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Terreson Profile
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Re: Open Faces, Opening Places ( an explanation)

I so hate a cold, almost as much as I hate the flu. I don't have the capacity for lying in bed, no matter the aches. Anyway, story telling helps to take the mind off the old body.

Another installment made. The morning Richard wakes to Melissa having slipped out and to Sean's goodbye visit on his way out of town. In my experience things can, often do, happen in twos.

Every step of the way my story has been built on something scared up by Rock n Roll, primarily by the emotions RnR can bring to the surface. This is true even of chapter titles. The present chapter is called Friends and Lovers.

Anybody remember an old band called Bread? Before they got slick, went commercial and easy, they had one authentic album. I think it was in '69. There was a song called just that, Friends and Lovers. It is what I had in mind.

friends and lovers,
ever apart from the each other.
They're way, your way,
closing the doors
and then climbing the stairways;
and its over.

Novel closing in on the prize. Almost there.

Aug/30/2011, 4:34 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
Katlin Profile
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Re: Open Faces, Opening Places ( an explanation)


Novel winding up, winding down. I don't wonder that you have put off posting this chapter; lots of loss and sadness there.
Aug/31/2011, 1:29 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
Terreson Profile
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Re: Open Faces, Opening Places ( an explanation)

There were two hard chapters to write. In some ways harder to revisit. The present chapter and the one in which Dennis gets killed. But here is the thing. How do you tell the story of living according to the rules of rock n roll emotions without taking on the blues with all defenses down? You don't. You can't. Proceeding otherwise would be both a cheat and a betrayal. It is like Saint Ringo said: you got to pay your dues if you want to sing the blues and you know it don't come easy Here is a personal note with a funny twist. In the year before I started the novel I had a double loss occurring within weeks of each other, both devestating: the death of an only parent and a finalized divorce. So in a letter I am complaining to an older sister. It is one of those pity pearl me letters. Older sister writes back, in effect says: 'Cowboy up, buddy. You say you want to be a poet. How can you be if you don't live the blues?'

There is no rock n roll, no music, no poetry that is not drawn on the full emotional spectrum.

Just remembered something else. When finishing up the novel I wrote a poem intended to explain the novel's premise, its logic. I sent the poem to my same older sister. Mind you she does not read poetry, probably hasn't since forced to in high school. She wrote back and said it gave her a shiver. Here is how a poet can say what a novelist is forced to say in many, many words and keeping to a story line.

The Greening

The test, the trial, the dangerous gamut:
even the perilous way.
It's flinging back the sealed door
and walking back down slippery stairs.
It's getting lowered inside that place of incest
where everything has a dreamy meaning,
where meaning has the dark and dirty side;
where living layers of what stays before,
what must come after,
keep within livid columns of fleshy time;
and where, once in, a journeyer sees
there is no help from the reasoning, pleasing,
the self-connecxted safety leash
that kept things tied in distant manner
to faltering first steps taken into
the bottomless hour, her midnight mansion.

And so the reward: the hope: the only promise
to keep said searcher going sometimes,
even backing into the greening catacomb;
well, it's just a slender finial,
just a perfect kiss,
the prize of her in morning,
the unsaid sweetness.

Sometimes I think I should send the novel to the morgue file and keep with the poem. I would except that I wanted to tell a certain story involving my generation for my generation.

Aug/31/2011, 3:42 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
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Re: Open Faces, Opening Places ( an explanation)

I had meant to go to work today. I would have but for these flu-like aches. But the moment taken advantage of.

Another installment posted. 1 Sept. '11. Richard's fishing scene is one of those conceptions you know you got perfectly realized. For the second time this novel has worked in the range of the objective corelative, and before I knew the term. I first worked the scene in a short story about a man coming to terms with that his wife, a woman he dearly loves, has fallen in love with another man, a good friend of his. Coming to the novel I realized it is the perfect scene for Richard coming to terms with losing Melissa. But more. For how it is any man or woman in love with beauty has to give beauty freedom.

In the last post I promised a prize. This is the first of two. Chapter has 7 pages left and a second prize. After that, a sur-prize, an alternate ending.

Early on in the postings Kat said she thought this is how a poet might make a novel. She is right.

Sep/1/2011, 10:46 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
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Re: Open Faces, Opening Places ( an explanation)

Okay. Next installment of the novel made. Today, 2 Sep. '11. Chapter Eight is now posted in its entirety. I promised two prizes out of the chapter. Today's is the second.

