After leaving Florida and relocating to the opposite corner of the country (Tacoma, WA), I began the global revision of something that had already been “finished.” What’s published as a 50-page story in my MFA thesis began as a 25-page submission for one of Professor Bucak’s summer fiction workshops. In my own writing time, the 25-page-short-story-turned-50-page-long-story has continued evolving into something new: an experimental work I call a novelistic screenplay.
What I noticed about the work is that, while its form had already become more experimental in grad school, I still wasn’t happy with its strange evolution (just as Nature is never “satisfied” with the adaptations of Her many creatures). In a story that was already riddled with footnotes, I realized I needed to add even more footnotes – in addition to needing more story. (Even the 50-page version felt rushed.) And, structurally, the experimental arrangement of the text needed more order (but in a more experimental fashion).
Nearly three years later, I don’t have a complete first draft of this book, but the fictional world of the story has come to life. The Narrator has developed a voice of his (-or-Her) own. (I call this the fracturing of the narrative psyche.) The Narrator now has various meta-voices (…voices from the human past…). Distinctly evident is the descending process of the superego, ego, and id (often laden with the emotions and prejudices of unconscious desire). These dynamic voices were nowhere to be found in the older versions.
For more than two years, I’ve been building a structure of narration that relies heavily on ellipses and parentheses. This structure is intentional, and enhances the visual cues of descending from one level of the subconscious down to the next. But last year, an art exhibit up here in Tacoma focused on these forms of punctuation, which makes me look rather like a copycat. The problem is, I feel I generated this structure on my own – long before I saw others experimenting with similar patterns. (Sad face….)
When I decided to build topical elements (e.g., the poverty of the masses, the benefits of decriminalizing cannabis, relief through organic ways of thinking) into the book, I was on the leading edge. But, that was then; the media operates right now. This is, by far, the most difficult part of allowing the book to evolve organically. I watch elements of it show up in popular culture.
Still, I do not regret moving slowly, because the completion of an MFA has taught me that it’s more satisfying to produce something lasting than to produce something premature in nature. To rush my story – just so it could be released with an earlier copyright date – would’ve been to deny my tale its full potential!
Every time I sit down to write, I feel the peristalsis of Nature moving through my mind, nudging my characters nearer to complete states of being. In meta-fashion, I, too, am nudged forward as a writer and a human (… as are all of you…).
After outlasting the MFA program at FAU, Cory Zimmerman was reborn as c.d. Zim (... the author who doesn't exist...). When not working on the aforementioned novelistic screenplay, c.d. Zim fulfills his(-or-Her) role as Creative Director of BlastFace (... a website specializing in the innovation of a new genre called "magazine radio"...). Blastface is the creation of Christopher J. Pumphrey, a fellow FAU MFAer.