Monday, March 30, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Decontextualization: A Novel

The main theme of my new novel is decontextualization, the theory that readers don’t need any context of the author, history or culture of a work of art to understand a good book. I’m not going to tell you the title because giving you the thought that there is a title is context, and God knows how much accidental suggestive context the title (if there is one) might give you. The book isn’t restrained by the normal conventions like “characters,” or having them “have relationships,” or following “a plot” and “doing things” – unless that’s what you read into it, because that’s all there is. In fact, I don’t want to give the suggestion that the book is a book at all. That is why all first-edition copies have been released as stainless steel spheres with no apparent mechanism to open them. After all, the traditional notion of opening a book from the right side is culturally biased. Similarly, I will not give the normal context of “pages,” having replaced them with aluminum ribbons upon which various words have been printed. There aren’t sentences, per se, but something more free form such that you can make of them what you will (and only at the request of my publisher have I elected to indent them). The language of these sentences is foreign to anything with which humans have come into contact, for if there is any overbearing context in literature it is a language readers have encountered before. You won’t need to know my politics, American history or the English language to get everything there is in this book. All you’ll need is an open mind and a pair of pliers.

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