Thursday, August 23, 2012

An Introduction/Explanation of The Genera of Magical Realism

(This story is an allegory for something yet to be determined.)

There are locations, people, items, myths that are symbolic to defining Jon’s life and psychosis. Jon, amongst other personality attributes, is a classical, text book narcissist, (See DSM-4; Diagnostic Statistical Manuel, Version four.) Most of the scenes and situations are real, but there are incidents that cross over, undifferentiated, into magical moments. Joseph Campbell’s works on myths through the ages and Kafka’s oeuvre were instrumental in deciding to write in this genera. This short story also uses the epistolary in which the characters confess/expose their thoughts and their feelings, at the discretion of the 3rd person narrator. One of the benefits is just how tangible, palpable, and obvious the sharing in the present moment of the story can effect the reader – in essence we’ll freeze that fleeting moment for a unique level of observation into the character’s hidden thoughts/feelings (who am I kidding … those are the thought that are occurring in my head as I extend the story!). Unlike Kafka, I describe the characters and their surroundings, because, in part, they are the generator for much of the “magical” components of this story. I am in effect breaking the “Creative Writing 101” contract of psychological realism, as all of the “magical/realism” writers have done for the past seventy years. My characters are imaginary beings, much as Don Quixote and his horse Rocinante are imaginary characters. So you the reader can ride on the back of that horse and go as fast and in as many directions as you can conceive … as it were you become an adjunct creator of my story.
This story is not the author’s bio or revelation; it simply is his ongoing exploration of life. The Last Syllable wants to examine the self and its “identity”, probing to see if there are dimensions to the feelings of “soul”, or is that ephemeral entity infinite, and therefore capable of measurement? After all, to measure is to understand – ergo … to control!! Someone wrote: “that girl is so upset by her uncertain hold on her identity that she sobs, “I am me, I am me, I am me …”.

The Dwarf is the transmogrification (I don’t want to use the word metamorphosis for obvious reasons) of Echo, and ironically of Jon. Of course, neither the Dwarf nor Echo will appear together. Jon will question this situation, this dichotomy; but only superficially as, of course, he wants to continue to dwell on himself; that is the consistency of Jon, albeit, a foolish consistency. The Dwarf will challenge Jon as indicated by the author’s construction of the narrative, dialogue, and their interior thoughts.
The more Jon became engaged with himself, the less clearly/accurately he saw either the world as a whole or his self; so he plunged further into what Husserl called the “forgetting of being”. As mentioned above, Cervantes’ creation had lost all contact with the philosophies and sciences that dealt with man’s being. Jon lacked social/interpersonal infrastructure (fellowship) for a monitoring or investigation of his “being”. There had never been an examination as to what happens inside of Jon … to unmask the secret life of his feelings (clinical narcissism), or his irrational behavior and decisions. The removal of his societal armor by retirement from the “Company” will permit the world to appear in its fearsome ambiguity. The modality of this story is not an inquiry into that dis-functionality, but to understand Jon’s moral position, or his complete lack of, as evidenced by his propensity with his irrepressible and innate desire to judge, to act before he understands that joy, pain, and individual needs exist in others … besides just himself. There is no religious or ideology stabilizing keel that assists the helm of his ship in charting a destination. That ship was easy to board, impossible to leave; the cost – is the infinity, the endlessness of his soul; that great illusion of the irreplaceable uniqueness of the individual, and here the word “individual” must be interpreted by its exact lexicon definition. (Did I get this passage from Bovary … or is it mine – where is my mind?) What Jon does realize is that the fame and fortune he so dearly desired will no longer be his, because time no longer idles, resting in the shade by the roadside. Instead it sits on his shoulder ticking louder and louder in its inexorable desecration of his being/reality. Don Quixote, because of his complete detachment (like an anesthesia), never suffered that realization. To the contrary, he achieved, by his own reckoning, all that was noble and “knightly” in his madness.  Now, Jon will have an adventure imposed on him, because he has gone over to the forests of the myths, the gods, and the demons of our other selves, those selves that we never really know. The sentiments of Joseph Campbell, the educator and novelist, populate these adventures with his seminal work on the universality of myths in “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”.

The constrains that the character Jon exists under (imposed by this author) is first – the intent through, his actions and words, to reveal his own image, or a self-portrait, albeit an ersatz portrait, when it serves his purposes. Now the author (me) wants to have an epistolary episode in which Jon confesses his thoughts and feelings (to whom is yet to be determined, maybe the Mulberry tree). Yet, much like Kafka’s character “K”, there is no history … no future. Jon has never been able to get past the present moment.  That tangible, that palpable, but nevertheless elusive present flees/avoids Jon completely. He responds to the external stimuli of being fĂȘted, and the absolute Cartesian center of all activities that are in his proximity. It’s a life of reaction, Pavlovian in predictability and lacks contemplation. Jon’s involvement with his “self”, which centers on his needs, to the exclusion of others, always claws (a garra), always fights its way into the foreground of his thoughts and actions. Jon believes he lives, by choice, in the present moment … yet … never understands, or chooses to ignore, that the present moment eludes us all. So my intent is, which I have undertaken by means of a literary couch for Jon to lay on, to stop, to seize that fleeting instant and make we/us, the readers, and the author, see it. I have chosen to share a few incidents of Jon’s past. As for the future, what comes after the Al Fin, the reader, and myself, can only speculate. I also decided not to create a dĂ©nouement. The question that begs, at least in my mind, is can the “present” be grasped at all? My research has provided antidotal results that shouts “Of course not!” So, even more so, the future is as oblique as the present; therefore no final conclusion, unless the story takes ahold and dictates that course of action is required.
A better and more accurate course of action might be to attempt to at least recognize just how ephemeral the “present” remains: why I would consider that motif I do not know … possibly because the essence is in the air I breath and I want a go at the concept, because possibly my words can give some shape, a structure to the perceived reality of being.

Even though I imagine Jon having, at times, sadomasochistic dependencies and an always innate human immaturity, something akin to a character from a Gombrowicz novel, I’m not certain that I have the skill to correctly portray those aspects of the human condition and besides to what effect: but it would be interesting to try.
Jon is at that point in his life where he sees that he “owns” nothing, and controls nothing, least of all himself; irrational forces steer his destiny … he is a habit driven mechanism, he no longer thinks or analyzes, but goes by rote through each day; emotionally, his actions, all intuitive based on his having had the experience of the reality of living each day and getting through. He doesn’t think, he doesn’t understand … he just reacts through “muscle” memory. His life has been a game whose duration is short, but replayed endlessly. He does not grasp the possibility of existence, nor of the value of each moment. But suppose, just try to visualize, that he is right and we who carry the burden of seeing beyond our own reality are wrong … much like Sisyphus.

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