Writing as mind meld, you are me.
2010/07/28 § Leave a comment
I am basically an experimental writer, while occasionally, once or twice or five times, I’ve attempted the tradition form of the novel, my writing energies are drawn to mucking about with words, intentionality and keeping the reader in mind, but not in the usual way. (I decide to write novels the way introverts decide they should go and ‘enjoy’ themselves at a party. Who knows, maybe they will, but it’s the genetically endowed extroverts who are usually the life of the party.)
This blog was started describe how to write micro-fiction for twitter.com, tweeting stories is something I almost never do now, the experimental is almost over, though I have half a one almost downloaded from my brain at the moment. Experimentalists are not good specialists, not very good at developing careers, particularly when experimental writing has been boxed-set into oblivion, at least in marketing terms, which is more about the operating comfort zones of it’s readerships.
My first attempts at experimental writing in my late teens were inspire directly by Virginia Woolf and James Joyce. Woolf in particular, and specifically her use of the semi-colon in To the Lighthouse. Something about her use of that marginal form of punctuation lead me to spend months working on a autobiographical bildungsroman written in the second person, at the age of eighteen.
I was not interested in stream of consciousness per se but in a related intentionality recently researched (see below).
It was a very serious endeavour, and at least now I can look back at my memories as a child as captured by an eighteen year old, who was much closer to events, even if there was little to report. I entered a re-worked part of this writing here at a myspace autobiography comblog thingo (see also Memoirist Collective), called Compressed Memory Syndrome (it starts down the page a bit and yes that’s why we don’t use myspace any more). One reader actually gets it and leaves a heart warming comment below.
And now this following bit of recent research:
We used the speaker’s spatiotemporal brain activity to model listeners’ brain activity and found that the speaker’s activity is spatially and temporally coupled with the listener’s activity. This coupling vanishes when participants fail to communicate. Moreover, though on average the listener’s brain activity mirrors the speaker’s activity with a delay, we also find areas that exhibit predictive anticipatory responses. We connected the extent of neural coupling to a quantitative measure of story comprehension and find that the greater the anticipatory speaker–listener coupling, the greater the understanding. We argue that the observed alignment of production- and comprehension-based processes serves as a mechanism by which brains convey information. (Via New Scientist We humans can mind-meld too and Futurismic)
Now admittedly this is oral-aural verbal but it is exactly at the heart of my experiments in writing as a teenager, I wanted to do just this via the medium of written words. It’s a pity that my results showed, for most people that I was just writing in another language.
There was no match between the brain patterns of the storyteller and the listeners, however, when they heard the same story in Russian, which they could not understand.
Of course, where on this blog I report on my past activities like this, as is perhaps becoming traditional on this blog of mine, I am basically continuing the original autobiographical exercise, if in another form, not of the experimental, but straight lab notes reportage. I hope somebody finds it useful even in this more recursive form.
Though I’m thinking I’ll contact the research team and suggest a further line of research and experimentation.
The other thing I’ve noticed writing this blog entry is how much of my writing work has always been a going over of past events, ever since I was young, memories have been a big part of how I look at the world, or what i look at in the world, and this urge to reflect on the experienced past deeply informs any ‘experiments’ I attempt.
So I feel better now about writing about long ago projects, it’s what I always done, the long-ago-ness if not the actual form, not an obsession with the past. It just me attempting to communicate with others, as I have always done, if in my own contrary way.