How to write novels with one’s fists?

novels

Let me make you a little guilty and depressed. Perhaps, you won’t be. But in this case, I will doubt your humanity or what is left of it. And this is fine too. You are not obliged to risk your precious sanity with an outburst of perplexed negativity.
But here’s the story.

Having worked like a devil – which means, to put it in an aesthetically appealing way (I have my own way of making synonyms) – having no free time to enjoy the sweet nectar of reading beautiful books for weeks, I have been condemned to the unworthy and slavish existence of making one’s ends meet. Now, just to be clear, I am not a computer geek or some weirdo, who’s receiving penny’s for the nonsense he is creating. Instead, I find myself currently in a much more horrifying position – in a limbo. A non-state. A Utopia.  In other words, truth to be told, I am a student – someone who’s not yet full capable of living on his own and joining the real world. Someone – on the waiting-list. I study medicine (from the very beginning… I feel it is important to emphasize this) and at times this mind-numbing “quality time”, if compered to the activity of pleasant reading and self-education without having to worry about weekly exams, tests and assignments, makes me sad and depressed. For the last two months my daily routine has consisted of doing things, which I do not necessarily enjoy. Don’t get me wrong. I like medicine, generally. In fact, I like many things, generally. I like generalities and vulgarities, as most people do. I love many things, if seen and investigated from a safe distance. And what can provide a safer distance from reality than a book in one’s hand? The reality about which I read is not the reality in which I live and participate. Books provide a shelter from the vicious circles of the reality outside. Reality, more often than not, appears quite messy, sticky, impenetrable, overwhelming and irrational. Once you get closer to the phenomenon you have admired, very quickly a sudden shift in perception takes place – you start to dislike it, even hating it. This is also the reason, why some folks  are so addicted to pornography, drugs or any other shit for that matter . We don’t want the real thing. What we really want is a fantasy, a dream. We don’t want to mess with the dirty and sticky, often exhausting and complicating reality called sex, which involves another self-deliberating, equally stupid and egotistical agent. The simulacrum on the screen or on the book page gives us a pleasurable illusion of life, which is worth living. The distance from the real is our escape from suicide and our only insurance of meaning.

A book, that we value highly, always makes sense to us. But reality often does not. This is the grand tragedy of life – to live only to escape living. And that is a problem or, if you like, an infinite source of intellectual masturbation, which has been developed, used and abused by countless authors. Here, perhaps, also lies the magic appeal of religion, which still offers a route to escape the vicissitudes of life. Perhaps, we need a safe haven from reality to participate in it. Without the distance between us, we would never meet. Only from afar, I can meet you. But having met you, I take refuge back in my books.

Now, the world of books seem to be orderly, logical and rational. Language, text or narrative in itself does make sense to us only if it is followed by the rules of grammar and syntax. That is to say, only if we can understand what we read, we get the message. Many have tried to step outside the boundaries, rules and inner logic of language, and all of them have failed (or to be more precise, have resigned themselves to silence). By trying to write nonsense and irrational gibberish, they have made perfect sense. Of course, if you write sentences by slamming your fists against the keyboard, a complete nonsense would result – here’s the example –   hfhuiegfhpai[pqIJEPI[PUR2U854YTIHFUHJKBC XOER JAICJJPF AJJ X;FJKJGBZVOWAFHBKBX AJE ;AJFZFHAL A HF L H L L ljs lj sfoefj;a L JLS)f. Fortunately this style of self-expression, art or literature is not highly in demand (to say the least) and you won’t find it in the bookshelves of your local Barnes&Noble. But the point is, that by trying to escape the constrains of language, one says everything even more clearly and even more precisely. You have not escaped the trappings of language by slamming two fists and a foot on a keyboard. You have only conceded another defeat in front of the almighty alphabet, which makes your text incomprehensible and unreadable. And this is not an accomplishment of which you should be proud. In a sense, by attempting to escape the normative matrix of language, one becomes even more trapped in it. It is like trying to run away from one’s own shadow. No matter how hard you try, if the sun is shining and you are not hiding in the woods, -try as you may – you won’t have any success. Even if you make it for a brief moment, it is all temporarily, the shadow of language remains attached to you even if you don’t say a word, i.e., if you live in the dark. In consequence, the best poets are usually silent or at least say everything enigmatically, at minimum verbal expense. Thus, if you want to transcend the borders of language and perhaps increase your chances of receiving a Nobel prize in literature, cut out your tongue. Then swallow it with your favorite brand of scotch. This is how you go beyond the language games and fall into the abyss of the Real.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “How to write novels with one’s fists?

  1. medicine from the very beginning? truly? how wonderous!!!

  2. “All the truth in the world is held in stories.”
    ― Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man’s Fear

  3. My greatest fear at this moment is that much of what I just read has me nodding my head in agreement, though I would almost swear I have no understanding of its meaning. So what does my head and neck know, that escapes my brain?

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