Dr F isn’t in; hence my recurring presence as substitute. Never fear, he’ll be back. Betweentimes, a third guest is scheduled, starting at the weekend; Sunday, I believe. My presence here is transience itself — ephemera, pure and simple. I’m just a fleeting shade; but aren’t we all?
Need I identify this entry’s absent friend, Faustus aside? Hardly. It is, indeed, utterly predictable, as Pascale has already declared. Still, we might speculate: what awkward textual backwaters must we brave in this arbitrary cause, what twisty little passages all alike? And what verbal infelicities will, with grim inevitability, result? Read ’em and weep, ladies and germs. Read ’em and weep.
Is there anything justifying such an excruciating exercise? Can I perhaps hide my embarrassing writerly deficiencies behind this little game, applying tricksy linguistic legerdemain in a distracting spectacle all furnished in mist and silvered glass? Will I instead fumble the cards with amateurish hands, let slip the silk handkerchiefs, saw my beautiful assistant in halves I can’t then reattach?
Alternatively, is there a chance these limits might lay bare and circumvent a laziness in the way I — and by inference we — build sentences, a mechanical selectivity relentlessly preferring the familiar and clichéd? In struggling against stringent rules, can we find and awaken a slumbering creativity? That, at any rate, is what Perec, Queneau, Mathews and their experimental writing crew attempted; with admittedly variable results.
In any case, while this entry sequence is hardly breaking new turf, I’m finding it rather illuminating. The strictures within which I’m willingly writing here impart a surprisingly different lilt every time, each quite unlike my usual undisciplined style. Which is interesting in itself, and as well, inter alia, means this place remains distinct, during my fleeting stewardship, rather than merely transplanting Walky Talky. In truth, whatever it may appear, these paragraphs aren’t me at all.
Besides, it seems fitting. I became friends with Faustus, at least in part, via writing daft verses burdened with unnecessary rules. As much as anything else, this guest shift at The Search celebrates that humble beginning.