… book pages let loose …

A few days ago, waking at dawn, I had retained a dream vision:

I saw the entire content of my novel, Course of Mirrors, 400 pages in all, displayed on one huge panel.  Astonished, I pondered how this expansion graphically showed that writing a novel involves massive work, time, and fierce motivation.

To put this into context, I must add I lacked motivation and confidence for some time now, having to deal with existential problems.

The 21.5 cm height and a 13.5 cm width of each page poured out onto a single panel would create a near 100 meter high and 52 meter wide installation.

Even if the panel size were halved by using front and back, it’s still a crazy idea – right?

Maybe the dimension of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall could suffice, but only a Turner price gets you there. In case you don’t know, the Turbine Hall is the place that allowed visitors to touch the sun, like my son did during an Olafur Eliasson’s weather project exhibition a few years ago.

As regards my high-rise panel of book pages, any visitors keen to engage in reading could only do so at average eye levels, unless they had means to levitate. Now that would be another idea.

Well, imagination being such fun, I played on.

Much smaller double-sided panels could each display the pages of one of the 29 chapters, broken up into moments, occasionally interspersed with slivers of mirrors, where the body of a reader flits by, or maybe images that enhance or contradict the mood of a scene. You enter the story by stepping into a cave-like enclosure. The text on panels is lit from within, not spreading much light, to achieve a twilight experience, which was done in caves long, long, long ago, with the imprints of hands.

This cave could be entered from four sides. One may choose to start at the end and read the story backwards, or wander through and pick chapters randomly, more in the way one reads poetry. In any case, the title image at each entry/exit gate would evoke an enchanting journey at the edge of consciousness, between rational and the mystical states.

Normally, a writer’s work is condensed and hidden between the neat covers of a book, or captured on e-book screens, one click by one click. The concept of spreading the pages out in real space fascinates me, and ideas keep tumbling in. Like making the text respond to the concentration of the reader, or the lack, in which case sentences would ripple, as if floating on water.

Intrigued by this vision of visitors wandering through the chapters of my novel, I thought of the remarkable characters, all archetypal part-mirrors of me, of you, of anyone really.

How if readers could scan a paragraph about one character, place it on an empty panel and temporarily type a scene of their own imagination about that character?

If you feel the fun and have any additional ideas, please share them here.

What I like about the interactive setup, is the random strolling. Just while writing this post I opened my novel at an arbitrary page and hit on a romantic instant after Ana met her first love. He gives her a heart-shaped ruby as a promise – half a page at the end of chapter six. Here the excerpt …

Luke dropped the jewel back into my palm and pressed my hands close. “You’re the true heart for me. We’ll meet again. We’ll journey together.”  He glanced at the travel-ready troupe, waiting for him. “I won’t fasten the chain round your neck, though I’d love to.” His face was close enough for me to catch the scent of his hair, the pond, grass, wood smoke and musk. I longed to touch his lips, steal and take along his smile.

“How can I contact you?”

“Find a messenger to deliver a note to Tatum and his Magic Theatre. His troupe is getting known along the river.”

I felt drawn into the loop of his mysterious fate. I wanted to be held, forget myself in his arms. Instead, I stared at my feet, pondering this indelible moment of intimacy and suddenly dreaded the journey ahead – without him.

Last week Course of Mirrors had a lovely review by Cath Humphris, which I’m pleased to share:

https://cathum.wordpress.com/2020/01/13/course-of-mirrors-an-odyssey-by-ashen-venema/

A magical tale, in which a young woman embarks on a hazardous search for The Real.

Since I have presently no way of realising my crazy interactive vision, you can only enter the world of my novel condensed in its covers, here: Courseofmirrors  This Troubador page connects to other platforms, too. Then again, any bookshop can order the novel.

The image on the left was an early cover idea from authonomy days, not used in the end.

For the time being I’m having a hard time surviving, which hinders my deepening edit for the sequel to Course of Mirrors … Shapers … from which I share some chapters on my Patreon page. If it is within your means, and you can tolerate or even like struggling fools, please support my creative spirit on Patreon. Here the link.

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=10520241

13 Comments

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13 responses to “… book pages let loose …

  1. Love the art installation, Ashen. Good luck with Shapers, looking forward to taking a peep 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ashen, what an incredible dream … and love how you run with the idea! 😀 Wonderfully imaginative!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an extraordinary dream Ashen and your musings thereafter, so exquisitely imagined. Run with that idea – and see what future dreams yield.

    I’m sorry you’re having a hard time surviving … may this improve.

    Cath’s review is lovely, as are the excerpts from it. I have your book on my Kindle and when I’ve read it, I will review it. I look forward to it.

    All best,

    Susan

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Every time I read one of your posts Ashen, it sets me to thinking “out there” about possibilities. I am grateful for this.
    Wandering through a world of gigantic paragraphs, choosing at will which to read has just about blown my mind.
    I suppose reading and language receipt would be both trained abilities added to the vast array of senses which occur naturally for us as humans. So it brings to mind what a world of just sounds to the ear and views to the eyes might be.
    Each time we read or hear a word, our world changes as we interpret the new information.
    I wonder if the surreptitious receipt of sounds and views controls us or do we control it?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Brian. Your comment sets me thinking in turn. Our exposure to text having grown exponentially since printing, and greatly more so since the internet, maybe text has moved inside, under the skin. It improved language, though not necessarily comprehension.
      With a book, or online reading, a useful ritual for the intake of information is to close one’s eyes for a minute and evaluate the taste (it’s food after all) in one’s body and mind. It makes a difference to how intake is digested, providing a filter for choices.
      Based on how we evaluate information from our subjective standpoint, being presented with text in a cave-like space offers a more intuitive choice of reading, and greater focus – less looking and more seeing.

      Frequently, in the twilight of my waking there appear floating texts related to a twitter post or an email I read during the day. The text brings a continuation or a response to my understanding. Deeper aspects of meaning I had not considered during a quick read.
      It’s a peculiar phenomenon. Then again, not surprising considering how much I expose myself to texts and images during the day. So there is a processing happening in my dreams, which I catch shortly before waking, before the outer world takes over again.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. What a great idea, Ashen. I won’t be surprised as technology changes and becomes more intuitive, a book with your concept would be the next stage in fiction and non-fiction creation. You may want to patent the idea!!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. 🙂 Thanks for conntemplating the idea, Luciana. Quirky visions like this (I have them occasionally) would need influential sponsorship, given the cost of patenting anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a fun musing, Lucianna. You are a visionary it seems. I’m struggling through the end of my novel’s first draft–all on the computer. As soon as I finish, I’m printing out the whole thing and putting it in a binder. This way I can see the fruits of my labor–touch it–and get to work on rewriting!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for visiting and for your kind comment.
      My name is Ashen though, not Luciana (who I responded to above.) She writes historic fiction, and might as well be called a visionary 🙂
      Best success ☼ with your novel, Evelyn. So exciting to hold a first draft print-out in your hands.

      Like

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