Innovative Fiction as Self-Reflective Meditations on Visuality

Saturday, November 26, 2016 § 1

An Introductory Essay by
David Detrich  

Innovative Fiction: Abstract Composition with Books

The intense golden sunlight lights up my inner mind, as I relax in the yellow orange spiralling of red blue colorations within the blue green whorls of the color harmony, envisioned as illuminations of metafictional self-reflexivity defining the abstract composition of Rio beach chair with a display of literary books, which I perceive in the sun disc shadings of October brush stroke nuances with white cloud portraits emerging into visibility. The light of the mind represents my being in relation to the sunlight which heightens the warmth of life energies, as the fall season turns cool with green trees becoming intense color fields of yellow gold in intricate leaf patterns in juxtaposition with the crimson red auraglow of maple trees emerging from the Winsor & Newton artist color palette...   

an infinity of variations   

     intensifying into vivid shades     

           approaching the ineluctable   

                  essence of artistic being

                               green lawn descending the hill
                                 northern pine trees on sandy red soil

                                      the past seasons fading in memory

                                the gloss of book cover textures

                 reflecting soft light tones

I notice the innovative novels stacked on my desk... becoming rectangular abstract simplified forms...   a geometry of squared shapes...   perspectives on the innovative metatext...   as I carefully read through the works which signify the complexity of life stories transformed into the art of white pages in a time lapse sequence of animated typography which enhances the pleasure of esthetic appreciation. The innovative novels gathered here represent fictional works which explore the novel as a plausible narrative artform written with valid characterizations in precise descriptions, which make innovative fiction a meditative reflection of reality. 

A valid characterization is true to life     

  like the crimson red sky this morning    

    intricate cloudwork of brilliant vivid energized red   

       the characterization of self is that of a perceiver   

           symbolic forms + / s reminiscent of rs   

               60s style spacecraft with groovy bubbles     

                    nearing the rectangular large spacecraft entry     

                         the paleontologist with an angular look    

                        a cap with long blonde hair flowing    

                     in the style of Salvador Dali     

               the ancient face with squared hat

          looking through the clouds     

  a saucer shaped hat with a round flat lateral view    

the self is joined by a rock group     

    the perspective is photogenic red cloudwork    

         a novel like a cloud that changes    

The innovative novelist is similar to a philosopher in the creation of a large work which shows mastery of the concepts of literature, and James Joyce has set the trend for modernism with his novel Ulysses (1922) which begins the section on Innovative Fiction. The large scale novel begins with the bard of Ireland, Stephen Dedalus, speaking with a medical student, Buck Mulligan, in the Martello tower while intoning the mass, and goes on to describe the events of a single day June 16, 1904 in detail, and continues with chapters which feature different modes of writing: historical, epic, poetic, dramatic, ending with the interior monologue of Molly Bloom written in unpunctuated prose. Finnegans Wake (1939) is another monumental novel which develops the historical mode of writing, having evolved out of the historical chapter of Ulysses, with language that is an expressionistic representation of a fairy tale reality. Innovative fiction has followed this modernistic trend with works which explore individualistic approaches to esthetic theory, often with a metafictional self-awareness of the fictionality of representation as an illusion of reality. When the novel becomes a presentation of reality, in the Husserlian sense, then it is drawing awareness to itself with typographic design and self-reflectivity.

           presentation becoming representation

                      fiction evolving into metafiction

                             reflections of light as self-reflectivity

                         fiction expanding into the monumental novel

                    a multiplicity of narrative techniques 

             defining the 21st Century innovative novel

The innovative novel is similar to our own perception of reality with an attention to detail that becomes a phenomenological processing of sensual perceptions which represent the subject matter of the literary composition...     an abstract composition with books...     A phenomenological reduction reduces the phenomenon of our sensory perceptions into literary form, and the techniques of this reduction become a form of realism, abstract expressionism, or Surrealism. I think of the novels in this abstract composition as works of innovative fiction, well crafted in style and structure, which are deserving of critical attention from literary students and theorists, because they represent a serious effort to develop the innovative techniques of novel writing. The art of the novel has become the-art-of-designing-the-novel-as-an-art-object by placing it in the context of modern trends of esthetic theory...   

a large horizontal format novel

          written in hopscotch squares     
                with illustrations by Arshile Gorky     
                    featuring meditations on psychedelics    
                     a phenomenological approach

                  to the formality of the text     
         the theology of readings from the sacred texts

