Thursday, 29 January 2009

Reconstructing the past

All the writers I can think of are basically reconstructing their pasts into fiction: J. G. Ballard, for instance, always recreates the confinements of the Lungua camp he lived in by creating characters who revel in new, restraining situations and landscapes; Paul Auster conjures up new arbitrary, inexplicable events which reflect some of the extraordinary moments he experienced as a young man; Borges created an infinite library with his fiction, which in is a representation and a re-ordering of the vast amount of books he read; Faulkner constantly portrayed despair of the south of the USA via the creation of Yoknapatawpha county; Juan Rulfo re-imagined his tragedy of been an orphan through the hunt for a father in Pedro Paramo etc. etc. etc. 

Although it may not be blatantly clear in the work of all writers, their past always resurfaces in either a cryptic or a clear manner. This doesn't necessarily mean that it reflects or channels the personality of a writer; it means that a new, distant parallel world is formed. This new parallel world is a variation of the 'reality' of the writer. Consequently, out of this conscious effort on an unconscious disorientation of memory (the act of writing - this 'parallel' world) emerges some sort of psychological truth about the writer. Writing is in itself a form of psychoanalysis, so everything in the writer's past life is recycled and remoulded into a new form. 

My own experiences with creative writing also reinforce my belief that the writer persistently 'reconstructs the past'. 'Strandenforp's Drunken, Cerebral Outsider' was a metaphor for my old english lessons: an outsider who is seemingly dumb on the surface is actually beyond it all and plunges in and out of his own psyche simultaneously. The rest of the crowd in the room are content when he suffers and they are euphoric when he is in a state of 'abject, desolate misery'. Meanwhile, David Crapper and Mary Vagina's Love Affair is a representation of my loss of innocence and a way of ridiculing my past attempts at writing and my awful novel.

I think that all my writing - and all my life - will be overwhelmed and shrouded by a sense of detachment from reality. The boundaries of 'real' and 'fiction' have been blurred throughout my whole life by an hallucination experienced at the age of 4. I was in the house of my aunt and uncle and every time my cousin shined the torch on the ceiling, it opened it and was accompanied by a malevolent hand and voice. This made me extremely anxious and upset. I think that this has also been reinforced lately by my lack of assurance in my position within society... By having a quintessentially British surname and appearance within a predominantly chilean society, I developed in a different way to how British or Chilean people normally develop. I shall literally 'reconstruct' this in a autobiographical novel, but I shall also reconstruct this via cryptic symbols in a novel entitled See-Saw (I won't go into the details of this novel for now).

I think that the interpretation of art is like the interpretation of dreams. A dream also draws on the past memories of a person and reshapes into a new un-envisioned form... There are no real answers or truths within it, but there are certain hidden signs and clues which suggest an 'answer' about ourselves. The practise of novel-writing is a conscious effort of re-arranging the past, and it is also a conscious effort at re-assessing ourselves as human beings.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Two separate, parallel endings/narratives

I have always been fascinated by a novel which has two completely different narrative running simultaneously, and when these two separate narratives are vaguely interrelated with one and other and have recurring motifs which surface in both of them. I'm also fascinated by the highly Borgesian themes of labyrinths, which can be easily constructed in a short story but is downright impossible to obtain in novel-length and, to my knowledge, has never been successfully evoked in a novel-format. In labyrinths, the theme of two narratives - maybe even 50 narratives - running simultaneously is a possibility. The culmination of this simultaneous flow of events is the ending where you are possibly either led to a satisfying conclusion or a disappointing dead end.

There are heaps of novels which employ numerous perspectives at the same time (the most notorious I've encountered is perhaps Faulkner's As I Lay Dying), but I have yet to encounter a satisfying one with the specific ideology that I propose in my preceding paragraph. The works of Italo Calvino seem to approximate this the most, but I've yet to read him but there's a couple of his books that await my reading in my collection. In modernist texts, it is very common to break with temporal conventions and to structure time in a non-linear manner, but (as I've said before) the separate narratives don't function in the way I wish them to. Perhaps when I'm older I'll try as hard as I can to produce works which correspond with my vision of form and structure.

The reasons for why I have preoccupations with these themes is that I have had experiences where my memories are constructed in this specific manner where events have ultimately led to two separate, parallel endings... All psychotic episodes (as far as I know) can't be recalled very well, and this consequently results in a blurry and distorted memory/recollection of events. This is why I have my memories like this - it didn't really happen in this way, but my memories of it are like that.I think it's a privilege to have it this way: I don't think many people (even people who have experienced psychotic episodes) have these sorts of strangely structured memories stored within their psyche! There have been three times where I have experienced events which have led to two separate scenarios with two separate endings running simultaneously.... I shall now proceed onto relating them.

