Events coming up…

HI! It’s been a while, and I need to update some of the pages and doings on here, but for now I have few things I should mention:

  1. I’m in this anthology! Come on out to the launch: “It’s The PAC’N HEAT Launch Party! Come celebrate with us at See-Scape on Thursday Nov. 10th from 7 PM to 10 PM! Check out the video games! Drink some drinks! Buy some books!” https://www.facebook.com/events/514551702083634/

14729080_10153992036906220_5911947663632678825_n.jpg

 

2. I’m teaching an Uncreative Writing Workshop at Naked Heart Festival (Saturday, November 12th at 10:30am):

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https://www.facebook.com/events/978461842282481/

Info on my uncreative writing stuffs: https://jacquelinevalencia.wordpress.com/tag/conceptual/

https://jacquelinevalencia.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/on-the-state-of-poetry/

3. I’ll be presenting a paper/on a panel for the Diasporic Joyce: the 2017 James Joyce Conference in Toronto: https://diasporicjoyce.wordpress.com/

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4. I’ll be reading at words(on)stages on January 19 at The Central

http://www.wordsonpagespress.com/stages/

 

And still working on my novel manuscript. It’s been an adventure.

 

Some random thoughts after Avant-Canada 2014.

Radicals-of-Retro-futurism-1989-is-here-300x199
http://animalnewyork.com/2014/future-shock/

We use the term Conceptual Writing in the broadest sense, so that it intersects other terms such as: allegory, appropriation, piracy, flarf, identity theft, sampling, constraint and others. Conceptual Writing, in fact, might be best defined not by the strategies used but by the expectations of the readership or thinkership.” – Place, Vanessa, and Robert Fitterman. Notes on Conceptualisms. Brooklyn, NY: Ugly Duckling Presse ;, 2009. Foreword..

I should really entitle this “After Avant-Canada 2014 and finally watching Jorodowsky’s Dune.” I’m a little discombobulated after watching the film. The overall theme of it being of opening the mind, but most of all, an artist’s passion for bringing their vision to fruition. Therefore, if I am set apart like puzzle pieces at the moment, like puzzle pieces this piece will be. This is also my blog and thus I can write in whatever form I want within whatever structures I chose. I am free to say anything, even if it comes across as nothing. It is the concept that matters and the lack of delineation that defines me as whatever it is that I am in what I do. Honestly, I don’t know what I do, but more on that later.

************************

My starting point is taken from Vanessa Place and Robert Fitterman’s book, Notes on Conceptualisms. The book, blue and pocket-sized, reads like a manifesto manufactured from a conversation which metamorphosed stream of consciousness.  It’s a manifesto of nothing and everything in what is popularly termed as “avant-garde” writing.

Ideas stem from various seeds labelled archetypes, experience, DNA, nature, nurture, and all the things that make up a sentient being. The seeds are dominoes set up to fall forward, eventually gaining momentum in their falls until the last domino releases an energy spark in its culmination, setting a toy rocket free in the end. The toy rocket is the idea in its full form. The idea/toy rocket also goes through a similar sequence of events that are less theoretical and are more material based. The reason for this is that the person who has the idea must realize it in order to give justice to the idea’s formation. The seed must flower to pollinate in other minds.This last part, the materialization of the idea, is not as important as the processes by which the idea is first formed and is not as imperative as the idea itself. The idea is all.

***************

Last month, I was invited by Gregory Betts to chair the panel entitled, “The Thinkership of Conceptual Literature.” I immediately (albeit very enthusiastically) accepted. Those on the panel:

Christian Bök (Calgary)—“To Ward Off a Diabolical Poetry.”
Darren Wershler (Concordia)—“Everyday Conceptualism.”
Derek Beaulieu (Alberta College of Art and Design)—“Words to be looked at but not read / Music to be heard but not listened to.”
Helen Hajnozky (Independent Poet)—“Lyric Conceptual Writing: A Study of Contemporary Canadian Women Poets.”
Natalie Simpson (Independent Poet)—“ TAKE WHAT YOU CAN AND LEAVE THE REST: Women Writers and Conceptualism.”