Every chapter has been organized around a band or performer on the stage at Tara's Place. Mostly as back up to novel's actions. This chapter is different. Band becomes the action. Band's music becomes a character. I don't know of any writer or poet who has tried to put word to sound, sentences to music. It might be impossible to do but I tried. I think it possible I succeeded. If my reader can hear the music on the strength of my words I succeeded. If not I failed. But I tried something no one else has.

So far as Richard is concerned the story is over. Chapter's last paragraph makes that clear. He even goes squirrely, he who likes to think himself so clinical, a consumate observer. Just an idea he says about the story. No big deal. No shame, no blame, no hurt, no pain. What an asshole he can be. Especially when he is looking to cover himself in retreat.

But I am the author of this novel. All final decisions are mine. I decided in '87 that Richard, a bit too much in mine own image, does not get the last word. I force this scrivener to read a letter over which he has no control.

Sep/2/2011, 10:33 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
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Re: Open Faces, Opening Places ( an explanation)

Last installment made. Complete novel posted. Chapter Nine. I think I am as much in love with my Melissa as I was in '87.

Post entered at 2:30 A.M. It's now 6:07 A.M. Tropical Storm Lee is near abouts. Rain is general. I just watched an old Zoro movie with Tyrone Powers and Linda Darnell.

I've been taken to task more than once and by more than one Fem Crit for speaking, writing in a woman's voice, as I've done here in the novel's last chapter. Crit is always the same. In words somewhat less than honest, amounting to the disingenous. Complaint always the same. How dare I speak in a woman's voice?

I dare to because I know yearning and confusion and doubt and wanting.

My guess is that Melissa does not go back to Richard. Not because she doesn't love him. She just might love him too much for her own good. But because she knows she needs to find the woman behind the name, Melissa.


Last edited by Terreson, Sep/3/2011, 6:35 am
Sep/3/2011, 1:43 am Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
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Re: Open Faces, Opening Places ( an explanation)

A little bummed. I should have asked for a proof reader while posting the installments. Finding typos I missed and that spell check could not have caught. A, for example, instead of And. Not many, but even one is one too many. What a drag.

Sep/4/2011, 6:15 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
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Re: Open Faces, Opening Places ( an explanation)

Having posted the novel, I've been thrown back to remembering all the smaller works that led up to it in the preceding year or so. It is as if I had to chisel away at a certain thematic parcel until I could finally commit to getting the whole of it down. From memory I count at least five shorter pieces, vignettes and stories, and one poem.

Here is the poem that came just before starting in on the novel. It served as a template.

Stepping Out II

I'm walking streets again,
the night time streets of a city,
in the way I walked them before I knew
young life could ever hatch out the mistakes,
or that dead ends and detours
have the knack for bringing you back
to night time rounds first set on spin.
And the years must be older if
the contrast concludes the sense.
So long as I could say
no wrong turns were taken,
no first promises foresaken,
no springtime presses turned sour,
no sweet summers suffered
to walk unwanted into
cold autumn's shower,
so long as these fingers could worry
the shiny dime story
then I could sign my name
"Yours forever, truly young."

It's these streets again,
and walking under neon lights
of a seaside city,
walking in time to a rock n roll heart
when tonight the heart goes hurting.
And when I'm kind of wishing
it would wrap itself instead
inside the draperies
of some school of conceit.
Like maybe in poets' company
of other dark-in-shadow dreamers
who've followed similar streams
of asphalt or brick,
who have gone the way looking for
parallel, even outlawed roads
to more natural destinations.

History manuals have them by name,
if no one else seems to.
Or not out here, at least,
where the knowing becomes too intimate,
even smacking of authenticity,
not to mention a certain amount
of soulful duplicity.
And there is no real need
to ask after these
light-in-shadow lovers,
since they are here beside me
on another narrowing street,
egging me to join their company
in the low amber light of another bar.

The wandering Goliards,
and terrible Villons,
the moon thirsty Baudelaires,
the more modern Apollinaires.
Those outrageously Christ-like
livers of love and good times,
with outraged livers pickled in wine,
who've laughed at the masses
from their crosses of pain,
while crying in rivers
over sweet cheats kept dangling
before the same.
And it's done no good to tell them,
as we've stepped deeper into the town,
they've made a mistake in tracking me down.
"I'm terribly sorry, Gentlemen,
but you've cornered the wrong clown.
This generation, you see,
has had its compliment of Christ-types,
of equal opportunity moth flights,
of Morrisons, Joplins, and Hendrixes,
and of kings never just left alone
to leave the stage with grace."

