Monday, January 31, 2011

Myth, Undead: The Apocalyptic Imaginary, Vol. 1

By Rowan G. Tepper


The apocalypse is sublime – this is no great leap of thought, for not long after he wrote the Critique of Judgment, from which I derive my understanding of the term “sublime,” Kant wrote an essay entitled “The End of All Things.” A direct translation of the Greek ἀποκάλυψις as “lifting the veil,” or as “revelation” suggests that the concept of the sublime may help shed light upon the persistence of this eschatological myth in secular, (post-) modern culture. Apocalypse was always something more than a theological concept – the object of our fascination, anticipation and even desire has only taken new forms throughout history: the Bomb, unprecedented epidemics, “the end of history,” the ultimate fate of the universe, the end of the Mayan calendar.. even the zombie apocalypse. The apocalypse is attractive – a sublime surpassing nature:
Compared to any of these, our ability to resist becomes an insignificant trifle. Yet the sight of them becomes all the more attractive the more fearful it is, provided we are in a safe place. And we like to call these objects sublime because they raise the soul's fortitude above its usual middle range and allow us to discover within ourselves an ability to resist which is of a quite different kind, and which gives us the courage to believe that we could be a match for [their] seeming omnipotence. [2]
He sure seems either excited or aroused.

The apocalypse is immanent – as more-or-less disguised myth. The apocalypse is always imminent – as an event ever on the horizon. Always yet to come, this imminence signifies our safety – it is a formal structure of eschatological myth: nothing that happens can be the apocalypse, rather the apocalypse is fundamentally what does not happen – immanence itself revealed, unveiled and disclosed (Georges Bataille [3]). In what time I have today, I shall speak of apocalyptic myth as not only “our symbolic interface with the world, often but not always presented in allegorical or metaphorical form,” [4] but as a narrative form that functions, as it were, as the plot (μύθοσ) of history. The apocalypse would be the climax, dénouement and closure of history: judgment, revelation and end.

This is of course the first installment of a series on the topic of eschatological myth today – by means of examining the various forms it can take, eschatological myth as a whole will come into view.

An Undead Myth

Today, all you can find in a mall is a bunch of zombies
The zombie apocalypse is trendy – Facebook tells us that 599,332 people have RSVP-ed. [5] It is the latest form of the apocalypse – a postmodern incarnation of the myth with modern zombies. While folkloric zombies have a long history and various cultural forms, “modern zombies are often related to an apocalypse, where civilization could collapse due to a plague of the undead” (Munz, Hudea, Imad & Smith, When Zombies Attack!, pg. 134). [6] This was an entirely new vision of the end when Night of the Living Dead appeared in 1968, the year during which post-industrial, post-modern capitalism attained undisputed ascendancy after the failed revolts of May.

The zombie apocalypse is the eschatological event proper to post-modernity – being tongue-in-cheek and altogether lacking in seriousness, we can laugh off the very real anxieties it nevertheless signifies. While it is doubtless true that the obvious sources of anxiety – our mortality and the very real capacity of our civilization to annihilate itself (attained with the advent of the Bomb, object of other forms of the eschatological myth, enduring element of the contemporary apocalyptic imaginary) – are inextricably bound up in every such myth, others appear to be more significant.

Modern zombies are American – the largely interchangeable zombie flick settings signify an automated, atomized and alienated society. Modern zombies embody the undead afterlife of modernity and its myths – the alienated, atomized subject, no longer properly an “individual,” lives and labors like an automaton. The ideologies of post-modern liberal capitalism produce and rely upon subjects such as these – zombies with a pulse.

Descartes of the Dead
The modern zombie is the apotheosis of the Cartesian subject in a world in which the Enlightenment project and modernity have revealed themselves in the end to be bankrupt. Atomization and alienation are not merely the result of ideological operations – for, with the flight of the divine of which Hölderlin was prophet and Nietzsche apostle, the subject can no longer have any certainty concerning the world and others. The (post-) modern subject has never since free of false consciousness.

