Mutation

Two more days till the Stay at Home Fringe Lit Fest, out of Glasgow, and everywhere, and I am thinking about what to read at the Dostoyevsky Wannabe event, from my soon-to-be-released novel, Never Mind the Beasts, 10 plus years in the making. How it has mutated over the years, over and over. First it was a straight memoir, in 1st person, trying to tell the story of my assorted life, from one country to another, beginning with The Troubles in N.Ireland in 1970s, my biological father, my UVF uncle, and then England and the homeless shelter, then Mormon conversion, and immigration to Las Vegas and an immigrant experience, then Utah, Washington, North Carolina. Marriage, divorce. Moving around the States. Many other countries teaching English as a foreign language on a shoestring. But it wasn’t satisfying. I needed to combine my poetry, all those years of reading and writing and publishing poetry. And also surrealism and Buddhist practice. So I combed my stacks and stacks of notebooks, scraps from 10 years from various countries, and wrote it as flash fiction, microfiction, prose poetry. Then I changed it to third person and made it a novel with a plot, moved away from trying to stick to a memoir. I created an alter-ego named Don Whiskers. It became a novel of interlocking microfictions. Now, shortly before publication, it has mutated again, into the flow. One big flow. An episodic novel flowing from one thing to the next. An everything novel. The first book of my nomadic surrealist trilogy. And it feels right. The flow. And I am thinking about how I am mutating, and how art and life can come close together, which is what I’ve wanted from art, from writing, to bring it close to life, to narrow the separation between things, whether genres and styles or life itself, and that’s really creativity, putting things together that normally don’t go together. Adapting and mutating. What a life!

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