It's done no good to tell them these things
as we keep our conversations
out on the streets again,
the night time streets where first we met
not all that long ago.
And they've never actually listened
as I've tried to show them how
stupid are propositions
of either/or conditions.
Or of how tragedy by any name,
be it Hegelian, Grecian, star stricken,
even for the sake of richer Republicans,
is still like putting boys in a jungle
to fight a father's battles.
It's as if they know it all by heart,
and they'd rather try to surprise
some lovely, long tailed cuckoo
from behind a blind.
They've just smiled drunkenly,
pulled closer on the cloak of poetry
and steeered us inside another
rock n roll bar.

It admittedly hurts my case
to be seen with them on streets again.
And even when we're leaving
the deep dancing and deeper thinking
they doggedly lead the way
as we're reeling for the door.
And while walking along the bayfront wall
made to slake the towny fear of water,
or when crossing the bridge that spans
the cocaine hour before dawn,
or even when we've turned back down
this narrowest street
like the cold and cutting sheets
turned down at home,
it becomes clear to see they've
kept with me inside the years;
and that what first had seemed
like a passing conceit
is the earnest game, instead,
still played for keeps.

And I don't really mind these streets,
these night time streets of another
steamy city,
where fast cars speed to desperate
where street people sleep beneath
newspaper habitations,
where businessmen waddle
like geese from pond to pond,
where parks are haunted
by lonely men-fauns
hunting spectrals of other lonely men,
and where budding young girls
carefully lay on their charms
to carelessly make of themselves
more moon-in-face than they are.
It isn't that I mind these streets,
walking down these streets
with neon shoulders bruised and bare,
except for the indigo lady I've met
in whose rainbow garden a dreamer
could till in dreams back under.

Terreson, 1985

There it is. The novel's template. More precisely its abstract. With the notable exception of Hugh, the story's salient characters are reflected here. Certainly the novel's logic is. Both its ethos and pathos too. I remember the night the poem came to me. I was walking home from a laundromat, crossing the Bridge of Lions that connects the mainland in St Augustine to Anastasia Island. By the time I got home I had the whole of the poem's narrative visualized. I think it was the night I realized I had fallen in love with the waitress who would become the novel's Melissa and for whom I wanted to make myself clean in some stupid ass way. It's been years since I've taken the poem out of its box. I don't write like this anymore, haven't in a couple of decades. All that end rhyme and gerunding and short line stuff. The whole spectrum of poetry makers would find fault with the poem. But I know the poem works in the rules of R n R lyric poetry. And I know it thinks and feels its way through a problem. Just like the novel does.


Last edited by Terreson, Oct/16/2011, 5:48 pm
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Re: Open Faces, Opening Places ( an explanation)

Not exactly sure why I'm resurrecting this thread. Only excuse is that I woke up this morning thinking about the poem with which it ends, 'Stepping Out II.' Why? Earlier in the week I had a brief exchange with a gypsy, a romani. Guessing he lives in Europe but can't be sure. Certain he really is a gypsy. Too passionate not to be. Too filled with rage at the treatment gypsies have received, continue to receive, since they arrived on the Western scene about a thousand years ago. No one knows exactly why they left India. Never will. The best hunch is that they fled from the onslaught of Genghis Kan. The problem, however, is that they have never fit in, even when they've tried, which has been rare.

I made the mistake of correcting the gypsy in his take on flamenco. He simply doesn't know the provenance of its roots, insisting it is wholly Romani, which it is not. But I did respond to his passionate stance. He believed in something that absolutely mattered to him. His gypsiness. I tried to tell him that, though not gypsy, I belong to the same class of poetry flamenco belongs to. The outrider class. But he couldn't hear me. I had challenged his understanding of something in his blood. His last defense was to call me a gadjo. The worst insult a Romani can hurl at someone not ethnically gypsy. Simply means non-gypsy.

My point is this. There really is an outrider class of poets and it amounts to a tradition. The best definition of this class I've found reads: "There exists in poetry a tradition of outriders or night cadres, of nomads, exiles and rebels of song. Throughout history, within every literate culture, poets belonging to this lineage have emerged to articulate a brave and defiant opposition to unjust distributions of wealth, religious persecution, oppression of women, racial discord, and aggressive military exploits. Marauding armies, abusive governments, exploitative churches - these come and go across the planet like storm clouds, and in their passage cause grievous suffering. Somehow the poets who sing within the outrider tradition stay with us." The author's comments come as an introduction to the Indian poet, Mirabai.

At its best the poetry of RnR belonged to that tradition. At its worst, just like the gypsies I encountered in Spain, it got commercialized. Living by the logic of the emotions is what characterizes this class. My poem points to that tradition. I made my novel to demonstrate my thesis.

Mar/23/2013, 2:32 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson

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