The zombie apocalypse is an allegory of the final triumph of the ideologies of post-modern capitalism. What leaves us in fear and trembling is the possibility of becoming a working zombie with a pulse in a monkey suit. The apocalyptic sublime serves both as a call to arms – vive la Résistance– and as a promised, imminent return of mythic lost immanence.

Killing zombies is just plain fun, too. I want to go out and splatter Zombie Descartes' brain on the wall...


[1] Immanuel Kant, “The End of All Things (1794),” in Perpetual Peace and Other Essays, Trans. Ted Humphrey (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1983), pp. 93-106.

[2] Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, Trans. Werner S. Pluhar (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1987), pg. 120.

[3] Georges Bataille, “Beyond Seriousness,” in The Unfinished System of Nonknowledge, Trans. Michelle Kendall & Stuart Kendall (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001), pp. 212-218.

[4] James Curcio, “The Immanence of Myth – an Anthology,” Escape Into Life, January 27th 2011. http://www.escapeintolife.com/essays/living-mths/

[5] As of January 31st, 2011, around noon.

[6] Wehen Zombies Attack!: Mathematical Modelling of an Outbreak of Zombie Infection", by Philip Munz, Ioan Hudea, Joe Imad and Robert J, Smith?. In Infectious Disease Modelling Research Progress, eds. J.M. Tchuenche and C. Chiyaka, Nova Science Publishers, Inc. pp. 133-150, 2009.

Rowan G. Tepper is Instructor of Comparative Literature at Binghamton University. He is the author of the essay "After God: The Revolutionary Absolute," forthcoming in The Immanence of Myth, and previously of Michel Foucault: Toward a Philosophy and Politics of the Event (2010). Somehow they let this loon teach. He considers it his job to corrupt the youth of various parts of New York State. For reasons unknown, he has decided to publish this series bi-weekly on Mondays. And what a pleasant surprise, his next contribution should appear on Feb 14...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

HoodooEngine interview with Dark Entries mag


Check out the 'english language version' of the interview HoodooEngine just completed with Dark Entries. It's "extreme like Neil Patrick Harris."

Monday, January 17, 2011

Clark Gonzomentary Season 1 Finale Coming Soon

As some of you know, we've been hard at "work" on an ongoing series. Rather than ramble about it here, check out this trailer.


And then check out the site. Subscribe...and look for our upcoming DVD!

Weaponized Announces Publication of Anthology on Modern Myth

For Immediate Release: London, 17th of January 2011
Weaponized is proud to announce the publication of ‘The Immanence of Myth’, an anthology arranged by James Curcio of Mythos Media. This anthology includes conversations, art and articles with those in the process of creating myth now, from up-and-comers and long-time underground myth-makers to celebrated artists such as Laurie Lipton and David Mack.


It will be published by Weaponized and available in print through major retailers and in Kindle and other eBook formats from July 2011. Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth

About ‘The Immanence of Myth’:
Thinkers such as Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, Mircea Eliade, Karl Kerenyi, and many others have helped to popularize an awareness of the psychological significance of archaic myth inside, as well as outside, the ivory tower of academia. However, the vast majority of their work has been focused on understanding and legitimizing the myths of the past.

Yet myth is an immanent, ongoing dialogue, an assemblage that interconnects us all. Joseph Campbell made it a part of his life’s work to emphasize the central importance an understanding of myth plays for the artist, and it is a perspective that arguably has been lost in many corners of the modern art world. This makes this investigation essential for artists (and would-be artists), regardless of their medium.

However, myth’s central importance does not end with art. Our beliefs and ideas about the world determine how we treat the world, how we engage with it and enter into it. Far from being archaic relics of the past, myths will affect the future for all of us. Even if we are unaware of them, they will continue to affect us.

Nearly half of this five-hundred page book was written by James Curcio, a writer and art director with extensive independent media experience. Since getting involved in media production as co-founder of Evolving Media in 2000—the first in many media/arts collectives he helped organize—he has built engaging narratives, utilizing the mediums best suited to the task.