I introduced them as a coterie of scientists, thinkers, poets, writers, and artists. I would say that all of the panels and attendees could be defined as such. To me, it was an important event in a critical time where many seek out definition where there might not be one to be found yet. At least, I don’t believe it’s something available to us or are we given that power to label it at this conjecture. Definition is valuable mostly for the purpose of constraint. Nevertheless, in order speak about the experimental we must give it a name.

I’ve been writing poetry since I was a kid, and conceptualism didn’t really enter the fray in my writing until I was in my thirties. However, conceptualism and the avant-garde has always been a big influence. My appropriation, remixing, and re-writing projects were influenced by the bellicose writing movements of my time. Uncreative writing and conceptual writing is nothing new. In fact, the quality that drives me to these movements isn’t their rebellious textures, but its their nature, that which is closest the “idea;” the word “idea,” the thought “idea,” “idea,” fascinates me.

The conceptual writer writes out of the formation of a concept. A conference like Avant-Canada is a world plenteous of idea manufacturers whose experiments and alternative perspectives are birthed in the universe of ideas. We’re like Dr. Frankenstein’s creating gallimaufries of monsters because we can. We live in a world of “we can.” The internet and social media has given us that freedom and we must frequently stop and ask ourselves, “What are we doing here?”

Taking the analogy of the dominoes, are we the person setting up the dominoes? Are we the dominoes? Are we the spark, or are we the rocket? Looking beyond that, are we gear or cod in that machinery, or, when it is set in motion, are we even part of it at all?

These are all thoughts and questions that come to my mind after a conference like this. As I was watching Jorodowsky elucidate his vision for Dune, his passion for the project was so palpable that it became all encompassing. For a few moments, he becomes so expressive that his eyes take over the screen and I wondered if Herbert’s Dune was even a part of that vision, or if the vision itself was bigger than the director himself (I believe it was, considering the amount of everything the director had envisioned for it). In various parts of the film, his Dune is termed as “ahead of its time.”

If you look back at the films, books, and art of the seventies and eighties, a lot of what was predicted aesthetically and artistically, never came to be. There are no polygon hats at art shows, flying cars, teleportation devices…ok, I could go on. Also, these things might exist, but they’re not in the form that we predicted them to be. This has led to a surge of retro-futuristic art (8 bit, and Killian Eng comes to mind), music (Lazerhawk, and Drive soundtrack), and in a small way film (Beyond The Black Rainbow – but also this viewed from that film’s aesthetics and soundtrack, of which similar can be seen in Under The Skin, as well.). I believe popular culture aims to recapture the aesthetics of seventies and eighties futurism because it is still trying to catch up with the overwhelming amount of quick technological growth it has put itself through. In many ways, conceptual writing is trying to catch up with the amount of growth or overwhelming output its manufactured with the ease because of technology. We find ourselves trying to argue against or in favour of conceptual writing’s existence because we can’t stop to define it. The assembly line or idea factory is just too fast. When we attempt to define it, we stagnate, the assembly line slows down. Don’t let it slow down! It’s not in our natures! Like Frankenstein’s monster there are so many components we don’t know what to do next.

“Conceptual Writing, in fact, might be best defined not by the strategies used but by the expectations of the readership or thinkership.” 

While a person appreciates art, the art piece is taken from the artist and becomes an entirely new piece in the viewer’s mind.  The reader owns the text after it is written and it becomes a new piece in the reader’s mind. By viewing, appreciating, and listening, we are stealing. Never mind that the artist has gifted us their materialization of an idea, we are stealing for a universal comprehension through interpretation. Retro futurism, a taking of old ideas and making them new for now, is a symptom of schema created for the modern thinker’s survival. We own ideas, but no idea is original. Yet, the process by which the idea is formed is unique to its owner. Beyond that, it’s interpretation and reformation.

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I met many women on this trip to St. Catharines. Within in the conceptual writing movement, within poetry, there’s a very powerful undercurrent of female poets with activist voices. I mean, by being anything female these days, we are speaking out against thousands of years of ingrained oppression. It was a heavy week of being reminded we are women writers within Can-Lit. So it was healing and rejuvenating to converse and exchange thoughts with these women.

