no-one else. All your experiences during your waking life are re-assembled into a collage/smogasboard of myriads. This is what one should attempt to achieve with fiction - rather than producing something filled with meanings which resonate with everyone. The writer should write for himself; the writer should reconstruct the past like dreams do in order to arrive to an art-form which makes a topsy-turvy logic and sense to himself.
Saturday, 3 January 2009
I've limited one film per director, so I have sadly left out a film such as The Big Lebowski out in favour of the Coen Brothers' Barton Fink.
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Written by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke; Directed by Stanley Kubrick)
2. Blue Velvet (Written and directed by David Lynch)
3. Citizen Kane (Written by Orson Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz; Directed by Orson Welles)
4. Psycho (Written by Joseph Stefano and Samuel A. Taylor; Directed by Alfred Hitchcock)
5. The Second Heimat (Written and directed by Edgar Reitz)
6. The Producers (Written and directed by Mel Brooks)
7. Videodrome (Written and directed by David Cronenberg)
8. Barton Fink (Written and directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen)
9. Brazil (Written and directed by Terry Gilliam)
10. El Topo (Written and directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky)
Thursday, 1 January 2009
J. G. Ballard - Empire of the Sun
Roberto Arlt - El Juguete Rabioso
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
J. G. Ballard - The Unlimited Dream Company
William Goldling - Lord of the Flies
Samuel Beckett - Molloy
James Purdy - 63: Dream Palace
Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Cien Años de Soledad
J. G. Ballard - The Drowned World
J. G. Ballard - Concrete Island
J. G. Ballard - Miracles of Life
J. G. Ballard - The Kindness of Women
Paul Auster - Moon Palace
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Samuel Beckett - Waiting For Godot
J. G. Ballard - Running Wild
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Peter Shaffer - Equus
George Orwell - 1984
Aldous Huxley - Brave New World
Ray Bradbury - Fahrenheit 451
Henry Miller - Tropic of Cancer
Louis-Ferdinand Celine - Journey to the End of the Night
Graham Greene - The Power and the Glory
William Faulkner - The Sound and the Fury (for the third time)
Graham Swift - Waterland
Jon McGregor - If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things
Truman Capote - In Cold Blood
Kurt Vonnegut - Cat's Cradle
Sylvia Plath - The Bell Jar
Vladimir Nabokov - Bend Sinister
J. G. Ballard - The Atrocity Exhibition
Mark E. Smith - Renegade
Francoise Sagan - Bonjour Tristesse
Ray Bradbury – The Martian Chronicles
Doris Lessing – The Golden Notebook
Roberto Bolaño – Llamadas Telefónicas
Georges Perec – Life: A User’s Manual
Julio Cortázar – Todos Los Fuegos El Fuego
Andrzej Gasiorek - Contemporary British novelists: J. G. Ballard
Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Thomas Pynchon – Gravity’s Rainbow
Julio Cortázar – Historias de Cronopios y de Famas
Fyodor Dostoyevsky – Notes From the Underground
Roberto Bolaño – El Gaucho Insufrible
Jorge Luis Borges – Historia Universal de la Infamia
Ian McEwan – Enduring Love
Thomas Mann – Doctor Faustus
J. G. Ballard – The Drought
J. G. Ballard – High-Rise
I also read several poems, short stories, essays, comic-books and guides which aren’t included on this list. I read far more Borges and Cortázar than this list indicates.