Friday, April 24, 2020

The novel

This is not a political blog. Neither a philosophical one. It is an experiment in (semi) fiction.
Because tonight am feeling enclosed in the warmth of an invisible air chrysalis woven by smiling pixies inhaling pot (not be little people as in 1Q84). So back to the experiment. First things which come to mind sort of stuff. Stream of consciousness? That may be a dangerous slippery territory to visit.
But recently i had been thinking of writing a novel or a short story. That will make an ideal starting point for this exercise.
Who shall live in the story? What shall i call them? How far will they resemble the characters of this novel (the one in which we are living right now), which is behaving more like fiction than reality. For we do live in an extra ordinary time.
Actually this may be the short story i should be writing or is it writing me? Good question. But for a start i have to detach and become an author.
Is life already writing the author's novel? Well some of the ingredients are there; I mean a pandemic makes a good plot, one in which the characters have to react to it in the most unlikely ways. But a lock-down? It makes the whole thing confined and enclosed. No open horizons. But not as comforting as the chrysalis, somewhat colder. But we could get some pixies or witches in the story who can open horizons and travel across time and space.
And should he even feature in this novel? Any way he is a sort of average quasi middle aged journalist with a past militancy in left wing groups-of which he remains nostalgic, living a not so remarkable life, reading one or two novels a month, takes three family holidays a year, drinks heavily with friends once a week and spends quite a lot of time watching netflix and listening to spotify. He first saw the pandemic as a disruption. Now he views it as an opportunity for some internal voyage of self discovery and to drink more wine. He is enjoying the suspension of time and for some reason seems happier than usual (not that he was sad). He sometimes fears the return to normality but is yearning for an after covid party. He may actually make an interesting character.
But he should be busy doing other things like actually writing this novel. In fact he should not be in the story at all. He can't be in it and outside of it at the same time.
So let us leave him out of this for now. He may well burden the whole thing by his over bearing presence and he may get too absorbed in some of the characters. That may complicate the plot. So what will be the novel about? Should it be political? Perhaps. Power does not hibernate during a pandemic. And there are always people busy thriving on fears. But there cannot be a revolution during a pandemic. Even protests are restricted to the internet.
Should it be about love? Neither it is the ideal time for falling in love. This would also complicate life for the author, especially in a total lock-down where characters are home bound (he may delve on the impact of social media but that risks turning in to a sociological inquiry). Neither can the lockdown be partial in the novel. Otherwise if every one starts going out for walks and parties, the novel would lose punch.
Should it be about sex? Well according to some reports many are having more sex now than ever but in the novel that will depend on the characters, and he still has to create them. And where is he to pick them up from? Probably he could invent and mix. Mixing people like colors or the images in dream. It often happens in dreams that one face turns in to another. That can be freaky but the association between faces can be very revealing. He has experienced this a couple of times lately. But nothing beats the life of real people. For the novel is happening in the world around us. All it needs is a twist of magical realism; extraordinary things in ordinary lives. Or is that already happening?

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