More On Writing StupidMore tricks for writing arty literature without having to be fully conscious at the time:
Skipping the elementary technique of travesty, which I have discussed more often than I should have elsewhere, we come to the intermediate technique which I call "Travesty Plus": This is just that more advanced form of travesty, in which the created piece goes on much, & perhaps too much, longer than the original piece being travestized, thanks to the use of "Travesty Helper", aka fill.
I would like to expose to all of you a favorite variant of mine of Travesty Plus, namely the Travesty Plus Literary Incest (TM) method, in which the particular kind of Travesty Helper you use is, of course, the kind of fill popularly known as Literary Incest.
The result is quite a bit harder to describe than most, so I will instead simply illustrate it with an outline of the events of three or four chapters from a novel I'm currently working on. The novel is to be very _loosely_ based on "The Polymorph", which is the 3rd episode of the 3rd season of the British SciFi/Comedy series Red Dwarf ("always write about what you know!"), but it's _actually_ about the comic misadventures of a zany young American (so I won't have to do the British accent!) living in the same building with some other oddball losers in Zuerich Switzerland near Tiefenbruennen. Some of the titles I've toyed with, (I won't tell you how) are: "The Scarlet Kleinerman", "Lost in Switzerland", "The Sqeaking Wheel Gets the Grease, But the Sqeaking Man Gets the French Fries, With Malaysian Sauce and an Egg, Sunnyside Up", and "Amerikaner! Halt! Nehmen Sie meine Frau! -- Bitte!!"
At one point early on in the novel, my protagonist, a certain Leopold Blister, has recently left the Odeon at Bellevue Platz on foot, and has purchased a package of Kamel Box from his favorite saucy, juicy, saucy saftig, blaue-eyed Fraulein at the Kiosk, and... THUS.. while reflecting upon the Odeon, its lousy lighting, former dead Odeon regulars Joyce & Mann, and reflecting that, _hell_, the Bellevue Cafe around the corner is way better lit and has _far_ juicier Frauleins to be seen in the light (was it just not _there_ then?!)... & while reflecting on the Limmatquai, Lenin, the swans, the public Baden, the juicy Frauen with their enormous juicy breasts beating cloths on the terrace by the Baden, that is to say as the Frauen beat, their breasts beat, not necessarily cloths, but what else may beat?... while reflecting on Baden in general, Strassen in general, Saentistrasse und Froehlichstrasse, Badenstrasse, Strassen und Gassen, Wegen und Schmegen, Fahren und Schwartzfahren, but, you know -- the tram costs 1.40 SF!! -- TOO MUCH, mutter mutter, damn damn, wait! he thought, have I thought yet of the swans in connection with Lenin's teacup, no. no? yes. yes? (Leopold then would have pursed his lips as he always would do when he was reflecting, as intelligent sensitive intellectuals will often do when reflecting but why HIM? -- no one knows)... A peak at Lenin's teacup costs 20.40 SF, ja DOCH, ganz too MUCH, THAT will never happen -- the SWANS are free, but who gives a rats-ASS... so Leopold decides to stroll down the Badenstrasse to the Bellerivestrasse toward Tiefenbruennen, to be precise toward the Tiefenbruennen Topless Beach at the end of Baden/Bellerivestrasse, with the plan to peak in through the fence for just a few minutes, well... or, OK, for however long it takes, however long, however... on his way home to his flat at Saentistrasse und Froehlichstrasse, where the latest copy of "Big'n Juicy and Wait'n for YOU" would be waiting for HIM right where he had left it that morning, in his bed...
Doing so, Mr. Blister reflected a good deal more, because it's two miles down along the banks of the Zueri See to the beach. That should be an intervening two chapters, much of it concerning the fact that Cheech & Chong's "Up In Smoke" was at that time showing constantly at a theater on Seefeldstrasse. To detour or not to detour, that is the question he was led to think, but the answer ultimately begins: what will BE the answer, thinks Leopold, to the ultimate question of Cheech & Chong, and all and all, namely "Wieviel?" The ultimate answer to that would certainly be: too much.
YES, it's true the answer would ultimately begin with an ultimate question and end with an ultimate answer other than the answer whose ultimate beginning it ended.
But this not a serious technical problem in the writing. My readers will have to work that out, not me. _I_ am _challenging_ them!. To THINK!
So anyway, to continue, he doesn't detour, there's no point. Perhaps tomorrow there will be a point. Not today. So finally he is passing the Casino, almost to the fence by the beach, where he encounters on the street his geeky loser friend, Thomas Aucheinandermann, who has just come from the Polytechnic with wonderful news of an exciting seminar series on solitons, string theory & macrame that has been scheduled six months into the future and will be conducted in an odd lilting dialect of a language neither of them will ever understand by a mutual "friend" who talks like Minnie Mouse, but who is actually Welsh, and who might make a lot more sense if he would ever just once, just once, put down his damn whiskey and really think about what that really means, that HE'S Welsh, and YOU Aren't...
While the two of them discuss how much this news has suddenly transformed their meaningless dreary existences in a world not meant for them, but meant rather for Swiss Bankers, to meaningless dreary existences in a world not even meant for Swiss Bankers, but only meant for cartoon characters and their clones who have mastered the advanced mathematics of infinite dimensional basket weaving and who are so bored and boring that they are now looking for something a little more challenging along the same lines, Leopold hands a Swiss Frank to an Italian immigrant street vendor named Franco, who in turn says "Merci!" and then hands Leopold a Zueri-style Bratwurst, the Ultimate Swiss Frank, which immediately attacks him at the throat, and he beats it off and screams "WHAT the SCHMEGGin' HELL was THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!"...
The Bratwurst then transforms itself into a pair of red and white striped hot pants like, you know, those really really, uh, attractive women in the Altstadt wear, you know, at night? Blister takes an instant fancy to them so he puts them on over his trousers, thinking he'll wear them home, and...
Etc. I think I should stop there. As Anitra says -- WRITE ON!
More Small Stories
© Dr. Wes Browning's Home Page