Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I propose a world where novels are drastically reduced in size. Now, its not unknown to cut a book down to size for a blurb or an abstract, or even to reduce a book to one paragraph while lampooning the storyline as that section in the Guardian does. But I want to go further than that. In this world of fast food, even faster cars, rapid Internet, one-click purchase, instant coffee, instant noodles! In this world of tiny digital cameras, mobile phones the size of an ant that crawls in your ear, with video cameras on every wall and in every pocket, every hand, recording every moment of even the most banal corners of the universe! In this world of the guiltless mp3 larceny, where everything can be downloaded… from the photos of your brothers wedding in Tokyo to the sound of a South African ferret gnawing on a tree stump… surely the novel will face death or transformation – and a medium of such promise, such inexorable strength, will never chose death, no… not death, surely transformation – and transformation it shall be. Transformation at all costs.

But into what? Well let’s see now. It must be small: it will have to fit into the smallest of pockets – why not wear it as a contact lens? No, too fiddly. In the time it takes to get it in and out five hundred thousand photos will have been taken, half a million songs will have been downloaded, nine hundred burgers will have been eaten… and so on. So it needs to be small – ok – what else? Fast… its got to be over in flash, its got to smack you round the face, shock you, pluck your heart strings tenderly, frighten your wits out of you, split your sides, make you cry, enlighten you, teach you – yes! It’ll be western capitalism’s answer to Satori – over in an instant yet resounding for a lifetime. Who has time to read Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy today? They were paid by the word and wrote too many pages. We need the essence, the core, the soul, the spirit, the concentrated nucleus of a novel: one sentence – one pithy little sentence. Pith shall become the novel. We’ll print them out on little cards. I can see it now…

“Go on failing. Go on. Only next time, try to fail better.”-Samuel Beckett

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”-Pablo Picasso

“I believe that truth has only one face: that of a violent contradiction.”-Georges Bataille

“Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it.”-Salvador Dali

“If your everyday life seems poor, don't blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is not poverty and no poor, indifferent place.”
-Ranier Maria Rilke

“In short, I am an idle fellow who pisses his time away. I have absolutely nothing to show for my labours except my genius.”
-Henry Miller

2 comments:

a lady said...

shaznay lewis just came on my pandora and I thought of you.

howzit?

Anonymous said...

Nice! Where you get this guestbook? I want the same script.. Awesome content. thankyou.
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