Arrows & Cut-ups

After writing and editing yesterday, I came across an article about the book, “The Naked Lunch”. It’d been decades since I read it, so I researched it to refresh my recollections. And I was curious about how the Beat Generation came to have that name, so I looked it up.

Before that, I’d been thinking about how my “Incomplete States” trilogy reminds me of “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant,” mostly on a reflection of the complexity and patience required to read through and develop the plot. Then, reading about Burroughs, I found descriptions of the “cut-up technique,” and that struck home with my trilogy’s structure. I don’t use a full cut-up technique of slicing two separate pages and combining them down the middle, but the vignettes – “routines,” as Burroughs called them when discussing “The Naked Lunch” – works as a beginning to explain my trilogy’s structure. My trilogy is a cut-up of lives and routines.

And of course, there’s a little bit of “The Chronicles of Amber” in here, too, and some “Foundation.”

After that thinking, as I wound down for the day, I played with my arrows of time again, creating and labeling new diagrams based on the original diagrams. That was a reassuring exercise, reminding me about time’s fluid nature, and the basic assumptions I used as the trilogy’s concept. The reassurance was needed because I’d veered toward panic about some decisions made when finishing the first novel. I want to be true to my vision, and not mislead readers, and I was afraid that I’d gone astray.

In the end, I felt satisfied that I hadn’t. Maybe I was just rationalizing that to myself. More likely, the stab of anxiety is a natural reflection of the challenge of coping with the trilogy’s complexity.

Onward. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.


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