Saturday, 17 January 2009

My fiction turning itself into reality

As I have stressed elsewhere, fiction and reality are synonymous. Therefore, they converge and cross against each other on many occasions.... Arbitrary and co-incidental events are very common as a consequence of this. I have had a couple of occasions where I've literally lived out a short creation I've written, and it's remarkable considering how little I've written... Perhaps when I get down to writing novels when I'm older I'll live them out... I remember that when I was in the psychiatric intensive care unit in Derby I looked depressed and one of the social workers approached me and asked, 'what's wrong?' I replied 'I'm stuck inside my own novel'. He laughed and said 'How can you be stuck inside it when you haven't finished it yet?' I got overjoyed by this answer and jumped about in excitement around as much as I could around the ridiculously confining intensive care unit.

I have had a rather unusual life with experiences which very few people have. Very few people get to be on the fringes of society... When I was 3 or 4 or 5 years old I had an hallucination which consequently blurred the distinction bewteen 'reality' and 'fiction for the rest of my life. Each time my cousin shined a torch in the ceiling, it opened up and was accompanied by a dark, sinister voice. This memory has lodged into my subconscious for the rest of my life, and it only resurfaced at the age of 17 and it in all likelihood was one of the many ways in which my psychotic episode was triggered off.... I hope to explore this terrain with my novel See-Saw which I will write soon. I'm digressing here, but I think that it's somehow relevant to my experiences of finding my fiction turning itself into reality... Anyway, this paragraph will be elaborated with my blog post Reconstructing the past which I will write some time soon.

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.
Around May of 2007 I was reading Joyce's 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man', and I was reading it just at the right time of my life as I was in a process of turmoil and seeking answers to myself in the same way that the protagonist Stephen Dedalus does. I was reading it at a park bench when two girls appeared, and the one on the right was extremely fat and the girl on the left was extremely skinny. This occurred just a few weeks after I wrote the piece of how the two boys push the kid into the pond. They came to smoke on the park bench, and they were quite a few years younger than me. They were indeed extremely perplexed by the sight of a dishevelled boy with extremely long hair who was reading a book. They made a number of questions and statements: why are you reading a book; have you ever had a girlfriend; do you smoke; your hair is greasy; do you still go to school etc etc. All this ultimately culminated in them pushing me out of the bench... I saw them a few more times around the streets of Dronfield where they once more made fun of me. Reality was a little kinder to me than my fictional creation: although they were quite visceral and nasty, they were nowhere near as malevolent as the fictional fat/skinny boys. But that's probably because males tend to be far more brutal and violent than females when it comes to bullying.

The first piece of writing I wrote which was any good was a highly Borgesian untitled minature; it was a departure from the awful, overblown vignettes which constituted the 20 pages of Dream Fadeout. I wrote it after reading and re-reading Borges' Ficciones and El Aleph. In the miniature a man has constantly been in the same room for 40 years. He keeps opening the door in the room, which leads him to the exact same room again and again. This process keeps repeating itself cyclically and infinitely. As he opens the door for the last time he sees a slight alteration: there is a painting of a window looking out to the sea. As he sees this he dies. I have unfortunately lost this piece of writing.
I ended up in a psychiatric ward in Chesterfield due to my psychotic episode. I was in such a terrible state that they put me into the back of a van and drove me off towards Derby where they would leave me in a intesive care unit where the level 0f attention you get is far more rigorous to the point where you are enclosed in a small shell and are left incapable of moving. Prior to this, however, I was placed in a 'de-escalation' room which is within the unit. As I was driven off to this de-escalation room my delusional beliefs were that I was going to be taken to Saturn and that I was in the year 2154 - the chapter in Julio Cortazar's Rayuela where 'El muchacho de Sheffield' is mentioned. This room had a hallway with two other doors which led to separate miniature rooms consisting of nothing but a mattress. I was often locked in these smaller rooms for extensive periods of time. My memories of my time here are extremely blurry, but I do remember being locked into the one of the rooms and seeing (probably a hallucination) William Burroughs looking into the window placed on the door and holding up a finger which indicated (to my mind at least) one minute. I spent most of my time here wandering around in the hall screaming and shouting, and attempting to get into the two miniature rooms depending on whether they were locked or not. I was here for about three days without sleep or food, so this in itself amounted to the 40 years where the man opened the doors to find himself in the same room again and again... I kept opening the doors of the rooms to just find the same contents. The most arduous moment was when I was locked in the miniature room to the left of the hall, and I kept trying to come out but 3 extremely strong bald men kept blocking my entrance. They kept pushing me back onto the mattress and told me 'you're not ready yet'. At the time I thought they were replicas/embodiments of William Burroughs.They stood in front of the door which led to the intensive care unit, and after these painful hours I was let into the unit. In the unit I saw a painting of some houses (not a window like in my own Borgesian creation), but I didn't die when I saw it.... :) On the contrary, it ignited my quest of rehabilitation and recovery.

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The clumsiness, ambiguity, awkwardness and laziness in this writing will remain as it is.... I can't be bothered to re-read it because it is both highly disturbing and the numerous glitches will annoy me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is interesting.

When I was younger I used to write about things which I wanted to happen to me, which resulted in very naive or boring scenarios... I am thinking of doing the same thing now (or later), although my dreams look very different now. Actually, I u s e d to want those things (which happen in the novel I have in my head), not long ago - but that was because of desperation. I am optimistic nowadays !