word gains 4

The reader is fictionalised; an unreliable narrator is built into the narrative; another layer is added to the obfuscation. One might see it as a mutual interpenetration of that which is exterior to the text and that which is interior to it. But there is a distinction to be drawn between actual audience participation and imagined audience participation, although for future purposes either can be seen to function as a driving force where the shape of the narrative is concerned. If no one intervenes and actually interjects with what they perceive the texts to be about will they become an increasingly baroque extended metaphor that grew out of what was initially an exploration of the process of writing, rather than a piece of writing essaying the very essence of what a piece of fiction is in an interactive environment where the writer may be influenced by such things as ‘number of his’ and variously nested comments? Who knows? The author behind the author, who is the author behind the audience? Maybe – it is definitely a variable.
The text conceivably will reach a collapsing point. It is a black hole crushing all light and time within it, for it shall become an extemporaneous example of a spontaneous reaction to both an actual contemporary commentary and a secondary branching from the original narrative intent which runs concurrently alongside. It baffles its readers, baffles itself, becomes so labyrinthine in its plotting that its ultimate pointlessness dooms it to a possible judgment of irrelevancy at any point from the writing of the piece, to the reading of the piece, to the comments upon the piece, and the construction of the subsequent piece, whether said piece be reliant on actual and existing input or not.
How far has the piece strayed from the original intent? It is hard to gauge. For the original intent of the first piece has changed because of the interaction of its observers; has changed in light of the writing of the second instalment; has been re-drafted by the implications of the third piece; and re-shapes itself in the irregular mould of the fourth piece.
What form will the eventual piece of writing take? Will it make sense? Will it cook like souffle for so long in promised perfection only to collapse in the middle? He suspects not, for each element of the larger piece is somewhat self-contained and therefore non-reliant upon earlier instalments, though each instalment talks about the previous parts and intuits the mayhap of future parts. In theory you might put out a part called “word gains 56” and no others and it would intimate things about the rest of an untold story with no need for that actual story to be manifest anywhere other than in the implication that the piece was preceded by 55 other parts. or you might put out part 57 with no intervening parts between that and part 4 and people might start a hunt for the missing segments in their supposedly unfinished story.
part 4, which is this part obviously (though being labelled that doesn’t necessarily mean it is so, though it was indeed written fourth in the series) might suggest to you that there were preceding parts which existed in history which now no longer exist because they were burnt, and part of you would not know whether this was true or not. you might search for the lost chapters and, if those lost chapters turned up later, labelled as such, you would not be surprised. but what if you never knew that were a lie and continued searching, what would you consider the text to have done to you? what would you wish to do to the text?
if i say there are 56 pieces of the story waiting in the future. that there are twenty pieces which were unwritten thoughts intended for this story which are lost to the past. what does this do to you? to the story? what will your reaction do to the story? were you to demand it be so rather than waiting to see where the author leads you, would you uncreate something which, until that moment, because it was an idea cherished, held a high chance of being made?
you scratch you head. the piece does not comment. yet it does. it offers and provokes comment. it waits and does not wait. it is an object infused with a subject trying to be objective about an objective in a subjective way that hopes to trap the readers attention long enough to bleed fuel from them so more attacks may be made upon them and allowed from them.

One Response

  1. Mixing theories of expectation with theories of implied authorship always throws us into an infinite regression if we aren’t careful.

    The work expects to produce itself, yet it is not the piece that does the expecting. The piece forces the expectation on the reader, and blames it on the writes. Hence, there is a desire to give the work a subjective character, an imperfect narrator, at once to shield the author from inclusion and absolve the reader from activity. Thus shielded from all participation, the reader is free to take the work as his object. What we are left with is an ugly infinite regression that would have us believe that fiction is impossible. The mere existence of fiction, then, is nothing short of miraculous, and, as you suggest, supports itself completely through the messianic power of its expecting its own future.

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