Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Yesterday was full of monsoons and yet not once did I get wet. The first occurred as I was sleeping, the second as I sat in the house writing, the third I sheltered from in a shop doorway somewhere near a church just off Unter der Linden and the forth happened while I was drinking bison-grass Vodka in a Russian café out towards Mitte.

Writing is happening, slowly. Yesteday I think a key foundation stone was laid, not perfectly, but its location was confirmed and I now know the rough shape and size of the. Crucially, I know what the novel is about and, at the moment I can give a one line synopsis. This suggests to me a focus uncommon in my work. A basic principle for explanation is the thought that memory is a creative process.

The process of remembering appears to be a kind of dredging, the hauling in of a line long since cast which, on the end, holds a squirming relation to something defined as an event. This however, is an allusion. The process of remembering is not a reductive or selective process, nor a cold course of archival retrieval, nor an unburying of instances within a given chronology that have been given their last rites. Misremembering cannot be accurately seen to be a type of confusion, it is not a clerical error on the part of the archivist, nor a mistaken turn which has led the procession of funeralists into the wrong plot of graves. Memory is a creation and its sole material is human experience.

To remember is an act – it is to write a novel, it is to create a world, it is to create connections where connections there seemed none and it is to bring together an indecipherable net of prevailing conditions which slowly closes round something experienced in the here and now. The fallibility of memory is an absurdity; there can be no empiricism within memory. Memories are not false, or if they are, they are false in the same way a collection of notes played on a piano or brushstrokes on a canvas are false. They are only deemed unworthy of expectation and this is not true fallibility, for something that has no intent, cannot fail.

There is no ambition to make these thoughts a provable thesis, not to even make them fully coherent. I want them to scan, for the loose sense of a progression to take place. I want the reader to, at some point in a narrative passage of text, take an idea that suits them and carry it with them allowing it to colour the rest of the book. In this way the theory and the practice of the novel should overlap and the reading of the book can become the justification of the words within it.