Tuesday, 26 May 2009

The city can deliquesce. Watch as it takes life and reduces it to running water. Passers-by, if they are anything like those here in Berlin, are usually muttering or staring. Perhaps they have absurd facial hair, weird sprouting beard efforts or maybe they are pushing a bike with rusted frame and snapped spokes. They usually have bags, passers-by, bags and bicycles. Maybe children or tattoos. Sometimes they walk with small animals on leads, sometimes they have dressed this small animal in a little coat. They all join the river, people and bags and dogs and bicycles.

These are the conditions we observe. Deduction of order is a simple task; people move about, they stare and talk. Some of them push bicycles and animals around. They rattle along on their own trajectories, their individual lives expanding before them like alkalis being leached from mortar by sudden spring rain.

We know, of course, that this is not it. People are not divining rods, attracted to whatever is sought. Their propulsion, the capillary action of their everyday, is promoted and justified by unknown internals, perhaps unknown externals. The course of their miniature worlds is absolutely determined; the catalysts and prompts, the scripts of the day, are simply hidden from view. Probability is a conceit of the imagination, decisive reckonings the same. To ignore such facts would be to rupture the very physics of our existence. The mechanics of a quantum reality cannot be reconciled with free will.

At least not within the novel, not within my novel. And so the ambition should be to offer up an opening situation that seems as though its predicates are chance, coincidence, volition, human nature. Through the course of the novel, those events should be absolutely exposed as determined, as inevitable. The point? To mirror the act of reading, in which possibility is slowly reduced, in which enclosures tighten around the non-limits of language. And, then, to present this as a possibility within life, a possibility hopefully to be taken and ignored, a possibility that affirms the conditions of the passers-by - with their bags and bicycles and facial hair - as a condition worth pursuing. Then a river becomes not just infeasible coasts of running water, but an entire system with sources, currents and a wide sea to head for.

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