He says, “I am excited to be building a platform for the exploration of the subject of mythology in a modern light, both through the release of this book and the website modernmythology.net, and believe that Weaponized is the perfect partner to bring this to fruition. I hope that this continues to be a springboard for the much-needed discussion of the role that myth plays in all our lives, as well as the creation of new media which builds upon this knowledge.”

John Harrigan of Weaponized says “One of the key reasons FoolishPeople founded the Weaponized imprint was to ensure that important works such as ‘The Immanence of Myth’ are published and made widely available. Now more than ever the subject of Myth is of vital importance to the very nature of humanity and we’re proud to publish this book.”

We must invent our myths—or re-invent them—ourselves. If you haven’t already, take this as a wake-up call to join in and become a myth-maker of the 21st century.

About Weaponized:

Weaponized publishes experimental forms of fiction, prose and art that offer new ways to experience stories and myth. They are passionately committed to finding unique narrative hybrids that challenge, engage, inform and inspire readers.

The imprint was founded by FoolishPeople, a group that has been creating theatre, collaborative events, live art, books, music and film for over fifteen years. FoolishPeople combine mythology, shamanism, drama therapy, strategic forecasting and open source collaboration in the creation of this work.

Since its launch in August 2010 Weaponized has  published FoolishPeople scripts ‘Cirxus’ and ‘Dead Language’ by John Harrigan, ‘The Sparky Show’ by Xanadu Xero and ‘Forum’ by Richard Webb.

Amongst other titles scheduled in 2011 Weaponized will publish ‘Citizen Y’ written by John Harrigan and James Curcio in April.

Starting in February and leading up to the publication of ‘The Immanence of Myth’ in July, James Curcio’s ModernMythology.net and weaponized.net will feature writing and interviews with contributors featured in ‘The Immanence of Myth’.

www.weaponized.net

PRESS CONTACT
For further information please email
press@weaponized.net

Friday, January 14, 2011

An Announcement About This Site

Starting in February (unless anyone decides to get rolling sooner), I am going to be adding contributors to this blog, as we broaden our exploration of modern myth. Many of these contributors - if not all - will be writers who were involved in the Immanence of Myth.

Hope you keep on checking in. And tell your friends.

Expect another announcement about the forthcoming publication of the first full edition of this book on Monday.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How I Made My Millions

I'm reworking my cover letter, you know. Like you do. I know this has fuckall to do with mythology, but it's got a lot to do with modernity.

Technically, my role at my last full-time position was web designer. I’ve taken the liberty of adding “cyber pimp” to my job title, so as to give myself slightly greater leeway in terms of the tasks I can throw myself into. The way I see it, they hired me as an idea man. It's the role I've taken in partnerships in the past, and though some companies don't like hearing "ideas" from employees on a regular basis, TLA was unique in that regard.

This monkey is deadly serious
About Space Exploration.
Are you? 
Here is a new marketing incentive which I introduced at a marketing and design strategy session, early during the process of rebranding their network of sites:
"I want to push TLA to be the first movie distribution company to launch an ape into space. Forget for a moment that there is no connection between film and strapping a primate to the end of a Titan missile. (Did I say strapping? Placing. Gently placing.) Also forget that it would be an incredibly expensive venture- I imagine the net cost per pound of monkey launching could be in the millions. This is simply something that has never been attempted before in this industry. You want creative thinking? I'm thinking creatively. 
I recognize that this might be a hard sell to the partners. They will toss around words like "profit" and "lunatic." But American business is about taking bold steps. More importantly, it’s about getting there first... even if it turns out there was no sensible or even sane reason that we should have taken the journey in the first place. 
We will be the first media retailer to launch a monkey into space. And despite Blockbuster’s attempts to get into the space game, well. Clearly, they are outmatched. Because we have an edge they don't. The creative edge."

No, but seriously. I have worked as creative director, content director, web designer, SEO assassin, sex ninja robot assassin, and once I made an egg stand on its end with the force of my will alone. So pay me money to organize and manage teams that will help you do the impossible, or this poor monkey will surely burn to death as a result of inadequate funding. Because I AM going to strap him into this rocket I've made out of spare parts, if no better materials for this "space mission" come through.