“Radical mimesis is original sin.” – Place, Vanessa, and Robert Fitterman. Notes on Conceptualisms. Brooklyn, NY: Ugly Duckling Presse ;, 2009. 20.

I experiment with words. I remix, remodel, rewrite, and reform what already exists. My basis point has always been from a lyrical point, a creative view because this my nature. However, even when I assemble a work in an “uncreative” place in my mind, the end result reads as an innovation for myself. The only way I can classify that work as is from a poetic mind, thus the label “poet.” But even that label carries connotations with it that do not define most of my work. It’s kind of like I’ve rode with my processes and didn’t stop to think, “What am I doing?”

After watching Jorodowsky’s visions I can only assume that he didn’t care what he was doing. He tried to do it, failed to make it so, but in the end, the world of film ended up making many versions of his idea. His creation. His monster. His concept. His idea.

What did he do? He watched the dominoes fall.

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P.S. I will always regret not being able to dance with Fraggles on the last day of the conference.

Also, no one told me Magma was going to be in Dune.

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You can find more structured thoughts over at EDITING MODERNISM- http://editingmodernism.ca/community/

All the processes and thoughts afterward give great pause for the experiences there. I particularily enjoyed: “EVERYTHINGS TOO FUCKD UP TODAY” & THE REVOLUTION CANNOT WAIT: A BRIEF REFLECTION ON THE POLITICAL AT AVANT-CANADA by Eric Schmaltz

THE SHINING script excerpt. Reworked with a woman

http://www.minimalist-approa.ch/great-minimalist-movie-poster-concepts
http://www.minimalist-approa.ch/great-minimalist-movie-poster-concepts

THE SHINING based on a novel by Stephen King. Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Diane Johnson. Reworked with a woman by Jacqueline Valencia

*************************************************************

INT. HOTEL LOUNGE – M.L.S.

BOB, carrying baseball bat, walks away into Lounge. As

he goes, he turns and looks about him – CAMERA TRACKS

after him.

BOB

Jackie…?

He looks about and then moves L-R past table, with his

typewriter on it. He walks L-R behind pillar and appears

again on the other side. CAMERA TRACKS with him.

BOB

Jackie…?

BOB stops and looks about.

CUT TO:

M.L.S. BOB, holding bat, in f.g. He turns and walks away

to JACKIE’s typewriter on table in b.g.

CUT TO:

M.S. Low Angle – JACKIE’s typewriter in f.g. BOB moves

forward into shot. He looks down at sheet of paper in

typewriter.

CUT TO:

M.C.S. Sheet of paper in typewriter with repetition of line

on it, reading: “ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACKIE A DULL GIRL.”

108.

Sheet of paper is turned up, showing repetition of line.

Again sheet of paper is turned up showing repetition of line.

CUT TO:

M.S. Low Angle – BOB looking down at sheet of paper in

typewriter. He looks cam.R – then moves to cam.R.

CUT TO:

M.S. Sheets of paper, filling cardboard box. CAMERA TRACKS

IN on top sheet, showing repetition of the line “ALL WORK

AND NO PLAY MAKES JACKIE A DULL GIRL.” filling sheet.

CUT TO:

M.S. Low Angle BOB looking down at box of paper in f.g.

He holds up top sheet and looks at it – then puts it down

in box.

CUT TO:

M.C.S. Sheets of paper filling box. BOB’s hand enters

cam.L.f.g. He flicks through sheets of paper and sees they

are all filled with repetition of line: “ALL WORK AND NO

PLAY MAKES JACKIE A DULL GIRL.”

CUT TO:

M.S. Low Angle – BOB flicking through sheets of paper in

box.

CUT TO:

M.S. Pillar. CAMERA TRACKS R-L revealing BOB, back to

camera, looking through sheets of paper in box on table in

M.L.S. JACKIE enters cam.R.f.g.

JACKIE

How do you like it?

BOB SCREAMS and turns round to face JACKIE.

BOB

Jackie!

JACKIE

How do you like it?

