Be wowed, be awed, be puzzled and be intrigued....
Which is weirdly apt given that the new issue of Emerald City just went online, with an essay by meself called Strange Sentences, as a feature article. It's about style...
Both philistine and philosopher, these hypothetical extremes of reading only for plot or only for theme, will tend to blame the writer’s execution if the composition is not immediately obvious. Aware of obvious tricks and techniques in the text but unable to discern any meaningful patterning of character and plot, they scapegoat style: if there is a story there, they say, it is obscured by the style; in the absence of plot or theme, they say, this is just playing with words. It is pointless. It is pretentious. It has no substance.
Of course I go on to disagree.
PUCK: You got an article in Emerald City? Cool! But aren't you afraid that, I dunno, Gary Wassner or someone will write a critical response in the next issue which you'll respond to in the form of a humorous dialogue with a projected alter ego which he'll take issue with in the comments, so you find yourself in an increasingly heated debate, one which becomes increasingly silly and stroppy until eventually you just challenge Gary to an Extreme Wrestling match only to arrive at the ring and find Gary and Rocky Scott Bakker are a tag team, so you have to call in Jeff Van Damme derMeer for hauners?
HAL: No, Puck. I'm not.
PUCK: But that would be fun.
HAL: No, it -- wait a minute! What the fuck are you doing here anyway? Who do you think you are? Evil Fucking Monkey? You have enough fucking fun scrawling your way through my fiction, never mind the sodding blog. And the whole projected alter ego is Jeff's thang. I'm not going to --
PUCK: I like Evil Monkey. He's got fur. Can I play with Evil Monkey?
HAL: What?! No. He's Evil. And a Monkey. He's an Evil Monkey. He'd bite you.
PUCK: That's OK. I'd bite back. I have the advantage, you know.
HAL: How so?
PUCK: He has a tail.
HAL: And how does that give you the advantage?
PUCK: More to bite. See? You didn't think of that, did you?
HAL: That's just -- look, I am not fucking well doing this. I am not having imaginary dialogues with a fucking fictional entity. That, as I've already made quite clear, is Jeff's thang. Get the fuck back inside my head.
PUCK: What if I don't wanna?
HAL: Just go and play with Jack, for fuck's sake.
PUCK: Play what?
HAL: Footy or footsy, I really don't give a fuck. Just --
JACK: Snickety-snak and Jack is back. Hello, my hollowed Hal -- and Puck! O, Puck, my young buck, my tenderish fuck. Slim boyish hips in contrapposto pose full-cocked, a paeon to your peter!
PUCK: My saucy Jack! My sausage snack--
HAL: That's it! I'm out of here. You two can fucking have the fucking blog. I've got a story to write.
PUCK: Am I in this story?
JACK: Are there explosions?
PUCK: I'd be good in this story.
JACK: Are there big explosions?
PUCK: You could use me in this story.
JACK: Are there really really big explosions? Like airship-sized explosions?
PUCK: Am I in this story?
JACK: He's gone.
PUCK: Hissy fit for Hal! What'll we do now?
JACK: Got any matches?