Questions: Different padding to diffident pudding

I’m intentionally back to ignoring genre’s again – still with the chaos of specific ones in the back of my mind – the dramatic monologue, lyric, magic realism, language poetry, phenomenology…then the ones that seem to have been obscured for a while or the ones that you can feel coming at you as if from the future…etc

So more specifically I’m intentionally ignoring what can and can’t supposedly mix as genres or be subtracted or added. The writing generates a cacophony all of its own, and then my intentions do also, and then whatever else is out there nosing around.

Thinking about genres does seem like unnecessary trouble and for this reason my curiosity is piqued, I can’t help myself – why am I thinking about magic realism?

There is what you write and what you love to read. What you love to talk about also.


Where does magic realism fit in the conversations I’m having – strangely it might be an editing thing, a question of editing – which is one way of saying the shape you try and draw out of writing after it has led you where it wants you to go – or during the process if the writing is being demanding – or not at all if it’s being improvisationally lucid.

I think even the magic realists wouldn’t have liked the idea of magic realism much, the cute side of it anyway – whatever the name there does seem to be something about a relation of fantasy to talking about the present, maybe even the subjective generalised or the general subjectified to talk about the social.

E. Jabes has his characters variously put each other through questioning, or put each other on trial.

Strangeness and questions are related.

So if I ignore the trope magic realism and pick up on the following maybe it will get me somewhere more interesting, a place to have a conversation beyond petty rejection of terminology:


A piece of writing may suppress its questions until the end of the first draft – this means it is also delaying a transparency of its potential strangeness, which by extension gives it a social and subjective framework.

It can’t always see at first what its fantasies are and how it needs to be edited or layered by intentionality, a layer which whether subjective or general allows specific questions to become visible to a reader.

When people begin to establish boundaries between each other, there is a necessary openness, a starting point with only implied boundaries, where few have been mutually exercised or practiced – humble, shy, anticipating but not yet lived.

Writing must also find a way to make liveable the implied boundaries it has set itself – and perhaps this is why I’m thinking about where editing fits into the process as well as fantasy and realism.

First lets talk about fantasy. Sport has been on my mind, on the mind of my writing…

Yes that’s right, sport, as in games, play – the national obsession is just the tip of the iceberg my writing is saying to me.

Then most recently the strangest proposition was made – Sport relates to Holidays!

What? The part of my writing that tries to clarify things for me has been a pain in the ass about this for weeks now…What does sport have to do with holidays? I’ve tried to ask it, cajole an answer from it. As always it took me a while to realize I needed to ask it some harder questions.

Does sport relate to pleasure?
Does leisure first confront the body?
What is the role of play in the imagination?
What do freedom and boundaries have to do with strangeness and how we confront it?
What explosions and superstitions can the athletic heart bear?

I’ve been working on a poem that has this line in it:

– proportion is an unfathomable holiday in another heart.

Holidays, like sport, occur on a scale of formal and informal play. Holidays are available to (inflicted on), in various forms, everyone – that is what is implied by the holiday. Sport has a similar proposition to it, an element of the life-miniature:

To explain:

– with watching a game of sport, playing soccer in the driveway or going camping or sleeping in the back-yard, we have the chance to respond to the subtle changes, twists and turns, that are otherwise obscured by everyday volatility. For better or worse.

Lets extend this further:

Another example would be how you don’t notice how family members, that you might grow up living with, age, in comparison to those relatives who you don’t see as often.

Sport or a holiday would seem to give you the opportunity to take in changes which time would normally smooth over, incrementally, as you slow down also, take time out, enjoy time for the pure pleasure of it, knowing that there is a start and end to the activity.

BUT it gets more interesting when you remember the element of play, pleasure in activity, in boundaries and inventive freedom. You would much rather prioritise the ‘general’ observation, the deepening of emotional, physical, mental and even spiritual involvement, seemingly at a remove from life’s usual pace and parameters.

At first this appears to be an attempt to just stall the increments that are always so swiftly passing in the everyday rush of routine.

What’s more significant is that we also try to do away with or reorient the superstitions of this rushing, this striving and straining – on holiday or at play, rushing, striving and straining are all present, they are just reorganised to suit a particular replenishment of the compass.

I think this is why I wanted to give a little wave to genre, to its historical and social compass – tapping into genres is a little bit like taking an unfathomable holiday in another heart.

It can be both ethical and unknown, limiting and explosive.

Different padding to diffident pudding…


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