Thursday, 12 February 2009

I cannot read at the moment, let alone write. Each night I go to Kis or Sebald hoping for regeneration of ideas, hoping for a splinter of instruction, but as yet not spelk is in sight. Perhaps I should begin again in another way, with the fascination with lists. Lists within novels, those paragraphs of semi-colons and unrelated objects, still hold interest for me even though I dare not write my own (list or novel).

There is something so potent about Kis' approach here, especially in Hourglass. The list appears to me as a two dimensional polygon, a many-sided wire frame. The number of sides, or rather intersections, are decided by the number of objects in the list and with each silently enumerated description occurs a pushing-out. The form is fixed in its unbroken outline, but each object's illuminative sentence pushes the structure out away from the centre until the entire shape covers a much larger area than it began with. All the time the sentences remain linked, the intersections holding fast, the joining lines elongating until they form a increased container, within which the next paragraph of the story may reside. That something can perform these two roles (as a fence or boundary does), both keeping things out and keeping things in, be both enclosed and expansive, holds some strange, simple allure. I cannot explain it beyond this.

Perhaps it is time to apply my professional practices to my own editing process. The innumerable schedules, lists and zeitplans that I form at work daily, those lists of lists indeed, can perhaps help me to begin again with writing. Ninety pages I think the draft sits at, with around sixty percent truly passable as a draft. The final forty pages or so need a structured approach. There are too those inclusions to be made, borrowings from my academic essays, old descriptions of woodland that seem somehow at home here, even blog posts which planted some sort of seed of discourse. They must be listed alongside specific re-writes, elucidations and tidyings to provide an entry point into a text I have long forgotten how to write.

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