(P.S. When it comes to attitude, I couldn't agree more with this sentiment... even if my fashion sense leads me to wear a lot of orange.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Wandering Underpants Circus of Hedonism

This was from an email I sent this morning that was a response to an upcoming travel adventure being the beginning of the "wandering underpants circus of debauchery." I'm sharing it because it's something I've been thinking about a bit lately, and because I'm busy with a hundred other things and have nothing better for you today.

 "First: Branding!

"The Wandering Underpants Circus of Debauchery" has one problem. Debauchery has the unfortunate connotation of excess-- it's not self regulating. (Look at the 7 of Cups in Crowley's Thoth deck, sometime. It's all droopy and syrupy and fucked up looking.) 
I propose "The Wandering Underpants Circus of Hedonism." Hedonism, unlike debauchery, puts pleasure as the highest virtue. But one of the variables involved is time as well as quantity. If you drink TOO much, that isn't pleasurable. If you get yourself hooked on heroin, that isn't pleasurable. If you fuck over the people you care about strictly in the pursuit of pleasure, it also won't likely lead you to pleasure. At the least, eventually word gets around and you're drinking alone in a bar somewhere. The most fun is the fun that is shared. And, at least in my experience, the things I can give to other people -- pleasure amongst them -- tend to have a more lasting effect for me than the things that I experience or consume alone. It's forgotten. Just like meals. How much less fun is it to cook for yourself every day? 
Of course, no matter WHAT you do, there are unpleasant things that occur in life. That can't be avoided, and in fact even many forms of discomfort lead to heightened capacities for pleasure -- for instance, yoga, especially at first, can be very unpleasant, but it increases capacity for pleasure. So I'd consider it hedonistic. Avoiding all pain and displeasure compulsively leads to an increase of those things in the future, as well as an increased possibility to run into disaster because you have your blinders on. So increasing awareness is also hedonistic, as is self improvement. However, on the flip side, if you go too far with that, it also ceases to be fun. And so you have a constant self-regulation process, where maybe at a given point you're not necessarily at the ideal "state" but if there are regulation mechanisms in place, short of those things that knock you way outside the range and take a long time to regain stasis (if it ever occurs)-- death, death of a loved one, a horrible disease, etc-- you're always operating in regard to that ideal state. Basically what I'm describing is any basic self-regulating system, like a thermostat. 
Hedonism, in other words, is actually a MIDDLE path. And, though I'm half kidding with all this, the truth is that I'm starting to realize that it's the most simple and direct guiding principle in my life. 
Well. Anyway, that was weird."
Indeed.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Conventions of Literature: Time, Place, and Point of View

thechocolatebrigade
I wanted to share a couple more thoughts about the conventions of novel writing, which according to most are by virtue of being a novel, "always fiction." (I have a small issue with this, but it's not what I want to talk about right now.)

I have yet to fully explore, expose, and perfect the kind of narrative tool-kit that I would like to have. I've only been at this for 12 years or so. I mean this in regard to storytelling for whatever medium- so far I've written / co-written novels, screenplays, comic scripts, scripts for plays that are to be films, and so on, and am very eager about the potentials posed by transmedia. But I am always working to get closer to this unattainable goal, which involves, among other things, espousing a particular philosophy (in part borrowing from phenomenology, existentialism, and God knows what else I've consumed over the years as well as, of course, my own experience), and the philosophy of mythology that, though still merely a larvae, I'm working on getting into the world with the upcoming release of the 250,000 word behemoth The Immanence of Myth. I don't want to just talk about these things askance, as philosophers do. No. I want it to be embedded within all the stories I create.

Let me step back a bit...

Somewhere out there, a bit over a thousand hard copies of Join My Cult!, my first novel, are floating around. I still occasionally get emails from people who were given it by a friend, who randomly found it in a cafe - in the past I've suggested readers do that if they are willing to part with their copies when they are done - and oftentimes that bothers me because the thing is so "true" to the core group of self-indulgent teenage characters that it can be a bit painful to read.

