Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Eric Wright, Author of Don Quixote



In the course of my mammoth drinking, I give myself the excuse that alcohol is an aid to the creative writer.
That, or it will at least excuse the drinking.
What is below may either show a god or a trickster in the bottle.
Phombus P., Believing himself to be as great a writer as Jorge Luis Borges, took up a theme of that great and noble Spic, and began for himself to rewrite " Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote".

In Borges' story, this Menard guy tries, on his own hook, to be like so many monkeys on so many keyboards, and, after a million tries, gets to reproduce Cervantes masterpiece, insisting on the completion of this kaleidoscopic task, that the work was all Menard's, even though it was really Cervantes, word for word.

I forget how Msr. Menard explained this elaborate trick in Borges gem of a story, but I think it had something to do with process,
Perhaps parallel worlds. Words?

So now this writer, old Phombus, though not above the foolishness of Monsieur Menard, will now undertake the methods of short story writer Borges himself.
Borges never writes a full novel. He writes a short story about the long novel that is supposed to be in actual existence,either in his own head or in actual fact.

So here goes old Phombus saving himself a lot of time by pretending the novel he is talking about below has already been written. Or, so he thinks, he will never really have to wite his ownnovel, as somboy has no doubt already written him.

The novel will contain a main character, one Eric Wright, wandering thoughout the pulque bars of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, while working out his midlife crisis in a number of Senoritas' beds.
He had awoken, at the age of 40, to the fact that all of his life up to that point had been prologue, that life on this side had been mere illusion and mathematics, that in the face of Philosphy, that is to say, a dialogue with death, it now seemed that he who had enjoyed life and sampled many of its pleasures, would die. And probably soon.
What difference the mistakes of his past, the relationships, heartbreaks, job problems?
Eric was one of those rare people who knew for sure he was going to die. Certainly soon.
Where was morality now? Where was the harm he had done to his wife and children? Poof. The past. Illusion.
Nothing is as illuminating as the knowledge of your own death.
Or, at that time of night, when the furies came for him, he was already missing all the drinking, the women, the song, Malagena Sale Rosa, the words of which he had promised to learn and bring back to his wife so she could play it on her own guitar. Would have been so nice.

But he was dead now, and somebody would have to write his story.
...Or the story already existed.
The cry before Wright's death came. Out of failing lips.
Pierre Menard! You knew this mystery all along!
And you went on to live.
And I die now, not even scratching the
surface!

Give me back my life, the mistakes, the hearbreaks, the foolishness.
Let me come back, even as a clown.

The Demiourgos, laughing in His beard, lazily pressed the re-set button.

##

45 comments:

Josie said...

"Give me back my life, the mistakes, the heartbreaks, the foolishness. Let me come back, even as a clown."

Youth is wasted on the young?

It goes by really quickly, doesn't it? And it's not until we reach 40 that we realize how much time we have wasted.

ivan@creaivewriting.ca said...

Hi Josie!

Anonymous said...

through a translucent glaze,I see the Pale Rider,churning the sands of a thousand memories... on his shoulders he carries and preserves the burden of many follies...but life still warms the road ahead with its smile...nothing is lost so much as set aside...

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Tara?

the walking man said...

Why would anyone want to do this over?

benjibopper said...

i'm with TWM, once is just right. but sometimes i do want to slow it down a touch, gimme a slowmo button over a rewind button anyday.

i've been enjoying a bit of short story writing lately. it's a lot more fun than novel writing, more like playing guitar than giving birth.

but for good reading, i'll take the novel anyday. finally i got to reading ellison's invisible man, about 2/3 through, and man it's good! 580 pages of nightmarish perfection, one drawn out smackdown after another. that's an experience!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mark,

Jorge Luis Borges, in his old stories, which usually involve labyrinths, seems to state that the gods are dreaming us, while we ourselves dream manifestations of ouselves, who dream manifestation of themselves, all the way down the line.
Blogger Eric 1313 has touched on this concept, somewhat independently in a recent posting.