The red clouds dissolve quickly when I walk up the wooden stairs, and I look out the upstairs window where they have transformed into gray brush strokes...     as if they were a momentary illusion... this phenemonon represents the temporality of the novel in which the time of the narrative event is calculated as duration, and the time of writing about the event is also calculated as duration, so that these two durations are not necessarily equal in lengthIf event/writing = time in the novel, then this equation creates the relativity of time where the duration of the event and the duration of writing may vary, so that one could write a monumental novel about a single day of experience modeled on the reality of Dublin, as James Joyce has done in Ulysses (1922). This is the phenomenological description of sensory experience which becomes a monumental novel that hopes to express everything about the reality of an event where the details of the scene approach infinity. This expansive quality of narration is what I call the fictionalization of reality, so that one can expand a description of a single day, or the significant events of a lifetime, into a multiplicity of chapters. The fictionalization of events creates a way of comprehending reality, and appreciating the esthetic qualities of human experience, so that one can experience love for life, as a way of representing dialogue and interaction with others, that one would like to present once again to the mind to savor the nuances of concrete reality enhanced with the flavorings of semantic density. Fictionalization of poetic prose creates a further equation of bringing the conscious intersubjectivity of inner thoughts to the page which take on the novelistic form of the innovative novel, as new perspectives on describing reality become the continuing development of the narrative form into a work of fine art with the space of the page entering the field of visuality. I have included numerous innovative texts in the Innovative Fiction section of this book, beginning with James Joyce, and evolving through Samuel Beckett, Gertrude Stein, Anais Nin, Maurice Roche, Philippe Sollers, Nicole Brossard, Christine-Booke Rose, Claude Simon, Arno Schmidt, Marc Saporta, Julio Cortazar, and Ishmael Reed, Gilbert Sorrentino, William H. Gass, Raymond Federman, Ronald Sukenick, Matthew Roberson, Steve Tomasula, and Mark Z. Danielewski. These novels use the space of the page to convey typographical design, and began with the trend of theoretical fiction which uses linguistic theory as the subject for the novel, so that the innovative novel has entered the classroom as a genre that is worthy of consideration from young readers who are seeking works which exemplify the fine art of literary writing...     

     open structured novels  

           where the novel is structured by the reader    

                    a book-in-a-box    

                           where the pages can be shuffled    

                              close structured novels    

                            with a determinate sequence of chapters     

                       novels which use typographic design

                    to present a narrative    

             creating the visuality of innovative design     

        novels which are individualistic in approach     

often written in poetic prose

    the red clouds appear again in the October sky

          with thick gray cloud layers that resemble

                the smoke of burning oil wells from Mosul    

                       the intricate pattern of reddish orange clouds

                             extends across the sky

                                   with a Salvador Dali woman's face

                                         smiling through the abstraction     

                                           with a central dark hat image

                                          that appears to be a student

                                     at his or her desk     

                               a sophisticated woman with high heels

                          is seen projecting upwards     

                       with a fine geometric pattern

                    appearing on her dress   

                 similar to an Indian from Latin America     

              resembling an artist's model     

          the sky abstraction features reddish orange clouds

     superimposed on textures of dark gray clouds     

creating a modern art layering effect    

    the grayish clouds look like sinister air pollution

           transformed into blue gray shades

                  with a half moon visible above the pine trees

A self awareness of the text as a work of fiction creates the conceptual foundation of metafiction with new techniques of presenting a narrative to the reader creating a sense of novelty using innovative concepts of perspective creating  the visuality of typographical design affirming the definition of the innovative novel as something new. The avant garde has produced works which impress the reader with the creative imagination of the novelist to produce a novel which introduces new ways of perceiving the phenomenon of reality in a philosophical sense and to appreciate the text for its esthetic qualities which bring pleasure to the reading by satisfying the mind with the semantic density and literary quality of the fiction. Many of the authors in this collection of essays are Nobel Prize winners, who show a sincere dedication to innovative techniques in their careers as fiction writers, producing fiction which inspires us to show creativity ourselves as fellow writers as well educated readers as beginners just starting out.