JACKIE moves away towards table. BOB walks R-L along table.

CUT TO:

M.S. JACKIE moves forward. CAMERA TRACKS BACK before her.

109.

JACKIE

What are you doing down here?

She stops by chair and puts her hand on back of it.

CUT TO:

M.S. BOB holding bat.

BOB

I just eh… wanted…

CUT TO:

M.S. JACKIE – hand on back of chair.

BOB (OFF)

…to talk to you.

JACKIE moves R-L to table. CAMERA TRACKS BACK.

JACKIE

Okay. Let’s talk.

JACKIE flicks through sheets of paper in box – then looks

towards BOB.

JACKIE

What do you want to talk about?

CUT TO:

M.S. BOB holding bat.

BOB

I…

CUT TO:

M.S. JACKIE

BOB (OFF)

I can’t really remember.

JACKIE

You can’t remember.

JACKIE moves forward L-R. CAMERA PANS with her.

BOB (OFF)

No, I can’t.

CUT TO:

110.

M.S. BOB, holding bat, moves L-R. CAMERA PANS with him.

CUT TO:

INT. HOTEL – JACKIE’S APARTMENT – M.S.

DANNY sitting at table. CAMERA TRACKS IN on him.

JACKIE (OFF)

Maybe it was about Danny. Maybe it

was about him.

CUT TO:

INT. HOTEL – LOBBY – M.S.

Blood clear from camera lens revealing furniture floating

about on river of blood.

JACKIE (OFF)

I think we should discuss Danny.

CUT TO:

INT. HOTEL – CORRIDOR – M.S.

Low Angle Door with word “MURDER” scrawled in reverse on door.

CUT TO:

INT. HOTEL – LOBBY – M.S.

Furniture floating on river of blood towards camera.

JACKIE (OFF)

I think… we should discuss what

should be done with him.

CUT TO:

INT. HOTEL – LOUNGE – M.S.

JACKIE moves forward.

JACKIE

What should be done with him?

CUT TO:

M.S. BOB holding bat gives nervous laugh.

CUT TO:

111.

M.S. JACKIE moves forward R-L – CAMERA PANS & TRACKS BACK with

him.

BOB (OFF)

I don’t know.

JACKIE

I don’t think that’s true. I think

you have some very definite ideas

about what should be done with

Danny… and I’d like to know what

they are.

CUT TO:

M.S. BOB holding bat moves back R-L. CAMERA PANS with him.

He weeps.

BOB

Well I… I think maybe he should

be taken to a doctor.

CUT TO:

M.S. JACKIE

JACKIE

You think maybe he should be taken

to a doctor?

CUT TO:

M.S. BOB

BOB

Yes…

CUT TO:

M.S. JACKIE

JACKIE

When do you think maybe he should

be taken to a doctor?

CUT TO:

M.S. BOB holding bat.

BOB

As soon as possible?

CUT

112.

M.S. JACKIE

JACKIE

As soon as possible.

BOB (OFF)

Jackie…

CUT TO:

M.S. BOB holding bat.

BOB

…please…

CUT TO:

M.S. JACKIE moves forward – CAMERA TRACKS BACK before her.

JACKIE

You believe his health might be at

stake?

CUT TO:

M.S. BOB holding bat moves back.

BOB

Ye…yes.

CUT TO:

M.S. JACKIE moves forward. CAMERA TRACKS BACK before her.

JACKIE

And you are concerned about him?

CUT TO:

M.S. BOB holding bat moves back.

BOB

Yes.

CUT TO:

M.S. JACKIE points to herself as she moves forward.

JACKIE

And are you concerned about me?

CUT TO:

M.S. BOB holding bat moves backwards.

113.

BOB

Of course I am.

JACKIE (OFF)

Of course you are.

CUT TO:

M.S. JACKIE moves forward. CAMERA TRACKS BACK before her. She

points to herself and gestures.

JACKIE

Have you ever thought about my

responsibilities?

BOB (OFF)

Oh Jackie, what are you talking about?

JACKIE

Have you ever had a single moment’s

thought about my responsibilities?

