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Author’s Temporary End Page (Pt 1)

February 8, 2017

As the narrator foresaw, this is the last page of Blog/A Novel, Or, An Essai of the Psychopathologies of American Democracy, . . etc —or at least, I’m ending the initial electric experiment in nonfiction political novel writing and publishing, shocking as it turned out to be, in order to begin a re-vision of the ms. The end is in re-turning to the beginning.

The experiment (in case no one noticed) consisted mainly of (1) allowing anyone who offered to become a character and/or advance the plot line to do so, and (2) self-publishing each page as it was drafted (but allowing for revision after publication, mostly in the form of updates).

In addition, a decent respect for objectivity, subjectivity, and the opinions of the reader soon set the narration adrift on our continent of invention, much like the tricky voicing of the Decl of Indep / Const. As Franklin might have said, when asked whether the constitutional convention had delivered a republic or a monarchy: “A republic, if you can find its voice.”  We’re still searching.

In any good text, any good life, the overdetermined keeps getting surpassed by the undetermined, to be revised by the determined. Onward! If only temporarily. “Don’t look now, Ma, I’m only dyin’!” There’s no fixing it, the soul.

I take it that Thoreau left Walden because he had other things to do, including writing Walden (which, if I remember correctly, is one of our early nonfiction novels). He had to walk away in order to stay engaged. He said, what next? Or as Foerster put it, in his Art of the Novel, “and then?”

In 2012 this writing project was an intermittent political blog (after a site of commentary related to the Occupy movement); but about a year and a half ago there came a moment when I realized that the commentary had become a narrative, a dream of life, a dream of an archetypal reflection on the soul and its psychopathologies as they have been imagined, and are being imagined, within our act of democracy. I heard a voice. It was the narrator, Old Man Who Thinks Out Loud.

I’ve learned from my narrator, (many thanks for his yeoman service) that if one makes it one’s practice, the art of the novel is like the practice of any art, or science, or life. One just never knows what one is going to find there. One hopes. One intends. One offers up oneself, steadily, doggedly. Et voila! Et again, voila! Voila!

Many months ago I thought that I would close this experiment within a few days after the election. But when Hair Trump emerged as the winner, truthful imagination, however weak, seemed to insist on allowing the plot line to continue through the inauguration. The narrator was willing, so we kept going.

But I fear that both he and I have fallen into Hair Trickster’s trap. We tried to keep up with the quotidienne. We tried to pour verbal antidote on each day’s torrent of poison. That effort must be made, but it must be made (and is being made) by millions of writers, and must be expressed with bodies as well as words. Meanwhile, the narrative act came in danger of losing its depth of reflection, its holding up a soulful mirror to nature.

Healthy aesthetic responsibility to that novelistic intention requires putting an ending to the middle, even though the worst seems yet to come: “Fortress America First,” and then, quite possibly, “The Cleansing.” That’s how sick Hair Trump’s imagination is, and he is assembling a capable team of the power hungry, who are driven by the same Idea of national superiority and racial purity, plus Republican billionaires and politicians who care only about themselves. There is little room for honesty and humility in their fortress, and none for compassion. Our aristocracy is ruled by lust. Their story is fiction and is titled Mein Selbst.

In Pt 2 of this page I’ll share some thoughts that I believe have emerged with good truth claims, in the course of the first draft, and that will be working assumptions during the revision. In Pt 3 I’ll present my plans for the revision.

[List of pages of the novel.  ATEP Pts (2) and (3) coming soon.]

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