Thursday, November 16, 2006

Or, to put it another way ...

The Existence Machine reminds me of some vintage Calvino:
The preliminary condition of any work of literature is that the person who is writing has to invent that first character, who is the author of the work. That a person puts his whole self into the work he is writing is something we often hear said, but it is never true. It is always only a projection of himself that an author calls into play while he is writing; it may be a projection of a real part of himself or the projection of a fictitious "I"--a mask, in short. Writing always presupposes the selection of a psychological attitude, a rapport with the world, a tone of voice, a homogeneous set of linguistic tools, the data of experience and the phantoms of the imagination--in a word, a style. The author is an author insofar as he enters into a role the way an actor does and identifies himself with that projection of himself at the moment of writing.

from Italo Calvino's "Levels of Reality in Literature", collected in The Uses of Literature

This rings true to me and is consistent with many of the ideas I've been investigating in my recent philosophictions. It's the "not-me" that generates these pseudo-autobiographical fictional becomings as a kind of "a preliminary condition" or state of being becoming something else. I am not "putting my whole self" into a work like 29 Inches, META/DATA, or GRAMMATRON, and certainly not those early novels where I inhabited the spiritual unconscious of characters I named Gregor Samsa (in The Kafka Chronicles) and Maldoror (in Sexual Blood).

Indeed, it has much more to do with projecting a flux persona at the moment of writing, of simultaneously and continuously fusing my seminal drift with "the data of experience and the phantoms of the imagination" as I project them, and to do just that, pro-ject, with style.

Which reminds me of the first Professor VJ blog entry back in late January of this year. Or maybe I mean the second blog entry way back then?

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