Have you ever thought for a single

solitary moment about my

responsibilities to my employers?

CUT TO:

M.S. BOB holding bat moves backwards.

CUT TO:

M.S. JACKIE moves forward – CAMERA TRACKS BACK before her.

JACKIE

Has it ever occurred to you that I

have agreed to look after the

Overlook Hotel until May the first?

Does it matter to you at all that

the owners have placed their

complete confidence and trust in

me, and that I have signed a letter

of agreement, a contract, in which

I have accepted that responsibility?

CUT TO:

M.S. BOB holding bat moves backwards L-R to foot of stairs.

CAMERA PANS with her. She moves onto first step.

JACKIE (OFF)

Do you have the slightest idea what

a moral and ethical principal is?

Do you?

CUT TO:

114.

M.S. JACKIE moves forward L-R. CAMERA PANS with her.

JACKIE

Has it ever occurred to you what

would happen to my future, if I

were to fail to live up to my

responsibilities?

CUT TO:

M.S. BOB holding bat backs up stairs.

JACKIE (OFF)

Has it ever occurred to you?

JACKIE moves in cam.R.f.g.

JACKIE

Has it?

BOB swinging bat before him backs up stairs. JACKIE moves

after him. CAMERA TRACKS FORWARD after them.

BOB

Stay away from me!

JACKIE

Why?

BOB

I just want to go back to my room.

JACKIE

Why?

BOB sobs.

BOB

Well… I’m very confused, and I

just need a chance to think things

over.

CUT TO:

M.S. High Angle JACKIE over BOB. She moves forward up stairs.

She backs away. CAMERA TRACKS BACK and UP before them.

JACKIE

You’ve had your whole fucking life

to think things over – what’s good

a few minutes more going to do you

now?

115.

BOB

Jackie… stay away from me… please.

JACKIE reaches up to him.

BOB

Don’t hurt me! Don’t hurt me!

JACKIE

I’m not going to hurt you.

BOB swings bat in front of him as he backs up stairs.

BOB

Stay away from me,

JACKIE

Bob!

BOB

Stay away…!

JACKIE

Darling, light of my life, I’m not

going to hurt you. You didn’t let

me finish my sentence. I said ‘I’m

not going to hurt you… I’m just

going to bash your brains in!’ I’m

going to bash them right the fuck in.

BOB waves bat in front of him. JACKIE laughs.

BOB

Stay away from me!

CUT TO:

M.S. Low Angle BOB swinging bat in front of him, backs up

stairs. JACKIE follows him – CAMERA TRACKS FORWARD after them.

BOB

Stay away from me!

JACKIE

I’m not going to hurt you.

BOB

Stay away from me!

CUT TO:

M.S. High Angle JACKIE over BOB. He swings bat in front of

her, as he backs away and she follows him.

116.

BOB

Stay away from me! Please…

JACKIE

Stop swinging the bat.

BOB

Stay away from me.

JACKIE

Put the bat down, Bob.

BOB

Stop it!

JACKIE

Bob give me the bat.

BOB

Stay… stay away!

JACKIE

Give me the bat.

CUT TO:

M.S. Low Angle BOB over JACKIE. CAMERA TRACKS FORWARD as

they come up stairs.

BOB

Stay away from me.

JACKIE

Give me the bat.

BOB

Jackie, stay away from me!

JACKIE

Stop swinging the bat.

BOB

Get down.

CUT TO:

M.S. High Angle JACKIE over BOB. He swings bat in front of

her as they move up stairs. CAMERA TRACKS with them.

JACKIE

Give me the bat.

BOB

Go away from me.

117.

JACKIE

Bob…

BOB

Go away.

JACKIE

Give me the bat.

BOB

Go away.

JACKIE

Give me the bat.

JACKIE reaches up with hand. BOB hits her hand with bat.

SHE SCREAMS. SHE YELLS and grabs her wrist.

CUT TO:

M.S. Low Angle BOB over JACKIE.

JACKIE

Goddamn!

BOB hits JACKIE on head with bat.

CUT TO:

M.S. High Angle JACKIE over BOB – he throws up hand and

leans back.

