How To Write A Novel [Class Notes]

“What the witness position also allows me to do is to: send light: to Ban, at the same time that I am notating Ban’s residual movements — the Bergsonian [overlapping] repetitions that underlie the illusion of posture-gesture contiguity. How the body is a series of rough arcs.  And how the novelist is the person who holds the space for what that body wants to be.  This is proprioception, the act of letting the body know — through light touch and the sensing/directing of energy to the body’s outer membrane or “field”  — where its limits are.  How does this help Ban?  I am not sure that it is something that I write about in Ban, but it is part of what my process is as a bodyworker; something that is also part of the experiment of the novel.  How to bring to the novel a way of thinking about or sensing with bodies that happens in other disciplines or fields?”

Excerpt from an interview on writing just up at Jacket2.

And then, at the end of Experimental Prose, we lay down in the ivy — Ban’s ivy —  as a group.


What is a group?  I keep asking that question.  Christine Caldwell: “Institutional ethnography.”  Perhaps we can work on that.  As the graduate students lay in the ivy, they chanted — we chanted — OM.  OM is a secular sound.  It comes from the body.  It extends to the lining of the universe then bounces back to you.  To summarize.  For more on this, I refer you to Buddhist Studies.  That is in another part of the university.   You’ll have to work on that separately and return your findings to the group.  In the ivy, the graduate students took an animal form — incubating there.  How do you return the dreamed image — a healing image — to writing?  As they chanted, the ivy became more green.  It sharpened.  And stirred.  I suddenly understood that the group — has a powerful role — in conducting the materials that individuals: bring forward.  Is this true?  How can we assess, as writers, whether or not we have achieved our radical goals — the desires that brought us to Naropa in the first place?  I think we should start working on that.  How?  Perhaps we need a monstrous checklist.  Perhaps we need to keep linking up.  To the great streaming.  That carries others.  To their destinations.  Look at Jack Kerouac, for example.  He was carried very far.  I got this image from a site on the internet called How To Meditate.  This is William Burroughs on the left.  Perhaps he is giving his friend some instructions.  Perhaps the flowers on the 1950s wallpaper and the regulated pattern on the plush sofa are performing a kind of conductivity in their own way.


2 thoughts on “How To Write A Novel [Class Notes]”

  1. shuck shell valence–rattle teeth–sprout seed below tongue–mudluck in just jest spring free green–chromophore: YAM. Cold fusion is not a matter of temperature it is a matter of symbiosis it is a matter of lichen it is a matter of moss it is matter minding OM I’m AHHhh. Anahata. ivy scrawlsprawlcrawlpaw the walk.

  2. Kristen Park: you are an alumnus. I remember when you balanced in the creek — on a diagonal. You were interested in neuroscience and poetry. You were interested in biologies of thought. Are you in the future now? Did the OM bounce off the surface of the cafe table where you were working on your laptop? Sending best wishes to you. From the ivy. A campus of regulated, fused and symbiotic sounds. BK

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