Wednesday, April 25, 2007
a note on narrative
It occurs to me that she is writing me. I am narrating her, after all, not the other way around, but it occurs to me, as I said, that as I write her it might just be me that changes, just a bit, with every turn. Kundera said, The novel form is almost boundless freedom. Throughout its history, the novel hasn’t taken much advantage of that. It has missed out on that freedom. It has left unexplored many formal possibilities. But still this presupposes a freedom of the author (certainly not the freedom of the character) and supposes a form whereby there is fluid interchange between these norms.
I mentioned that I wrote and rewrote Redemption Shoes,
In the spring semester of my program at NYU, and kept re-writing all the way back to Austin and for many years after I had abandoned writing for philosophy. It never unfolded any further than the seven corners of Ft.Green--the blanket of snow that covered the streets below which had never before, as far as I know, been quiet--the girl with the magical shoes which she had procured on one of her many adventures through Greenwich Village, repeated herself perpetually, dreaming and being dreamed by the reclusive photographer, a century before, in Prague. The sky was always grey. She might notice, not a flock of birds, but a dim shadow of a flock of birds, just at the moment, repeated forever, that his shutter snapped in another fold of time’s cloth.
And then came the Great Misunderstanding. I wrote, maybe they changed just so slightly with each rendering? Perhaps if I had continued tirelessly to re-write them, with the passage of many, many years, they might have finally found their way to one another, resolved the minutiae of space-time mathematics through persistence, and finally resolved the cruel temporal dilemma that plagued them both.
What I have not realized (or have I?) is that all along she has been rewriting me. And what of the grandfather, of Sudek? Are we all then marching toward redemption? There is so much to redeem, so much to be redeemed. For now, it is my task to accept the wilderness that is her heart, that remarkable well of wonder and sensuality that she has shown me through her footsteps ringing out upon the air with hope and longing (can they ever be separate?) She was just a girl who one day stepped out upon stone, and then into air, flung into brightness, into light.