Experimental prose that plays with form can be an exhilarating exploration of breaking form, playing with the fourth wall, breaking down text to parallel emotional collapse or motion. The play is an intellectual exercise and when done well it adds context, layers, meta-textual commentary and the raw excitement of form breaking with cohesion and intent. The rarer work is the one that both plays with form in fresh ways and resonates emotionally with the experimentation building the resonance. In her new novel American Mary, Alexandra Naughton has told a narrative that is emotionally raw and profound with ruptures of form throughout the text that are both conceptually exhilarating and immediately rich with emotional resonance. The novel is a moving and at times harrowing ride through the journey of a young woman in the world and relationships as well as a thrilling example of the emotional and intellectual ballast of experimentation with blank space and form.
Sam had that weird series of dreams again. He did not fly or swim in great rivers, he did not discover hidden rooms in places he once lived, he did not open doors to rooms full of long dead relatives silently watching television ,eating pie. Those dreams were the regular passengers of most nights. He dreamed he checked his email, he hung out on Facebook, he lurked Twitter and its snow of things and bots, he did his taxes, he checked the weather in cities he would never visit. The weird thing is it really felt real this time, mundane and in real time, that little fireworks flourish of tasks completed too.
I was to show up at school for the first day of junior high (now called middle school) in a blonde bowl cut, ill fitting shirt with an iron on picture I no longer recall (a lion I think..awkward and as cool as math books) , green corduroy slightly bell bottom “toughskin” pants and running shoes. Needless to say, a river of naive hope and a roiling ominous doom ride the above words and the moments to come. I rode on the long yellow bus through the dark mouth of pre sunrise morning full of hope and dread. My life was entering a new world, a new crowd (again), a new thing to fill in, 3 years to move me from childhood toward the seeming castle in a far cloud of high school.
an ambient work came on the radio…driving my dying old car up the crest of the hill that at one time led seemingly to nowhere…then to a job in polyester bell bottoms manning a cash register at magic mountain..then cal arts as a dream and one wild party…then as a student…….then this night….3 days after my mom passed on after so many years bedridden and unable to speak…….a kind of water began to pour…..floods and dams failing …..something inside eroding in the spaces and analog pads…….it felt for a second as though my car was to fly away deconstructed and winged away….every bit of geometry…every screw and material…..to just become a swarm and things in exploded view like the books of planes……..and she was gone……..and she was free from this…..and a horn honked…..a car passed……
.and it was as though there was no earth at all for a few seconds….no need ..no gravity…and no weight…..she was at peace now
Von Kármán vortices that developed to the lee of the island of Madeira.
Actinoform cloud in the Southern Hemisphere in August 2001. (Image courtesy of NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL)
Wave form clouds in NASA image
The curatorial impulse is strong to go on about the aesthetics of each of these images. The dynamics and plays of line , space and form are all wonderful.
The poetic impulse is to go on about the beauty of nature, of wind and moisture and the amazing things beyond the human realm on this planet.
The prose tug is to personify something in each of these images, to narrativize something of each.
The critical theory internal tide is to go on about contexts, semantics, semiotics, form and unintentional aesthetics seen in storms.
I will just let these be. Hopefully you too will find them interesting here.