As a literary blogger I would offer these book reviews for free, even when some literary magazines charge money for excerpts from novels stories poems interviews creative non-fiction essays and book reviews. The success of Innovative Fiction Magazine has been exciting with over 100,000 readers learning about the innovative fiction that makes life more interesting for those who would consider the valid characterizations the well crafted sentence structures the visuality of typographic design and the creative structural concepts for presenting the text. These essays are collected together in Innovative Fiction: Essays on Innovative Fiction, Big Sur, Surrealism, Art, Literary Criticism, and Philosophy, and are written in the short essay format which has enabled me to consider a large number of innovative works which represent a multiplicity of innovative forms.

My novel-in-progress Dream the Presence of the Circular Breast Starfish Topography represents an infinite regress of phantasm into eros which inspires the intricate narrative that intends to exemplify the visuality of its structure, and the Surrealist poetics of its prose style. The novel becomes an extended meditation on eros, a concept which Emmanuel Levinas has introduced in Time and the Other (1948) with a phenomenological analysis of eros as the satisfaction of desire, both in a sexual sense and as an appreciation of nourishment. The subject of my novel is eroticism that verges on the abstraction of Surrealist painting, so that the linearity of the narrative becomes vertical with the art image becoming more important than the action. This verticality is a way of transcending the mundane details of plot development in favor of a foreshortening of the linear dramatic action in an expanded narrative structure where the event = one year, and the time of writing expands to sixteen years, so that e/w = 0.0625. The horizontal structure of the novel has shown an expansiveness that balances the white space of the page with the density of the poetic prose which is presented to the reader as the black ink of the paragraph in a large horizontal book format. Temporality in the novel is intuited as an equation that time is passing in the presentation of a linear sequence of scenes with a timeframe that can be focused on a single event, or expand into a monumental structure like Bottoms Dream by Arno Schmidt which describes the conversations of a single day. 

The imagery of eros becomes an sequence of painterly abstractions that parallel the work of Arshile Gorky, Joan Miro, and Salvador Dali, with novelistic writing that suggests an implicit eroticism that is careful to respect the confidentiality of the nightlife characters. The presentation of typography as a work of art enhances the visuality of the page which resembles painterly abstraction with blocks of type perceived as a new artform for the paragraph appearing in vertical columns with alternating blocks of type which add dimensionality to the page. With the use of wood block type fonts the innovative novel has become a semiotic art space featuring signs that convey visual significance, so that the horizontal space of the page creates an asymmetrical equilibrium which further enhances the pleasure of the text with heightened moods of typographic expression.

I walk out into the front yard

   and look upwards to the blueness of sky

        where a mirage of white satiny clouds

              are resolving into an image     

                     a tall mystical figure is seated

                         before what looks like a keyboard    

                              he gradually drifts away

                                     in slow kinetic cloud motion   

                                  wearing an old fashioned gray jacket

                               similar to Stockhausen

                           he transforms into a standing image    

                       from a distance a mystical woman

                    holding a white flower

                looks on at the keyboard player     

             while I perceive the musical scene

        elevated above the houses of the fall landscape     

     which slowly evolves into white wisps

 of drifting cloud

       in a horizontal progression

              of fine brush strokes   

Big Sur Fiction: McWay Falls Abstraction

Meditative perspectives from the trail above McWay Falls / I look to the narrow waterfall flowing from the top of the elevated rockface ancientshower dreamstreaming onto the beige textured sand of the quintessential beach in the photogenic mindspace of the secluded cove. I think of A Confederate General from Big Sur which develops themes taken from the intertextuality of the subjective reading experience into a simultaneous synthesis of literary themes similar to the Nouveau Roman technique of generative grammar. An entire novel can be generated from the ideas of the collective unconscious which will use images from other texts to create a meta/text which is a text-of-all-texts that is composed of multifaceted reflections from other novelists. I prefer transformational grammar for my novel writing, which I consider a fictionalization of Surrealist descriptions that are based on art techniques and metaphor. Brautigan, Kerouac, Miller, and myself exemplify the trend of Big Sur fiction which portrays an intense effort to survive on a mountainous coastline which sets the mood for the romantic adventure of hiking on an elevated rock strewn nature trail, chopping wood for a fire, and sipping wine on a redwood deck overlooking the Pacific. While appreciating the esthetic beauty of nature the novelist may experience subjective moods of creativity, isolation, distance from the city, desperation, oneness with nature, and metaphysical insights.

