But now I have to figure out exactly how I'm going to structure the text (while attempting to deconstruct a text). And how the fuck to do it on Microsoft Word. This is a very visual work for me, but I am not a visual person (was slapped by a nun in eighth grade for not being able to cut a snowflake). In truth, I don't want to construct a novel, a narrative, I want to destroy the novel, the narrative, do something anarchic with the page. This is so difficult. Especially since I'm not a designer.
I have been reading this great interview in the ACM archive with Kathy Acker (by the way, love Repat Blues' Acker homage). I know that Acker was inspired by the Oulipo and Burroughs' cut-up techniques, ways to somehow constrain oneself in order to free oneself (this sounds very bodily & S&M! Deleuze & Bataille would approve!)
The surrealists, obviously influenced by Freud, or Andre Breton, were looking to get at what I guess we'd call [laughs] content, as opposed to deep structure. When they were looking to do that they made up these silly games like "the exquisite corpse." And the only point of the game is to divert what Burroughs calls "that little bird mind back there," to divert that extra little mind that Burroughs said is sitting at the hypothalamus. To get you freed up, so you're not noticing what you're doing.
And I like when she says (can't find it in this interview, but remember reading it) that she stopped a book when she got bored with it. And perhaps all of these games are a way to circumvent the boredom (didn't Burroughs cut-up his own material when he got bored with it? I don't know.). So I flipped through a work on the Oulipo and came out cross-eyed. The thing is, I'm terrible at math. I had a nervous breakdown in high school during a geometry exam. This is not hyperbole. I'm terrible at maps. I cannot read a map for the life of me. I have to print out minute directions from MapQuest to go back and forth from everywhere. If I was a block away from where I lived for years, but it was a different block than on my usual route, I would have no way to get home.
But I really wanted in this work to consider the architectural space of the page, the book. I want this work to be about anarchy and architecture. The house that is the Freudian romance, Monkey as the Dora-daughter attempting to kick down the walls. And how to represent the house on the page. It is another triptych, like the one that's coming out, except the last one I did the triptych the easy way, temporally (alternating narratives), and this work I want to somehow divide the page spatially. I know this will be more of an infuriating text to dismantle that way for the reader (as Vanessa Place wrote me, who does such interesting things with continuous narrative in La Medusa, this way the reader has to choose whose throat to slit first).
Yet how to represent the space of the page? How to construct and destruct a house? This is a work about a daughter trapped in the cellar, and a mother trapped in the living room in front of the TV, and so I knew I wanted to somehow combine the narratives together on the same page, much like Coetzee did in his last book, an "upstairs/downstairs". There is also the father's story, in his prison cell. Really this is a work about people trapped in cells, their rooms, their existences. I did some playing around with Microsoft text boxes. I still haven't figured anything the fuck out. I don't feel free from my constraints. I feel constrained by my constraints.
I also want Shadow to be reacting to Gaston Bachelard's Poetics of Space (offering instead an anti-poetics, as it were), and I quote from the work throughout. Three: A Freudian topography: Id, ego, superego. The cellar & the living room & the attic. The ideas of the double (also Bronte's madwoman in the attic.)
One of the works that inspired me the most while writing Shadow was The Oresteia. I think of Anne Carson's recent performance about Cassandra with Gordon Matta-Clark images. The Oresteia to me is so much about the house, the house being destroyed. Three: Iphighenia then replaced by Cassandra, they are the same, Clytaemnestra, Agammenon.
These are images I looked at throughout writing the work, that I hope to somehow draw from when actually structuring the text:
Built environments, such as Francis Bacon's paintings and drawings, so inspired by his past career as a furniture designer (the bed that is a table, the interrogation chairs).
Gordon Matta-Clark's building dissections, especially, this one, "Splittings," which I would like to use as some sort of prototype for how the text and different narratives will fit on the page:
This reminds me of this (also an important image to me, it is the image I use at the beginning of Book of Mutter):
And very importantly in the father section, as he sits in his cell awaiting trial, this has been an image seared into my brain:
This reminds me so much of the cells Bacon constrains his figures inside.
I also have been flipping through Virilio's Bunker Archaelogy today. Thinking maybe I'll thieve some of the designs?