Sort of like a person holding photograph, on which is the image of that same person holding a photograph, on which is the image of that person holding a photograph, ad infinitum.
There is a term in literature called "negative capability", where we suspend our judgment (even out common sense?) to go along with a story or poem.
So, I suppose, it's small wonder that Borges, way back in the Forties, titled his stories, Ficciones, that is to say, fictions.
We are, I suppose dealing with fiction.
But Borges is such a good fabulist that he dazzles us with fictional possibilities, though, of course, it's all open-ended.
Like some man trying to write exactly like Cervantes in his
Don Quixote
.
There is, finally, an end to this madness in Pierre Menard producing, independently, a proof copy of Don Quixote , out of his own devices, but then, as you youself has asked "What would be the point?"
Ah. Ficciones

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Benji,

I agree.
"...for good reading, i'll take the novel anyday."
But the best short stories come pretty close to poetry, where we apply that "negative capability", or suspension of judgment for the dazzle of it all.
There is nothing like a good, crisp short story on the printed page. Uh, The medium is the message?
Some would say Homer's Odyssy or Iliad are the world's first novels. But they started out in oral tradion, as epic poetry.
Again, who is dreaming whom?

R.J. Baker said...

Ah,Ivan, still tipping at windmills...knight errant, shaken not stirred.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hi Rob.

Heh heh.

Charles Gramlich said...

All I know is that I had hoped to accomplish more.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Charles,
Sometimes it seems that the Picassos of literature have a way of holding us applied artists down.
...What we might just be formulating, the Madrechingados have already executed.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

yes ivan?

Ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Heh.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

smirking at me?

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

or glad to see me?

ivan@creativewritig.ca said...

Love you madly.

Especially when you throw in a sharp comment.

benjibopper said...

yeah, i think the actual world's first novel was by a japanese woman, something about a garden. i'd like to read it.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

:::Smiles::: Even in distance ... souls melt. I am no exception. Butterflies everywhere.


T

Monique said...

Ivan, before I even start to think about such a massive commitment, I need more details about who he/she is, what the book is about (romantic novel, historical, biographical etc) how to go about it and how to contact people. You understand that, don't you? Can't promise anything at this stage.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Monique,

re the proposed project:

It's sort of James Bondish, though I find the hero a bit of a dweeb.
What my novelist is probaly looking for is colour and clarity, both in the novel and in the character. But the manuscript can't be all that dull.A couple of New York houses (Random House) have indicated interest.
I will be receiving the first 68 pages of this work soon.

Will keep you posted.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

If you had them all back... the life, mistakes, the heartaches, and the foolishness what would you change, what would you have that you do not have now?

Could it be that we are meant to have what we do so we know what we could have had if only we tried harder?

T

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Oof!

That hit kind of close.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

My apologies.

Ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Om.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

om? Talk to me.


Soft love,
T

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Best idea, I think, is to go over to Josie's blog today.
Uh, how others see us, how we ourselves see us.

Lana Gramlich said...

Ironic...Don Quixote has been coming up here & there in my life lately...Hmmmmm.

Anonymous said...

we are,all,like actors,out on loan...even our circumstance,past and present,shrouded with losses and victories,is as a mist,swirling about our souls,changing,drawing us along life's road...seek the warmth of today's sun,and not the cold despair of days gone by...

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Anonymous:

Sounds like Jeff, and very apposite it is!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Lana,

Not sure what you mean. A trait or an archetype?

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

okay.. see you later then.

T

the walking man said...

If anything anyone can ever write is simply a repeat of something already written, then written over in a different way or even the same way...the there is no point, we should put our little pencils away, use our yellow pads as toilet paper because the shitter is already plugged and we're just plugging it more, get our heads out of above mentioned toilet and use our welfare checks to drink double malt scotch, no ice for me thank you.

Peace

mark

PS: Tara you have never disappointed me,just quit communicating.

Strong Peace

mark

Monique said...

Ivan is your facebook back in order?

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mark.

Well, I suppose we could just tell out jokes by number. A certain number, say woud invoke a travelling salesman. Dirty ones would have an x befor the number, and so on. Blame it on computers, I suppose.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Monique,

No, my facebook is in bits and pieces. I have alerted the facebook team.
I am in bits and pieces.

ivanQcreativewriting.ca said...

p.s. to Mark's addendum on his comment.

Mark, you cad! :)

Donnetta Lee said...

Give me back my life! Have I not said it myself? Well, I'm getting mine back and happy. At least parts of it. Blush of youth is gone and not coming back. Oh, well.
Donnetta

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Donnetta,

Yes. The swan flies.

I myself take the advice of the late short story writer V.S. Pritchett,who was a producing writer up to about age 90.

Said Pritchett: "Never give up. Never give in."

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

I want to scream. I am only one woman dammit!

I needed that!


soft love,
T

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

de Frenchman, over his drink has told me that Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

And your frenchmen would be right. For whenever I am away the first place I come back to is you.


T

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Nice.

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