CUT TO:

M.L.S. Low Angle BOB over JACKIE. She falls backwards down

stairs. CAMERA PANS L-R with her as she somersaults down

stairs, stopping face down on half landing.

CUT TO:

M.L.S. High Angle BOB back to camera at top of stairs.

JACKIE lying facedown on half landing.

BOB

Oh…oh!

I have finished retyping Orwell’s 1984 and The Wall Street Journal

You can find the last entry here with a few thoughts on the project: http://thisisroom101.blogspot.ca/

 

 

 

OrwellBurmaPassport

George Orwell in his Burma passport photo. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Orwell

Some thoughts of handwriting Ulysses and now published at no press!

 

James_Joyce_photo_Gisele_Freund
A dashing James Joyce.

On Getting Inside James Joyce’s Head.

James Joyce is a maddening writer to read. If you were to ask me why I love reading him though, part of that love is in the aggravation he causes with his writing.

Typing A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man was one thing, writing Ulysses by hand is quite the other. In A Portrait, I had the pleasure of not having read it, thus being exposed to the work was like being presented with an interesting set of data. The experiment was what that set of data, how it was arranged and collated, would affect me. The early chapters made my creative work suffer. The infantilism and repetitive structure of it at the beginning, handicapped my writing. I couldn’t come up with proper sentences for a while. After young Stephen Dedalus finds the poetic language within himself, I found my own writing took off as well.

When copying from a book to a page (whether that be on a computer or on a piece of paper), I digest the work in a sort of peripheral type of reading. I’m reading the words as visual objects while transferring them over to a new environment. I know the controls: pen, paper, and a somewhat quiet environment. While writing/typing it, I notice little ticks or weird punctuations in the work because I’m focusing on transcribing what’s right before me. Half of my brain is on that, while the other is reading the words and doing what our brains have been trained to do while reading: visualizing the scenes. A Portrait was interesting because in its newness to me, I was absorbed into the pages.

ulysses
On my fairytale wishlist forever: A first edition copy of Ulysses.

I’ve re-read Ulysses several times because there are always new things I’ve found upon the re-read. And I’m known to get a little obsessive with my interests. Ulysses happens to feed something in my head. The first time I read it was back in a third year course on modernism. I was in the middle of mid-term exams and suffering a long bout of insomnia. I had just finished a long exam on Nietszche and Hegel for a philosophy course and headed home on the eastbound train from Islington station. My commute from UofT Erindale College was about two hours (bus and subway to Jane station, then up to Weston Rd. and Eglinton. Torontonians will know this intersection as the giant Monster Donuts stop). I spent that commute reading my course work and I was at Episode 9: Scylla and Charybdis in Ulysses when I fell asleep. I dreamed. In the dream, Stephen Dedalus was watching the sea from a hill with books from the library tucked under his arm. His head was full of every single insight he had gathered in his conversations of the day and the sun shone blindingly in his face. It was still image, but what I remember most was the churn of the water and the tumultuous thoughts coming in and out of Stephen’s head.

When I woke up I was at Christie station, many stops away from where I supposed to get off, but I didn’t get up in a fright. I kind of floated in a euphoric state, on the cusp of an eventual epiphany. And it happened when I hit my head on the window sill of the train. It was like a rush of everything I’d read my whole life was in that book in my lap. The best I can come up with to describe that event would be as if you could smell a rainstorm approaching, hear the thunder and see the lighting for years and then suddenly the sky opens up and it’s raining every truth all around you. I felt truth all around me in that subway car for only a few seconds before it left me as quick as it came. Ever since then, Ulysses has had a special place in my heart and mind. I don’t know whether it’s because I want to relive the epiphany or if its a weird addictive curse born out of a compulsion for a spiritual high again, but either way, Ulysses upon the re-read has never failed to deliver to me many insights on writing, reading, and some pretty wacky perspectives of life. And hell, is Joyce ever wacky. Horny for spirituality and physicality, Joyce masturbates and orgasms his way through an ordinary day in an ordinary life.

