I Knew Norman Mailer, I met Norman Mailer, I Miss the Man

Dusk Settles in on what we thought was true...

Writers have this obstacle to overcome in the ongoing tension between modern brain research and western psychological model and spirituality. As such authors are required to either conform to the conventions of the day, or if they do not invent methods to circumvent these limitations.

Here is Norman Mailer in conversation, “When you write novels the person who tells the story is crucial to at least half the success of the novel I would say depends on how the story is told. Is it told by one person sitting in their own mind and giving you objective external descriptions of everyone else, or do you have a omniscient narrator which was common to the 19th century novel where literally you have to assume that this person has godly powers and can enter every single mind. And that worked very well for the 19th century because then most people believed in god, most people who read novels believed in god, and therefore the novelist could be analogous to god for the sake of enjoying the fiction. It was just easy to enter everyone’s mind, you could do it and now you can’t with the modern canon which really feels they got rid of this medieval nonsense through the enlightenment through the last few centuries and that most people can do without god and the devil, they certainly don’t want them intruding so the notion is that you stay in one intelligence, one consciousness, you don’t try to cover everyone, and that’s inhibiting, in you get lots of problems of development when you only have the consciousness of your narrator.”

Freedom to Roam

With the rapid developments in neurobiological research we are discovering that this scientific point of view of consciousness is not very precise, research is proving that it is not contained, that it is not located exclusively inside a person, but rather being more a part of a larger system of energy and information that extends beyond the boundaries of the physical body. In short a kind of biological explanation for what is sometimes called “having a meeting of the minds,” when two people are interacting.

In the planning stages of making a novel the author builds an outline that they will work from. I have been concerned not just with a plot, but I have been interested in the metaphysical implications of making a story that is more in accord with our most recent mind science research.

If the world is not made up of discreet individual human consciousnesses in the most rigid sense of this model, but is rather a more networked, more a blended neurobiological phenomena, that is one part made up of a brain where is born what we call mind, but that this mind exists more like a receiver and/or more like a transmitter, and more likely to know and perceive and understand its external world out there because of the energy and information that is readily available in its environment, then we can build new fiction by ways that have until now been held in obedience to this 20th Century model of the mind.

And I am not talking science fiction here, but general fiction that is made of stories describing common events in everyday life. It isn’t that there is a right answer to this issue, just that it is something authors deal with throughout the telling of a story.

Why do we know what someone is going to say before they say it? Often an unfaithful spouse’s partner doesn’t need anyone to tell them if their partner has been cheating. These are examples of information existing beyond mind.

These are exciting times. Writers can work beyond these previous boundaries. Still it isn’t just psychological restrictions that are overcome there are also literary habits that necessarily have to evolve as well.

What is this all about? It is how we explore and expand our understanding of the world we are all born into. Picasso revealed to us a world as never before ever seen. The ancient cave paintings in the south of France are artifacts of neurobiological evolution. They literally exemplify the metaphorical leap of the mind. That moment in time when we first began to be able to think in the abstract. Wasn’t long before man invented the wheel.

Dawn of a New Day

BANKRUPT HEART

“What have you done?” he said to that glimmer of self in the window. “It’s over man, how can you fix this, what you going to do, this time, you don’t need another job you need another you.”

Ry Waters lifted his hand to his hair and dug his fingers into his scalp while scratching with his thumb against an itch on his forehead. “Where do you begin?” He felt groggy like it was dawn and he was just waking up. “My whole life is a stinking mess.” He was determined to go out a class act. He would not allow his shoulders to slump. He was going to leave with his chin up. The last day on the job turned out to be a one man going away party in vivid, painful, living color, until this man Ry once knew appeared in the window and called him to account. 

Bankrupt Heart Copyright © 2011 by Dana Smith

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