Few people see the world as it really is, because we’re not taught to see it that way: As conflict between the dynamic and the static. The active agent, and the acted upon.
Count Leo Tolstoy discussed this in his massive masterpiece novel War and Peace. Is history the product of great men– or of the movement of massive unseen forces? Or a combination of both?
In his discussion of Napoleon and the invasion of Russia, Tolstoy saw the great man as merely along for the ride, accompanying a wave of economic and social forces. Yet change as often as not, even in the instance cited, is a matter of the willful individual pushing and driving the merely passive: the static. The inertia of movement pushing the inertia of the unmoving. Force upon molecules. One dynamic individual disturbing all around itself, like a cue ball upsetting a rack of balls in a pool hall.
CHANGE should be especially true in the arts, which are intended to be dynamic. In constant flux.
The question for writers is: Which side of the equation are you on?
If you’re not published by one of the Big Four Manhattan publishers, or a professor at a university, it makes little sense to be on the side of the static. Of the aesthetic status quo. (Unless you write and publish as a hobby, to impress relatives and friends. But if you want more– ?)
WHAT Ernest Hemingway was working toward in his early short stories– before he adopted the persona of Papa Hemingway– was writing as art object. Whole and complete. As finished project.
MANY books and articles, too many to list, document the influence of modernist painters such as Joan Miro and Paul Cezanne on Hemingway’s writing. Though his quoted remarks are vague on the specifics of that influence, we can look at his works themselves to see. Not simply the marvelous descriptions (the opening to A Farewell toArms for instance), but the sense of form and conciseness in his best stories. “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” to name one.
HEMINGWAY was working toward something which could metaphorically be put on a wall and looked at– meaning, seeing the entirety of the work. Moving away from linearity.
This is a starting place for Pop Lit. Emphasis on clarity and transparency. The essence of “Pop.” Pop as in an Andy Warhol painting, or in a classic two-minute pop-rock song. Or a two-minute punk rock song which gives the listener two minutes of concentrated energy, then abruptly ends.
This is what I was striving for in my experimental work Ten Pop Stories. (An ebook written under the pen name King Wenclas.) Ten pop songs– or ten pop paintings.
THE MAIN IDEA is giving the reader a sense of the American experience– as Andy Warhol in his depictions of Coca-Cola bottles and of Marilyn Monroe so brilliantly conveyed the fast-paced madness of American experience. The American civilization, which for a hundred years has been the world’s dominant civilization.
THE 3–D STORY
Speed and immediacy– what this aspect of Pop-Lit theory is about. What the upcoming 3–DStory form will be about, in multiples. If our experiments work, things in the literary realm are about to become very exciting.