The night my psychotic episode commenced was just after my freedom steered out of control: I was at the height of my powers! I cured myself and posted life-changing posts on my blog where I renovated my point of view... This was accompanied by the erudite and encouraging posts from Gareth (who was later scared off by my psychotic posts...). I had just got a large bedroom (my previous room was ridiculously small and confining and prevented my creativity from flourishing), and I was ready to indulge myself in a frenzy of writing. My creativity was at its peak, and it has been hindered by the medication and various other reasons since then... The prospect of the future ahead of me was extremely exciting.
But then this freedom got out of control and my psychosis developed.. I stayed up for 3 days without sleep and my thoughts spiralled towards all directions. These were delusional thoughts: I thought a psychologist - along with 'psycho-magician' Alejandro Jodorowsky - had previously taken my wretched writing into my school and that they showed it to my english teacher and all the students (A-level students who had passed their GCSEs - I flunked them) and cause them to laugh at me and think of me as talentless and further expand the notion of what a spaced-out/dumb dunce I was. In the writing I had taken a girl named Jade (a girl whose appearance and looks caused me to lust after her) and made her an 'imaginary girlfriend' of sorts. After these months, they would take my newer writing and show them that it was a metaphor for my old english lessons and ridiculing my past writing about this girl Jade. This would cause them to feel defeated by a formidably talented, incendiary prodigy. I also thought that the psychologist had taken the basis of Julio Cortazar's 'Hopscotch', and had seen me and another troubled teenagers as playing games - playing hopscotch - with the education system, and trying to deviate with new ways of seeking for art (the book itself has numerous allusions/references to many literary/artistic/artists). To make matters worse, I then thought that the 'good' writing I'd produced had been hidden from view of the english teacher and that she was convinced that I was still a dumb dunce. I'd then arrange for her husband to be killed. After this, I'd appear on television where I'd give highly intellectual statements which she'd see. She'd then approach everyone else about this, but then they'd be convinced to lie to her and tell her that she was thinking in a mathematical way after his death. In the real world, meanwhile, my father took me down to the police station because I'd been tormenting the house and scaring my sister (I'd been arrested a couple of times previously). I thought that this visit to the police station was about the imaginary furore in my head, and that I was going to explain about how I'd caused it and I even proposed how to kill the mathematics teacher. Amazingly enough, the police officer accepted all this and said ' we'll look out for some courses for you'. He wasn't listening to a word I said, and he seemed to think that I was apologising for the crimes I'd committed at home!

Finally, I shall now at long last relate the first of the 'two separate, parallel endings'.... The first of the parallel memories (which occurred just after I returned from the police station) is that my mother gave me a tablet and told me to 'think clear thoughts' over and over again. She said in a calm voice 'think of an ocean, think of a river flowing' and all sorts of other serene, calming statements.I rubbed my head in desperation and looked for an answer until I screamed out: 'CRASH! CRASH! CRASH!' The title of the only Ballard book I'd read at the time... It seemed that the novel had ingrained itself into my unconscious and was now emerging with the tablet I'd taken. She then told me that my english teacher had in fact killed herself and that her husband was seeking for some sort of answer; she also said 'Ballard is waiting for you in the future.' She gave me a pen and paper and told me to write. I then proceeded to write a load of giberish, but later my hand moved without my movement and it seemed like Ballard's writing. He was writing something along the lines of 'I was trying to show what young people are drawn to and are capable of' until I intercepted his movement of my hand and continued writing more incoherent rubbish where I hopelessly attempted giving this mathematics teacher an answer. After this, my mother collected the papers and said 'that's enough', and I went to bed.
In my memory there's a missing link between this moment and another which seems to have occurred simultaneously... It's odd but I also have the memory that I thought that my english teacher was alive in my house, and this doesn't seem to correlate with the certainty of me knowing that she had committed suicide. In this separate, parallel incident I thought that the tablet I'd taken had now allowed Ballard to control my inner-impulses and nerves and my brain.... The tablet had an effect on my head which produced the feeling that it was been controlled. In this incident I thought that this girl Jade and my english teacher were in my house and that we were going to perform a sexual act akin to the copulations described in 'Crash'. I also thought that some of Jodorowsky's 'Psychomagic' was being employed jointly along with this, and that he was collaborating with Ballard. My heart beat also sped up to great degrees now and then, and at the time I felt that this was Ballard I stroked my penis expecting that this act would incite some sort of response from them, and it did - they appeared in my room, and their movement precisely corresponded with the use of my hand on my penis. They both sat on some chairs around my bed, and I expected that sooner or later we would commence the sex. The girl got up from her chair, closed her eyes, gasped and left the room. I got up to see what was occurring, but the english teacher snapped 'don't'. I fell back down to bed and I had an urge to piss, but I let the urine ooze out as I couldn't rise up to go out. The english teacher remained sat in front of me, and subside and I fell asleep. These memories of this incident are both separate in my mind, and I can't find a discernible middle which mesh them together.

