Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sneak Peek - Work in Progress

From time to time I'll share a bit of my works in progress here. Since we are focusing primarily on "The Missionary and the Brute" here, today I'll give you a few paragraphs of a scene from its sequel, "Chiaroscuro Bums". Not going to give away too many spoilers - especially ones that bespoil the ending to Missionary, but I will set the stage a little bit.

This is from an opening chapter. The setting is a hospital in Amsterdam. What follows is a portion of a nightmare that haunts one of the patients there.

You know, I always wished there was a way that authors could do special editions of their books. I love the Director's commentary on DVD's (I did one once for three Iwerks Studio 'Gran Pop Monkey' cartoons on a Cultoons disk of rare cartoons.) I think it enhances the repeat viewing experience greatly.

Maybe with Kindles and Nooks that can come to pass in the literary world. What fun it would be to read what Stephen King's thoughts were as he was writing the tales of Roland the Gunslinger, or what the heck was going through John Irving's mind when he stuck in an odd story of New England history in the middle of "A Prayer for Owen Meany"! It could be very informative if done elegantly.

I think it could be quite interesting. So here's my Director's Commentary on what I am about to share: I love words. I love playing with them, making them sound good in pairs and in strings. In all of my work there is a 'read-aloud' feel to the text. Deliberately I shun rules of narrative convention and head instead toward shortened, this is the way we talk, kind of jabbering. I use half sentences, run on sentences, fragments and in the piece that follows - pure sound. I had always wanted to do a scene such as this - where the sounds of consonance and assonance overplay the contextual nature of the narrative. I wanted to take away the symbology of words and just have the emotive virtues of noise overplay it all. Didn't do it for long here as you will see. I don't think the modern reader is ready for that - I'm not exactly an Anthony Burgess here. But I did spend a lot of time working out the way the vowels caress the throat...

Obviously what you are about to read is a nightmare scene of sorts. Whether it happened or not in a more than fantastical way is beyond the scope of this blog post at this time. Maybe there's more to it. Maybe not. Not going to give away everything right now...

So enjoy the rambling thoughts of a soul in torment. From "Chiaroscuro Bums":

"Chaos was.

Crazy thoughts suddenly tumbled together headlong in cascades of cock-eyed, cataclysmic chaos. Images careened madly across the screen of his perception like strobe light flashes during a lightning storm.

The room began to spin with gar-jharring, gjerobalding chinging, inging sounds that flet-krackled wramkled into knowing cara karolin kraftpupt zound sounds that were merely ‘almost words’. Almost. ‘Almost words’ defining almost thoughts. Almost crashing, clashing, cluttering ‘almost words’ that piled the one atop the other – genuflecting ‘almost words’ on bruised knees and retching in unison into the ever-gaping maw of the void unzipped and writhing before it.  

Upon the canted carousel of the check board vortex, three dog-faced clowns defiled gravity and the laws of man-wrought physics as they cavorted gaily effortless atop Cirque du Madness mechanical stilt-leg extensions. Click-clock. Click-clucking, three Harlequin clowns befitted with oversized, overworn costumes of black on white and white on black and adorned with garish Harlequinade makeup caked over and smeared around grinning, leering, jagged-tooth, rotting with wild-dog-black-gummed smiles mere inches from his own freakishly fragile face. Peering deep into the depth sockets of his own hollow eyes, the clowns opened the monstrosities of their gape-jawed mouths to utter again and again blood-wails of guttural cries dripping with anger or anguish or God-knows-what kind of wicked accusational remonstrance.

It made him want to retch."

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