But what I'm not embarassed by is that it is a complete train wreck of tense, of linear plot structure, of point-of-view. And the most constant criticism levelled at this book, and the follow-up I've since completely re-written, (Fallen Nation: Babylon Burning), has been this. Maybe some don't realize that, possible errors notwithstanding, those shifts are intentional and I simply don't grasp the difference between first and third person or present and past tense (let alone perfect tenses, etc); some love it; some simply refuse to try to follow a story where the consciousness that they are "inhabiting" as a reader shifts so frequently that they have to struggle to find clues to figure out whose head they're in now; and some probably rightly wonder what the fuck I was thinking when I chose to refuse almost all the tried and true narrative structures all at the same time with my first book.

That last one is pretty valid point. I guess it's just my style. I'm sometimes cautious by nature but if I'm going to jump in, I tend to do it face-first. This process often involves landing on hard concrete many times, however it is those scars that teach us best.

But, believe it or not, I'm not trying to look back yet again on that damned book. It's rubber-necking at a gruesome accident. What I want to do is push the line of thought I explored with this post ("Your Novel Is Not A Sandwich") and consider some of these narrative traditions not from the perspective of the marketplace, but from the perspective of story-writing. I want to look at what I was trying to do when I started writing, what I'm doing now, and where I'd like to take it in the future. I hope this also has relevance to other writers out there, because without feedback and discussion this becomes a really sterile exercise.

As I pointed out in that post, our expectations of narrative structure are actually incredibly unnatural. Our cognitive experience is not linear. Someone says something to you. You are reminded of something a few years ago. You wonder about the future. All of these things can happen while you are also walking and other things are happening around you which themselves may have past, present, and future layers occuring simultaneously, again from the perspective of their perception. Stories may bubble out of these past recollections and future fantasies such that a simple stroll down the street, two people chatting amiably, could be the grid or backdrop of a story that explores their entire relationship, past present and future. That could be a novel, if you wanted it to be. And there's no way to do it right if you're going to constrain yourself to any expectation of consistent point of view, tense, etc. Obviously, Joyce got this, and he wasn't the first. Which isn't to say I am James Joyce. (This is also not an argument that accidental tense inconsistencies in a passage shouldn't be fixed post haste. And for the record, there are some of those lingering in FN: PATWE, though they're being worked on this very moment in another window...)

Berkin57
There's nothing stopping you from writing a story where different points in time effect one another, or overlap. Theoretical physics is a weird thing, and even a bastardized understanding of it can lead to some very interesting story ideas. There have been times in my life where I felt like I was living the present as a message to my future self, or receiving messages from future selves, or even future alternative selves. There are endless possibilities with time, and frankly, time is something we really don't understand, unless we are considering it purely chronologically as a unit of measure to compare the rate of change of various functions.

Consider that a book, film, comic, or etc allows you something truly wonderful. It allows you to enter the mind of many people. In most of our lives, we're stuck inside this "one square foot of real estate," the whole time. Cradle to grave. This is where I like to soar a little, and let go of this pretense of some kind of literary Cinéma vérité. You could jump from the mind of a bank robber, to the bank teller, to the person lying on the floor pissing themselves. And to do so, you're going to have to track the transition not by crude tells ("HELLO, I AM THE BANK ROBBER NOW,") but rather by the shift of their internal monologue, of their perception of the events around them, and so on. It does ask a lot of the reader, I realize, and it also asks the reader to just experience what they're reading and not always know exactly what's going on, right away, all the damn time. Some people like this and it drives some people totally nuts. As an author I need to stop straddling the fence, I'll take ownership of that. But I also think there is value in trying to learn various approaches to storytelling.

