Friday, September 7, 2012                                                        Dreadful Joy

Ecstatic Reading

From The Dark Shore: “The Fall of Arwar Odawl” by John Bergin

The Dark Shore is a fantasy novel I wrote about Irth, a world of wizards, witch queens, and magic that exists in the first Planck instant of time after the Big Bang. The fires of creation cast the shadows of Irth onto ‘the Dark Shore,’ a universe of blacker magic and deeper mysteries — the greatest of which is Earth.

Wattpad, a site for sharing and discovering fiction, has been featuring The Dark Shore in its entirety for several weeks now:

Readers have posted a few comments for my sorcerous tale, including this one from M. D. Wyvern: “No offence or anything, but this prelude is hard to read.”

Of course, no creative writer with an informed heart would take offense at a reader’s opinion, no matter how unhappy. This comment got me to look at my novel’s prelude with emphasis on difficulty and exclusion.

The solitude of dreaming is one’s own. But the loneliness of writing belongs to everyone. When we fix our attention on text, we enter an isolation ward in the writer’s mind. Here we find only those word-patterns and memes that the writer believes are infectious.

If a writing style emphasizes difficulty and exclusion — like, say, Finnegans Wake — the writer offers an ecstatic experience to the reader. Instead of contagious text that quickly enters the mind, the reader ‘stands beside’ (ekstasis) the text. Getting into the text, finding the narrative, totalizes reading by making the reader an active partner with the writer.

“No offence or anything, but this prelude is hard to read:”

The mud of the bank quivers like frog skin as I kneel to lay my hands upon the water. I would know this river that jellies forth from the old life of the hills. Its satin black length slides past the glittering lights of the town, and within its depthless mirror I feel all its names—Carrier of Shadows, Grassy Shoulders, Footsteps to the Wind. These are river names given by the aboriginal people whose tribes once dwelled here, names remembered by vague ghosts that still hover in these woods. 
[“Prelude: Death’s Fences,” The Dark Shore]


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