I started handwriting Ulysses on December 9, 2013. Today I’m in the first half of Episode 9 and on the second green moleskine journal. The journals I’ve used have taken a beating because I’m a heavy handed writer. When I flip a page, I can feel my pen marks as if I had dug them into the page instead of just writing them. I’ve exhausted four pens in the process, and that’s not counting the ones I’ve lost as well. I began with a few constraints (writing down where I was writing it, or indenting the cited poems/songs), but I’ve decided to just stick with a random flow on each writing session.

IMG_20140508_174024
my heavy handed writing

I’ve found Joyce to be a difficult writer to transcribe. Ulysses is basically pulled together by the inner thoughts of people, some of them very random. Joyce tries to capture a reality that storytellers fail so often at capturing: the humdrum. If Leopold Bloom is thinking about the skirts of his mistress, he will go into detail about the smell and feel of the skirts, the colour of her hair against the light, the scent of her sex, while still making a point to list the errands he has to get to during the day. If it occurs to Mr. Bloom it will get recorded and archived. Beyond the incredibly entertaining conflicts that happen to Leopold or to Stephen, beyond the philosophical psychedelia that is the meat of the book, what glues it all together is this frustratingly mundane minutiae. It’s boring to read and frustrating to write, especially if you have a short attention span like me. Yet life in general is made up of mostly frustrating and mundane stuff. Life can be distracting in its grandness, it can be in the focus of its banality, and vice a versa.

IMG_20140607_001617
Two moleskines and a Joyce.

I was recently discussing this with Tony Burgess at a poetry night we did. He asked about Ulysses and I had had particularly trying session with the page I was writing that day. I said, “I yell at the book sometimes. Fuck off, James! Again with the murmuring and the sighing! Today I wanted to throw you across the room.” That day Mr. Bloom was observing the people around him eating and he was thinking of eating and what others thought of him eating. It was such insular blabber, but it’s what we do every day in our heads. This is the brilliance of what Joyce set out to do. The day in the life of Leopold Bloom is the day in the life of you and me, or rather what he perceived to be the every day person. Upon the reading his approach read with an eerie accuracy.

Many scholars have picked Ulysses apart and will probably continue to for hundreds of years to come. I’m not bringing anything new to the table, I think, but it is in my reading and in my transcribing that I’m finding myself attuned to the unique perspective in the minuscule parts of my day. I know now that I handwrite my “f” in two different ways. My handwriting is also a mixture of cursive and printing. I write sloppier towards the end of the page and neater when it’s in the middle.

This “uncreative writing” project has made me a transcribing machine. I am but a means for those words to end up on a different format. Are they read? That’s not the point. Neither is it the point for me to know more about Joyce through handwriting his work. No. Getting Inside James Joyce’s Head is just a title. For me, this endeavour has me learning that writing is copying what is in your head to make it material in the real world.

Manifesting the prosaic, (whether it be lists, errands, important dates on a calendar, etc.), by common means is an extraordinary endeavour. It is just one of many ways one can be intimate with a novel or a piece of art. People copy paintings and trace drawings to learn how to draw and paint. Writers sometimes retype work (the quotations in an essay are integral part to that essay’s defense). Hunter S Thompson retyped The Great Gatsby just to get the feeling of typing a great novel. Replication of thought and ideas is what Joyce did and it’s what many authors already do. My work with James Joyce’s work is mundane, ordinary, and perplexing to me, but it’s my work. I have infused Ulysses with my own thoughts in the margins and have been physical with its words through a pen that I hold and maneuver. I often think about monks transcribing important literature before the printing press. I am a printing press.

The concept of person as machine is an important one to note today. The objects we utilize (computers, televisions, phones, lights, dishwashers, trains, buses, etc.), were once dreams in somebody’s head and those dreams now conveniently help move the world. If we didn’t have the machines, we’d be spending most of our days in desperate pursuit of the next meal and busy transporting ourselves with our own two feet. Now with all this convenience, the machines have made it possible for us to explore. The machines themselves, ones we built with our brains and hands, are exploring too. 