This "fractured" approach is one that I've always wanted to make work, because it's more akin to how I experience life and conceive of stories in my mind, and in a way I've been slowly beaten back by fellow writers, by editors and by the surprising minority of readers who just don't get what I'm on about with that. (Surprising because there are still people who tell me my first book was my best, and I think they're telling me this not because it is the best written story I've put together - it isn't - but rather because it was the most ballsy in this regard. I really didn't give a flying fuck about marketability at that point in time. I had a vision for how I wanted to approach narrative and I ran with it, for better or worse.)

Worst of all, I've been scared off of it by writers, agents and publishers who have told me that if it's an approach I want to take, I can flat out forget ever making a living off my writing. Which may be moot since it's hard to make a living off of writing fiction no matter how you go about it.

Well. Right now, I'm focusing on telling stories that will reach more people. I'm working on honing craft while still working with the characters I want to work with, and some of that means paying homage to conventions which sometimes feel imposed. It's an aesthetic taste really. I know many if not most people prefer stories with a single protagonist, which occur in a single tense, and which have a very clear series of plot motions and conflicts from beginning to end. I feel like some of this has been ingrained in us, because when I look to my own experience, this is not how life flows, aside from the primacy of the protagonist. But I certainly see how cliff-hangers are like crack to us, and we have to identify with a protagonist, imagine ourselves in the story somewhat so as to become truly engaged with it, and for that to happen we have to understand what the hell is going on.
BauBauHouse

So Fallen Nation: Party At The World's End is an attempt at working with all of that in mind, and yet there are still points at which I found myself forced to fall back on my old devices because the tradition simply wasn't working for me. When characters are dreaming, a constant past tense flow doesn't work. I don't dream like that, do you? Sometimes my perception is that of the room that I am, sometimes I might shift from one mind to the other, or be watching from the eyes of a raven. I can't imagine I'm the only one who experiences dreams in this way.

In general, first person narrative almost always works better in present tense in my opinion, because subjective experience is grounded in the present; if it shifts to first person it should also shift to present tense unless if the character is dreaming or on a great deal of hallucinogenic drugs. When was the last time you experienced yourself in past tense? No, your memories may bubble up from the past, and can be either explored as they are (in past tense) or explored in the present (from within the context of your own mind- first person.)

Also - and this is the convention I broke once in FN : PATWE and it still rankles me a little because I really wanted to keep this one simple - convention says you shouldn't shift from third to first person for a tertiary character. It is jarring. It confuses people. So I'm told. (I would love a story woven together from the bricolage of first person narratives, even if I don't know who they are all the time. But I'm weird.)

I had to break this rule one place because, after trying the scene many, many times in third person, I realized there was simply no way to show what I needed to without getting inside his head. Everything on the outside -- and the third person perspective is an obsession with surfaces and externiality, if not imagined objectivity -- couldn't possibly express what I needed to. They say break rules when you need to. So I did. Can you tell where that was?

I bring all of this up now because I just received the copy-edit back on the book, and, though I haven't gone through those edits closely, I imagine the copy editing is great. But these "issues" were brought to my attention, and once again I felt myself knocking my head up against what most people, especially people working within the industry of writing and selling books expect a story to be, and what I want and expect them to be. Not to mention what, apparently, some of my so-called fans seem to enjoy, which seems to be all over the map and would probably throw me off my game if I gave any one of them too much of my ear.

Here's the deal. (Though I take full license to completely change my mind on this in the future). I'm sticking to my initial objective with this book as it just about done. And Nyssa makes no serious demands of this nature aside from a rather drastic perceptive change from part 1 to part 2 of the book, which also has drawn some complaint from people who are in the "narrative continuity" camp. The follow-up to Nyssa book 1 is also more or less planned in my head, and is similarly direct. But the next major "fiction" work I undertake, I think I am going to pull out all the stops again.

I don't know what it'll be about yet, we're talking years in the future most likely. But I want to take you on a ride through consciousness, through the twisted jumble of time, place, and perception that strikes me as most genuine. And, chances are, some of you will love me for it and some of you will hate me for it. That is always as it will always be, no matter what choices you make as a writer.

