WATCHING the News the past two or three years one has received the impression, message, point, sledgehammer emphasis of a world in total collapse, screens filled with scenes of war and riots, destruction of cities and lives– protests rebellions insurgencies marches hectic hysteria as media generates panic leading to more turmoil feeding more media coverage and– the real point– sustained ratings. Jobs for designated experts on all sides.
TODAY we present a story which conveys what’s been happening. The Chaos of NOW, well captured in “Report from the Capital” by Timothy Resau. Fiction which depicts today’s tumultuous vibe.
Resau’s story is like a modernist painting in which you can see what you want to see in it. No sides taken– only a portrait of contemporary reality.
In spite of the curfew, sniper fire, violence, and bloodshed, we went into the capital that night. No one was safe. The ambushing was constant; gunshots, it seemed, were being fired randomly. Everyone was a possible target. The limited radio and TV reports warned of certain danger. In short, chaos and anarchy prevailed. Law and order were not in place—not yet. Law and order had been removed or erased. Citizens were being asked to remain tuned to local media for updates.
CAN there be a new avant-garde in the writing game?
Can an avant-garde be anything but new?
We started the year looking for writing which strives to set a different tone and appearance from the accepted and the acceptable. From the same and the sane. One of the works we’ve accepted along that line we present to you today: “Turning Over the CD,” a novel excerpt by Anthony Kane Evans.
ONE OF the first stories we accepted for this project was also by Anthony, and showed his unique style. Anthony’s writing is marked by its clarity and conciseness– which allows him the ability to toy with new ideas in presentation. This piece follows the first rule of artistic change: disorient then reorient the reader. As you’ll see.
I slam the car door behind me. A fat lot of good that will do. I mean, it is not going to join the two halves of this book together. I consider, for one awful moment, to throw the CD away. There is a pond in a field nearby. I imagine skimming the CD across its placid surface. I stop. There are frogs over there, I can hear them singing. My God, is it that time of the year again? Have we been so long on the road? Has this blackness which I am now a part of been going on since Vienna and am I only now aware of it?
But what of the avant-garde?
What is “avant-garde” anyway beyond a widely-used marketing phrase from the 1920’s? Is it intellectual writing existing in an airless John Cage glass box suspended over the heads of the potential audience: isolated; sterile; detached? Or should it not instead follow Richard Wright’s prescribed path (per literary historian Paula Rabinowitz): folk art to popular art, then to politics?
Or: Can an avant-garde be a vanguard (the literal translation) without a popular following to be the vanguard of? We’re not certain, are only asking. The difficult trick for all who pursue the literary game is to find or create that following.