I’ve read the UCLA lecture. I’ve pulled up all the suggested websites. I even went into Wikipedia and asked “what is experimental fiction?” I went to Bing (hey, sometimes I just go for the pictures! They are fabulous!) The first website listed on Bing for “experimental fiction” referred me to Wikipedia. I kid you not. I’m still not sure what experimental fiction is. I no longer worry about finding out what it is. But for the sake of argument and literary discussion and UCLA grades, is it Subconscious? Semi-conscious? Altered consciousness? Unconscious-ness? Drug or alcohol induced consciousness? I have not felt this confused since the late 70’s when I was nearly-always high on something. To me, many of these stories do nothing but obfuscate reality. Okay, you say, that’s the point. But to me, it’s not story-telling.
Lead us now into Calvino – Reading A Wave – I had never considered watching or picking out one single wave (not once, not even stoned). But for the sake of experimental fiction, I did it. I closed my eyes. I put myself on the beach in lower Delaware (my most clear beach moments). I watched the surf. I picked out a wave in the distance and tried to follow it. I imagine it in my mind’s eye. It is hard to do. Just as one wave starts to form, it is crowded, pushed, shoved like in a NYC Macy’s sale day by so many others, all pushing and frothing for attention. One wave runs into the wave ahead of it and poof! it’s absorbed. It feels pressure from behind and starts to hurry, and poof! it’s absorbed. So where do all these single waves go? Wave dating sites?
From the writerschronicle.blogspot.com which was suggested in the week two lecture – “This is a kind of writing which simply makes you feel very strange,” You got that right. I’ve pulled up on-line explanations and critiques and their ilk. I feel I need to have someone explain the explanations. It’s like high school algebra all over again.
I’ve read several other bits and parts of Calvino – The World Looks at the World, On Getting Angry at the Young, and the Universe as the Mirror. Can someone please tell me who this Mr. Palomar is? Calvino’s stuff is giving me a headache. His sentences are so long I get lost as if in a carboniferous jungle 400 million years ago. I have to read his sentences over and over. Honestly? I’m beginning to wonder what this guy was smokin’ or poppin’ or droppin’. Or perhaps he was just plain nuts.
Reading part of Calvino’s history, as explained by Constance Markey, he was influenced by his father and mother and by their political and religious views. And he and his brother lived socially separate from those who should be his peers. He was a closet-writer – he did not even share his writing with his friends. To me, that says a lot about the atmosphere in which he was raised. He could not talk to his father (50 years old when he was born), he couldn’t talk to his mother, he couldn’t talk to his classmates. Let’s suppose he talked to himself. That explains a lot because I talk to myself a lot.
So you say, you don’t like experimental fiction? No, not saying that. I’m just saying, I don’t get it. Not yet! I do plan on reading more. I do plan on researching more. Hell, I ordered Calvino’s boxed set via Amazon. I’m not ready to put a cross in my yard with “Calvino Die” etched into it and put a match to it. Not yet.