Till next time: authors. What are your thoughts on this? Am I wandering in the tall grass here or...?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Dead Language Introduction


I wanted to share the introduction I wrote for John Harrigan's Dead Language. It's available as hardback (linked) or eBook at Weaponized...
---

    When I first saw the Foolish People put on a production, it was at the Esozone event in Portland, 2007. The venue wasn't especially conducive to the performance. The audience had been hypnotized into a sort of stasis from hours of panel discussions and lectures, not to mention half-drunk from the bar, if my personal state was any indicator. Despite all of these things, it was a magical experience: sometimes slightly uncomfortable, sometimes hilarious. Most importantly, it passed beyond the realm of passive entertainment and managed to ask a very old, tired question in a new way: what is art, and what is the role of the artist in society? 
    Anymore, it seems generally facile to ask question like “what is art?” Within the context of the art world, art has spent the past couple decades talking about itself, deconstructing itself, removing itself from the sphere of people's lives and actual concerns that it seems even more of a futile or masturbatory exercise than ever. This might be the only reason why it is worth re-approaching this question, precisely because it has been asked so much that the answers all become a cacophony of white noise. We don't need answers, we need demonstrations. Or perhaps, we need to actually be pulled into the process ourselves. We need to see for ourselves. To feel, to touch, to have personal experiences that cannot be reproduced. 
    Having worked with John Harrigan in writing projects since, I think I can safely say that this is one of the reoccurring themes in his work- not, as many artists attempt, to make you look at the artist or the artistic process from the outside, but rather to grab you by the head and drag you inside it. For those without any experience of this terrain, I imagine the experience can be quite off-putting, and I also imagine that there might be some glee on the creator's part in that. But maybe I'm projecting. 
    Joseph Campbell once said that if an artist wants to insult you, he'll explain what his work “means.” We shouldn't need to ask, we just need experience. So I don't want to go any further into that for fear of inadvertently insulting you. Instead, I'd just like to share some more thoughts on the artistic process, before letting you get to what you came here for: the blueprint of an experience. (What is a script but the blueprint of an experience?)
    At its most basic level, art is a form of self psychotherapy. The real challenge for the artist comes in with you, the audience. Should an artist focus entirely on this imaginary audience — and forgive me for calling you imaginary, but during the process of creating something, it is the artist's idea of an audience that comes into play — they become something other than an artist. It becomes about demographics, about desire, homogenization and consumption. In other words, it becomes industrialized. On the other hand, should an artist focus entirely on themselves, using only the language of their internal mythology, what they produce might have no place in the world. It is the detritus of a therapeutic process, shed skin, a discarded membrane. 
    So, we have to ask, how is any of this relevant to any of us? I'd like to quote a little section from One Half of Robertson Davies, where he poses his theory that all writing comes from dreams: 
The dream world is the arena of human experience in which the Conscious Mind and the Unconscious Mind meet and the elements of the dream come from both realms in varying proportions. Literature — poetry, novel, and drama — is a product of its creator that draws upon the conscious experience and reflection, but important elements in it come from the Unconscious realm.
The reader, or the playgoer, is powerfully affected by the elements of the poem, the novel, or the play that arise from the writer's Unconscious, and anyone who is sensitive to literature is sensitive to this dream-like aspect which speaks to the dreamer in himself, and the more powerful this dream-like aspect the more powerfully it will affect him. 
The application of this way of looking at literature to drama is special, because in the theatre an audience, large or small, encounters the play at one time, and in so far as they play they encounter is a dream, they may be said to dream it together. ... in the theatre we dream together, and the sense of community gives special power to our dream. 

    The binding thread between the dream of the artist and your own dream lies in something that the psychologist Carl Jung recognized, that dreams are the root of myth as well; that some dreams are, in other words, the seeds of our common experience. Artists cannibalize themselves, fuck their dead past selves for your entertainment and edification, so that you might also have an encounter with these root experiences, these elementary ideas, if you dare go there. 
    This transformation can only happen within you, resurrecting the dead words on the page into something new and living. Otherwise they remain little corpses, stamped on dead trees. Resurrect them, or don't. The choice is entirely up to you.

-James Curcio, 2010

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