Maybe the critical analysis I am looking for is one that does not aim directly at the out-of-doors but, by exploring the indoors of the text and going deeper and deeper in its centripetal movement, succeeds in opening up some unexpected glimpses of that out-of-doors…
Italo Calvino on Northrop Frye, Literature as a Projection of Desire
This is something close to what I had in mind when I began the Notes—an exploration of cliché through use. I am particularly interested in the types of stories we tell most often, and in why we tell them in the particular ways that we most often do; that is, in what these things have to tell us about the wider cultural moment. The fiction presented here is satire, or, as Frye himself might have called it, anatomy. In both tracing and wielding these aesthetic constructs I hope to elaborate, in some way, the metaphysics of solidarity.
As for the format, I’m trying to reproduce a very specific aspect of my own ideal reading experience, and to do it by practicing a method akin to César Aira’s “flight forward,” or that of Moebius in Le Garage Hermétique. I am a great admirer of the mini and independent comics of the 1980s and 90s (Love and Rockets, Yummy Fur, Palookaville, Dirty Plotte, etc.), and of the early newspaper and anthology comics that many of them were modeled on (Thimble Theatre, Mary Worth, Journey into Mystery, the entire EC lineup)—not to mention the shared ethos behind everything from samizdat and second circulation to the do-it-yourself publication of fanzines. But what I especially like about serialization, whether in literature, comics, or television, is that it takes advantage of the notion, always present to some degree, that creator and audience are on a journey together, and expresses it in something closer to real-time. At this moment, while I have some idea where I am trying to go, neither one of us knows exactly where we will end up. Coherence, the first of the three volumes of Notes for a Mythology, was published from 2016 to 2019 and can be read here or here in its entirety (the second volume is currently underway; donations and purchases will help to ensure it proceeds in a timely manner), but the Notes themselves are only a part of a much larger and as yet open-ended fiction project which includes other stories and series as well.
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