It’s time to explore past the line of traditional and try new things and new methods of doing those things. I’m constantly reading books (not just Joyce), and usually have two or three on the go. I also find that the best books, inspire new ways of reading (having read a book backward online and remixed another).

Handwriting Ulysses may be the dumbest thing I’ve done, but Joyce was an idiot to write all the thoughts of Leopold Bloom and call it a novel. I really don’t know what I’m doing and I’m not keen on labelling it anything more than uncreative writing at the moment. It’s art in its performance. It’s a concept in my explanation of it. It’s writing in my execution of it. It will be a feat in its completion. It will most likely take me two years to finish.

 

******************

I am very excited and happy to announce that Derek Beaulieu’s no press has published four pages of my work. ULYSSES by Jacqueline Valencia is now available for purchase. Details at the link:

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photo courtesy of no press.

http://derekbeaulieu.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/new-from-no-press-ulysses-by-jacqueline-valencia/

 

WALL STREET: my new chapbook

My latest chapbook, “Wall Street” is a compilation of the found poetry poems created when I participated in The Found Poetry Review‘s Oulipost in April. Download it for free at the link below or buy a hardcopy from me via my backpack bookstore.:

 

WALL STREET by Jacqueline Valencia (pdf)

WSJ460

OULIPOST: Day 30 (patchwork quilt)

SONY DSC
Google image search: Patchwork oulipo

Patchwork Oulipo

It’s a real roll of the dice

Picky hippy, zippy piggy hid

The act of coming together, to begin,

When when

Saturday six shouldn’t sign States

Like it or not, fracking will continue.

The figleaf oneship yed old has already seen

a relaxed balladeer

frigid winter’s effects will hit produce aisle

A to

Health and Human

The women’s health-care community got a shock:

The noble Heron

Teenager Ram, Village Delhi Country and Factories For Sale

a new

A link of large

The Ukraine crisis

Are roast wars aware

Of the DNA on dollar bills, New York

Today, a successful single man who falls for a woman

He said, “You don’t get to pick your partners in the world.

“Yes, the country featured some of the cheapest factories in the world

decades drug portfolio acquisitions industry about-face course drug court

Settlement was confirmed

Some surprises have already emerged

Have you heard that we are “using up” the world’s resources

There was no way that we weren’t going to be here

constitutionally

John Kerry has been thinking about

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http://www.foundpoetryreview.com/blog/oulipost-30-patchwork-quilt/

Many thanks to The Found Poetry Review, Jenni Baker, and Beth Ayer for a great month of uncreative creativity with OULIPOST. This has probably been the most fun I’ve had with the concept of poetry month.

Beyoncé’s poem

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Mark Wilson / Getty Images

(UPDATE: This poem was written by Oriah Mountain Dreamer: http://www.oriahmountaindreamer.com/ Which makes this whole thing pretty cool that Beyoncé rewrote the poem word for word to post on instagram. Either way it makes for an interesting rewrite of a rewrite and a condensation afterwards.) You can see where she gives credit in the third post of the poem: http://instagram.com/beyonce

Some friends posted the buzzfeed article of Beyoncé posting a poem on her instagram. I thought it would be neat to condense it a bit into the words that interested me and came up with this:

 

Beyoncé Wants to Know

It doesn’t interest me

what you for
I want to know
what you for
and if you
of your.

*

It doesn’t interest me
how you.
I want to know
if you
for
for your
for.

*
It doesn’t interest me
what
your…

*
I want to know
if you
of your
if you
or
of
I want to know
if you
or
or
or

*
I want to know
if you
or your
if you
and
of your and
to be
to be

*
It doesn’t interest me
if you
I want to know if you
to be to
If you
of
and your
If you
and
I want to know if you.
*
And if you your
I want to know
if you
yours
and
and
“Yes.”

*
It doesn’t interest me
you
or  you.

*
I want to know if you
of and
and
and
It doesn’t interest me
you
or you.

*
I want to know if you
of
and.

*
It doesn’t interest me
or or
you.

*
I want to know
you

*
I want to know
if you

and if you

you.

*************************

Source credit: http://www.beyonce.com/

 

Here is the handwritten version done after I typed the above:

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