Tell a story as if it were an accident to do so, as if its plot fell out of the sky. Tell it as if it were a poem, though it is written in prose. It’s beginning might as well be its denouement. And its resolution, otherwise known as its ending, is not necessarily a resolution, may in fact be a further complication of the plot . . . the plot which does not matter. Or rather, the plot itself is a series of complications and resolutions, each interchangeable, each potentially the other.
Thus, as I see it, the only valid, viable novel today (is “novel” merely a provisional term?) has its characters, even its protagonist, but they move and have their being on a stage with no foundation, in a context of choas. Chaos, not order being the fundamental law of bodies, emotions, and the interplay of flesh with flesh, or flesh with organic or inorganic matter.
What happens happens only because it happens; do not overanalyze it. Not that it wont bear scrutiny, but its charm or terror, its beauty or revulsion lie in its quality of accidentalism: an event that only happened because the author said it did; and he tells it like a free spirit dancing like Isadora Duncan, or a drunk moving on the currents of his drunkenness.
Personally, I dont like order. I accept it, at times I even impose it, but I dont really like it. If truth means anything, I find more truth in chaos than in order. I think the artist who presumes to create order out of chaos is playing a fool’s game. Chaos is the order of the universe—and the order of the day, any day. Maybe that’s why society seems like a sham to me, because it pretends to find order where in fact there is none.
Of course, society does a good job of creating the illusion of order out of chaos, primordial or momentary, but it is a game, a trick of perception. Metaphysically, there is no order, there’s only chaos, though sometimes it resembles order. But it’s only a mirage, not an essence or substance.
Even physics with its measured quantities, its algebraic kaleidoscope of equations only apes some longed-for ideal of order. It is fundamentally chaotic, with its numbers, its logic like rudderless boats in a storm-tossed sea desperately seeking the serenity, the harmony, the order (Pythagorean or Kafkaesque) of a destination it wont ever reach. Its longing for that shore is so ardent that it pretends it has reached it, but it has not, it has only reached the hysteria of its desire, which wears the mask of a trumped-up order deluding itself that the role it plays is reality.
My reality is chaos—even when I try to make order out of it. It always defeats my efforts, throws me back on chaos, which is the mother, the matrix of all . . . and on nothingness which is the cousin of chaos. My efforts laugh at me and tell me to seek no ultimate meaning of existence other than to be gently inebriated with the music of chaos. And out of that chaos I create my life, which, since it is created out of it, resembles it. I am not fundamentally a being of logic or order but of chaos, and I seek serenity within chaos, not within order.
So besides having apparently chosen Satan over God (to sound mythical about it) since the one represents chaos and the other order, what does all this mean? It means death and hysteria touch me to the quick as much as life and serenity do. It means I respect insanity as much as sanity—and, as an artist, do not seek one over the other because I know they are equally valid to the creative act, if not to life itself.
Death is an abstraction only to the dilettante, and life lacks hysteria only for the philistine. The artist, the creative person matters most, even if his or her artistry is evidenced only in their behavior and produces no material result, no product. If one isnt creating—at some level—one is destroying, even if one is only stagnating for stagnation is a kind of destruction.
Not that all destruction is bad; some leads to creation. It’s not really a matter of which is good and which is bad but of making our lives real, even though they are a dream. And of dreaming new realities—new forms, new ways, new relationships, be they of literature or the plastic arts or love. The final test is not how drunk or how sober one is but how he manages to make something artistic, creative, tangible, animate, literate of his hysteria and serenity, his sanity and insanity, his light and his dark—something that may reflect yet is beyond, is other than himself, and will be more meaningful because it has accepted the chaos he embodies.