The paintings of modern art have influenced my way of looking at reality, so that my novel Big Sur Marvels & Wondrous Delights is written as an artist's book with a collage of chapters that have a natural continuity which evolved from a short story I wrote called Meditations at Big Sur. The novel includes chapters written in poetic prose that advance the plot line which has a time frame extending back to my early writings in college. The view from the beach is exhilarating with dramatic surftumultuous meditative moods with the waters extending northwards where you can see 20 miles up the coast.

to the left of the waterfall

     a large structure like a hand or telephone

          with some branches at the center

           below two legs of a woman

              extend outwards to the sand

                 a large dinosaur mouth to the left

                    a giant man at the top of the phone

                        like a jazz musician with a cool looking hat

                             while McWay falls flows in a narrow stream

                                  from his saxophone or pipelike form

                                     where a split in the pipe signifies

                                       the legalization of marijuana

                                         a black primitive head emerges

                                          with white eyes and teeth

                                      a tall figure with a tall hat

                                wearing a jacket with white sheep skin

                             above a covered wagon is emerging

                         which looks like a pink eraser

                     from an artist's pencil box

                 while a white horse is grazing

            to the left of the giant musician

         with black hat and white mustache

     are some vertical towerlike forms

  horns with a candle flame above

a white dragon head to the left

 with an ancient man wearing white

   seated on the rocks above  

       his complexion is a rich pastel brown

          a man with a lean figure

            crawls up the ledge

             he resembles the flow of the waterfall
                as an abstract instrument form

                  the giant man resembles Charles Lloyd

                     whose album Big Sur Tapestries

                         celebrates the elation of the coast

                             an abstract bubble form clarifies

                                   above an ancient hunting horn

                                       in a vertical presentation to the side

                                     I notice a giant head at an angle

                                  next to the silvery stream of the waterfall

                             in front of the head an ancient animal

                         and to the right an ancient truck

                     drives up to the edge of the rock

                 beneath the truck a woman wearing

             black leotards leaning back

          with long flowing blonde hair

        which forms a cloudlike circle

     the sunlight refracts into green and red

prismatic lightwaves in multiple beams

from the camera perspective of the beach

  I notice a giant rock to the left of the waterfall

     with the seated figure of a woman in white

          with a dignified man standing to the left

            in a presentation of ancient dinosaur age culture

               a giant rock resembles the hull of a ship

                 with the trace of an Arshile Gorky smile

                     etched into the angular grayish brown rock

                         while to the right some dark shadowed rocks 

                            extend westwards into the ocean

                              with trails running upward

                                   to an elevated promontory

                                      pine trees are critipositioned

                                       on top of the terraced rock

                                where a natural gathering of tree figures

                          like the Three Graces by Pablo Picasso

                    resembles a group of young women

                wearing leopard skin and chalk blue lingerie    

         conversing near the railing

I hike back up the trail from McWay Falls to my van of gold, while I think of Jack Kerouac's use of poetic language in Big Sur which I perceive as a casual notebook narrative based on spontaneous social interaction with the poets of the west coast. This novel is an expression of the City Lights trend of 60s interrelationships which foreshadow the early decades of the 21st Century with wine drinking, and now the legalization of marijuana in California. In Big Sur the narrator has written careful descriptions of his visit to Monsanto's cabin near the Bixby Bridge which sets the mood for a novel about an isolated man, inspired by metaphysical literature, hiking on the nature trails near the Pacific ocean. 

I enter the traffic flow of Highway 1 winding up the coast through some rock canyon curves with Emerson, Lake, and Palmer setting the mood for intellectual adventure, as I drive past the rocky driveway leading up to Partington Ridge where Henry Miller once lived, whose Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch tells the story of the Big Sur art community in the early years of the 50s. This book is a potpourri of peaceful meditative insight which portrays the coast coming out of the quiet years of the beat generation which gradually develops into an American cultural scene with the fine art of cuisine, romantic lodging, and the American sublime of the literary west coast. 

David Detrich lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where he has just completed The Convergence of Two Narrative Lines Ascending, an ultramodern Surrealist novel written in minimal squares. He is working on Dream the Presence of the Circular Breast Starfish Topography, a monumental Surrealist novel written with innovative typographical design. His first novel Big Sur Marvels & Wondrous Delights (2001) is available from Amazon. He edits Innovative Fiction Magazine, and Surrealist Star Clustered Illuminations.

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