Sunday, March 21, 2010

More mash ups

Mashing up someone else's words is similar to the editing process you might go through on a piece of writing of your own. You take the parts you like, and you experiment with moving them around in different places. In my case, this fact was made all the more clear when I heard a mash-up my friend Jay did of three of my poems. I thought the result was much closer to the mark in terms of my own poem, and gave me some ideas of revisions I could do. You can see the mash-up Jay made here. I'm going to post the revision I made later, but first I'd like to point out that it is this type of shared creative process that I thrive on, and I think having other people around to help and inspire you is about as good as it gets. Anyhow, here's the draft that Jay used for his mash-up. It's a riddle, and I'm pretty sure I did a lousy job, because in this draft I don't really think there are enough clues to guess what I'm getting at. Can you guess? Here it is:

I am the worm.
My life occurs in cycles, from birth
as egg to blind hermaphrodite to death,
I'd eat my own tail if knew which end
of me was my head.

I am the star of a recent
film, Discover Earth, in which
I am shown chewing through
an apple. A worm
shaped halo of rot
trails after me, a seam, a worm
shaped tracer of a worm
reveals where I've been.

If you want to know
where I am going, it's easy.
Cut the film, place the frames back
to back, a stack laid on
its side, a tube, a worm shaped apple
I'm crawling through.

The film becomes the apple,
the apple becomes the worm.
Dissect it, within one cut
you can see what my annelid eyes cannot,
the fixed picture, stuck in a slice of film,
the poor solitary segment thinks he's me.

Which is almost true. I feel what he feels,
but I'm all allegory and he is almost real.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mash up

I will preface this by saying that the choice to use these words was not entirely mine. Every word in the following poem is taken from one of three poems by a friend of mine. I didn't use every word from her three poems, but I did pick ones I like and organize them in my own way. This raises some interesting questions about originality, although none of these questions is new. How original do the following words sound to you?

Photo Factory: Mules Wanted

This friday, everyone you know
will feel comfortable. Worst part:
They almost believe it's possible.

The mime has an imaginary life,
robs airports at night. His heart holds
winter one month, another one moon,
he still hasn't kept his saddles smooth.

Lizard skin begins to steam.

A terrible black creature trumpets
bible seeds all over your bearskin,
lights a cigarette. Protect your headdress
please. Death comes to a rabbit.

Slipping in underground scorpion pools
kills the most baby. Break down your
molecules to a great big silken loose
lazy firetruck, or everything is darkness,

I'm feeling butter this afternoon, mamma bear.

The voice of the Sea wounds you
because prowling dreams come with it.
Nervous laughter at the bedside, like
breath stolen from a wood spirit.

Oh supernatural snake eater, serve me.

Part of the mind is faithful,
but the blood keeps lingering ghosts.
All's up with that, sure,
I'm down if not for don't.

A double brain, descended from seeds
can learn Iriqoui and Cantonese,
remind you to gut the whalemeat.

This is the most confusing scene in the act:
Two brothers disrobe.
We find out that one of them
is in fact Robert de Niro.

Turnip, turnip, turnip, turnip,
turnip, turnip, turnip.

Screen your pie before going to Brazil.
Daughter knows teepee life is difficult,
but it's harder in the garden, like
a hummingbird in heat.
Turkish souls don't sleep.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Curse of Duncan Carbunkle Production Stills

Always wear a mask for safety

Don't get sloppy, Alan

Director Seth Wessel-Estes lays down some science

An awesome crew

Act one of the movie has essentially been shot. Here's a photo of me on set. As an AC/PA it is my duty to cater to the demands of our DP's, which sometimes involves getting dirt out of their carpet.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A review of "Reality Hunger" by David Shields

“Reality Hunger: A Manifesto” comes out next month.

In telling the origin story of this book, David Shields begins by describing the household of his childhood, where journalism is the ruling religion.

David Shields began his career in writing with three works of fiction. Reality Hunger is anything but. Is it essay? Is it prose poetry? Is it a collage or confession?


Is there a narrative?

Yes. The narrative in Reality Hunger is the story of literature through the ages and up to the modern day, with it's modern dilemmas. It is also the story of the author's own struggle with writing and language throughout his life.

Some quotations from the book and David Shields himself:
“All art is theft.”, “Art is not truth. It is a lie that enables us to recognize the truth.”, “There is no way that a non-fiction work is 'true'.”

Reality Hunger is constructed from a series of numbered paragraphs organized according to theme and random flashes of inspiration. Shields did not write many, if not most of these paragraphs. As the scissors and paste man, however, he can take credit for the subtext inserted between each passage.

In Reality Hunger, you will find citations for all quoted passages in very tiny type. This is in the interest of legality, and against the author's will.

More quotes from the author: “I want the reader to experience that uncertainty.”, “The reader not being able to tell who is saying what.”, “Don't read the footnotes or I'll come after you.”

If Reality Hunger can be said to come from anywhere, it would not be from a desire to lay the facts out flat. The facts presented in this book may conflict with one another or magnify each other until a rich texture of thought pushes out and away from anything you've read before.

There is an urgency to Reality Hunger that can't be ignored. If you can imagine reading “Les Miserables” or “Moby Dick” with all the plot cut out and cast aside, perhaps you can imagine reading this book.

“Fiction is meaningless.”, “Novels are often so languorious as to be catatonic.”, “You're wasting my time.”

What do you get when you cut plot from a novel? You get a series of ideas, and a ton of questions. In the case of Reality Hunger, these questions come with high stakes. What is reality? Why do artists try so hard to preserve reality or truth in their works? How can they even begin without knowing what truth is?

Reality Hunger is the screen. David Shields is the magic lantern. In this theater, are you the rapt audience member in the front row, or the old man asleep in the back? Or somewhere in between?

Legend has it that Werner Heisenberg was once pulled over by a cop. “Do you know how fast you were going?” asked the cop. “No,” said Heisenberg, “but I know where I was.”

One interpretation of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is that by his very presence, the observer alters what is observed. This interpretation has little to do with quantum physics, but it's an interesting idea.

I can't tell you what you will experience when reading Reality Hunger. I am trying to tell you what I experienced.

“I was bored to death writing fiction.”, “I found my life raft.”, “If you want to get on my bus, here we go.”

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Each Eternal I Turned In" a response to Robert

Here's the piece I'm responding to.

Here's my response.

Each Eternal I Turned In

Overheard on the bus:
"The complex structure of life
does not exist to override entropy."
I'm not sure what that meant, although
I asked the person sitting next to me
who shrugged, saying: "I'm a smart
architect. I know it's not this
simple, and yet I see my lust
for structure echoed everywhere.
What does that suggest?"

Effortless, we fall from text
to subtext, flaking away layer
by layer, a stack
of printed papers, a plate
of frosted glass, shattered.
Even as the axe severs synapse
from synapse, a phantom hand
rests behind the neck.