Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Fountain: a Novel

A fountain on the third floor of an art institute grants the drinker the ability to create ONE masterpiece. Then shortly after you die. Shehanigans and philisopy ensue.

It's a satire.

And a mediation on human rights, the creative process, the artistic life, survival, loyalty, the state of media, etc. We follow The Critic, The Hack, The Artist. They all have names, but you don't get them just yet.

And yes, Dear Reader, it has generous dollops of sex and violence and hopefully the energy of Trainspotting the movie.

I'm about 2/3 -3/4 of the way through a first draft. This is my MFA thesis project at Queens University of Charlotte where I'm currently workshopping it under the mentorship of wildman Pickney Benedict.

This is my first novel (first one in about ten years). I'd sworn off them finding some success with stage writing and then screenwriting, but of course had a lighting flash of an idea while prowling about at the MCA silently cursing the hip art students all in black. I wrote a bunch of scenes and chapters without rhyme or reason, but usually in response to something I heard or read or saw while on other projects and then one day last winter decided to get serious about it finishing it. I started with that scatter shot collection of material and have been revising and writing like a madman ever since. So far so good. It's been a nice process of fear, confidence, cracking myself up and the constant whirly brain. Did I mention fear? Just a touch.

The workshop process has been enlightening. You really do get a sense of what works with another reader's particular sensibility. Some folks want more detail, more handholding. Some are fine with the minimalist writing. This awareness is a def asset. But I also realize that on a project like this-- it seems-- that a brief introduction is neccesarry to steel the reader. Noone really picks up a book at the bookstore without reading thee book jacket so they can get a hint of the story/genre, etc.

Nowadays it's rare (my mom excluded) for anyone to read a book or see a movie without knowing what they're going to get. The last movie I walked into cold was SHINE. I had no idea what it was about other than the lead actor was supposed to be amazing. It was a little disorienting, but rewarding as the brain tried to figure out what kind of movie it's going to be, what role the charcters will play, etc. Then you settle into it. This is why when writers do public readings they do a brief set-up with the audience to give it come context. The purist in me thinks it's not neccesarry, that the writing should carry its own weight.

And there's the rub.

But as I wrote earlier above, you know the context now for The Fountain, and I just might have post the prologue here in a bit...


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