The day after this another event occurred which is muddled in my mind. After this magical night finished, day-time came and reality proved bigger than me and defeated me. I awoke and I talked incessantly, and a female doctor and a female nurse came to the house. I spewed out a rant about my favourite authors and the nurse corrected me on numerous incorrect pronunciations. She was contemptuous and cynical over my literary knowledge by remarking 'I mean, even I've read Paul Auster'. After this we went to the computer where I opened up a word document where I was about to let loose my thoughts. I wrote out all my delusional beliefs where I even claimed to be god and cited a number of artists I liked as guiders. Another delusional thought was that what I saw was being transmitted around all televisions in the world as I often created television programmes in my head during my childhood. I printed this word document out and ran around the house proclaiming 'I've created life!' I thought that this was a psychomagical act co-created by me and Jodorowsky and that my parents were now brain-dead, and I can't remember how but it was agreed that every time they responded I'd shout and retort 'faggots!' All this backfired, and I found myself crawled up in the chair of the living-room where I felt the presence of Alejandro Jodorowsky under me. My mother then said 'we are going to hear some music'. I pleaded 'Debussy! Debussy!' She played a fragment of Bach at full volume which was gobsmacking and shook me up. I still felt Jodorowsky under the chair, but I got up and was vexed and inquired 'where am I?' They then rushed me off to Chesterfield hospital where I was placed in a bed.
The separate, parallel ending here is that I remember that I was sat on a table where some psychiatrists/social workers/etc. talked everything over with me calmly and patiently. I cried out 'I want to meet Jodrowsky and Ballard!, but they responded 'no, no, no - we shall take you to a psychatric ward'. This ending differs from the other one, and it is highly unclear to me on what actually took place. I seem to remember that I was instantly taken to the car to the hospital rather than having this reassuring chat.

The final event where situations seemed to have veered off to two separate directions was just after I was rushed to Chesterfield hospital. This was when I seem to remember that Paul Auster came with his wife and gave me a pill and gave statement. After they left, a woman guarded over me from the door. Behind her I saw the same sequence going on over and over again: I saw a the same woman open the door and walking across the corridor again and again. I thought at the time that this was repeating itself infinitely. I talked to the woman and she was horrible to me; she said that the more I'd talk the more she'd leave the door - thus allowing the AIDS patients (although they weren't AIDS patients - they were mental patients) to rape me.. Here the two separate endings were that a doctor came with the patients and calmed me down and put some medical wires on my body... there it seems to have ended and I think that I went to sleep on my own. The other, on the other hand, was that I went to sleep on my own and as I was about to doze off I exchanged a conversation with a kid who was in front of me on a chair. 'Can you write?' I asked. 'No,' he replied. 'Can you?' No, I answered. I then proceeded onto sleeping.

I didn't intend to write so much about my delusional thoughts which preceded my simultaneous-events-occurring-at-the-same-time accounts. I'm going to record all these events in a novel which shall be similar to Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar - an account of mental turmoil. I shall hopefully write this autobiographical novel during the same year as my other novel See-Saw. A lot of the writing about my delusional thoughts is highly unclear due to lack of explanation about the background and the context, but I look forward to dismantling and expanding this highly complex array of incidents in this future novel...

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MY FUCKING LAPTOP HAS DIED!!!! It won't turn on.... I'm writing this on the computer which is downstairs... I'm hoping to get it repaired because it contains all the music I've downloaded and a bunch of creative writing... I hope that it will be fixed...

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.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Different forms of consciousness

'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.

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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

Craft

Every art-form requires its artist/creator to have a grasp of it rudiments and an understanding of its mechanisms. This 'understanding' can be obtained through a variety of methods, but the most effective way of obtaining it(at least in the world of writing, which is the field which I understand the most) is by looking at other creations and meticulously studying every single detail and consequently attempting to replicate it in one's own style.

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

The necessity of 'meaning'

Most people always apply the questions of how and why. They just can't accept and leave something as it is. Most people can't accept the enigmatic, and most people shun the cryptic. I myself prefer it when art is more ambiguous, unclear and open to interpretation. I have a strong penchant for dreaming, and I always find a dream dreadfully boring when there is a reason behind it. I hate it when a dream is approved by the psychoanalyst, and I consequently disapprove of art being constantly analysed and dissected to death in classrooms.

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

Top 10 films

Like all my other lists, this is a personal selection which reflects my interests and likings - not an accurate list which are perpetrated by groups of highly-knowledgeble film buffs. I am not much of a film buff myself, but I'm on the road to becoming one since my decision of watching a movie every Wednesday. I am now subscribed to LOVEFILM, and some titles which await me come from directors such as Bunuel, Werner Herzog, Woody Allen, Seijun Suzuki and Godard. Maybe I'll update this list one day when I do indeed become more of a film expert.

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

Books I read in 2008

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.