As most of you know I am working on a novel. Simply called my project (though I have a unlikely working title I mostly keep to myself). Like a disobedient pet or child it is but I'm committed. I have a couple of years of notes-- interviews, research, random thoughts/questions/lines which I turn to when I am not sure about next steps or when I want to revisit the bigger questions for inspiration.
You see, it is a novel about people trying to live in a world in which they do not live.
Admittedly, I don't know if my research is more helpful or harmful given the importance of story, of character, of voice--first and foremost. Still, I've taken some steps to avoid dogmatic, over-explanatory conundrums. The novel starts in Detroit then moves to a fictional Latin American country. I am hoping that this half-in, half-out, allows some freedom I wasn't feeling in the early vision of the novel that went to Chiapas, Mexico. In crafting a country and uprising of my own imagination I hope to avoid at least some of the volumes of associations, mis-informations and inherent problems of writing about a contemporary social movement.
One of the things I love about fiction is how it is honest about its dishonesty. When it comes to human thought/action/documentation, purity doesn't exist and fiction, least good fiction, by its nature understands this in ways other disciplines are almost bound not to.(Course, the study of English PhDs is another matter-- I was just listening to a good friend who is in a top program complain about how most of the education is theory classes and so few stories/novels are actually read.)So I am embracing my literary license.
It is a story about love. A story about some good weirdos.
The two John Holloway essays I am looking back at today can be found in their entirety in the links below. I recognize that plenty of people have critiqued these but there still seems to be a level of respect within radical circles for the important questions raised. Still useful.
"The Leninist solution may have been wrong, but it was an attempt to solve a perceived problem: The problem of how you bring about a radical transformation of society in a society in which, apparently, the mass of people are so imbued with contemporary values that self-emancipation seems impossible." --John Holloway
"What would a true world look like? We may have a vague idea: it would be world of justice, a world in which people could relate to each other as people and not as things, a world in which people would shape their own lives. But we do not need to have a picture of what a true world would be like in order to feel that there is something radically wrong with the world that exists. Feeling that the world is wrong does not necessarily mean that we have a picture of a utopia to put in its place. Nor does is necessarily mean a romantic, some-day-my-prince-will-come idea that, although things are wrong now, one day we shall come to a true world, a promised land, a happy ending. We need no promise of a happy ending to justify our rejection of a world we feel to be wrong.
That is our starting point: rejection of a world that we feel to be wrong, negation of a world we feel to be negative. This is what we must cling to." --John Holloway
change the world without taking power