The Thorn of the Rose Issue 1
Writing pins down the bones of our souls.
We forget who said this. We, who have read too many expository essays on writing, too many exposes (with or without the accent). Exposures. Ex-postulations.
Posing. Postulating. Posting.
Examinations of the soul, of what is real, what is unreal.
Preface to these issues (by one of the authors)
I have just come back from the Electronic Literature Organization Conference of 2014. Here, academics and writers obsessed with stretching the word beyond the written page, with writing that takes in other elements, works within other platforms, gather. These are my peeps. These are the folks who understand me--who give my soul new dimensions to traverse. I have been with this crowd since 1990--when I wrote one of the first theses on Electronic Literature (called Hypertexts and Hyperpossibilities) and interviewed everyone in the field--all 7 of them.
And now we have a dedicated, if somewhat rabid (rapid? intrepid?) group who gather yearly for intense discussions. These are the people who keep me honest, who I love and cherish. So I showed them Rose. Even with my people, I was terrified that they would not see the vision (and versions, and reversions and revisions). That Rose is a step along the evolution of language and meaning. But they did. I "Rosed" name tags, and people reveled (revealed) in who they were in Rose. I shared prototypes of the meditation cards (see the Knight in Shining Armor award for all 92 of these--they will be forthcoming, but for now, they are merely shadows waiting to be rescued.)
In the true style of confessions (con-fusions) I showed them how I was using Kickstarter as a literary platform. After all, Kickstarter invites you to tell a story. To tell your story. Yes, I said. (Ab)using Kickstarter to tell a literary story, to drape a work of literature over the bones of its scaffolding is somewhat akin to crossing the North Pole on a unicycle.To my knowledge, no one has yet done it--has yet used Kickstarter as the vehicle for the work itself.
Ahhh, they said. But this depends on the definition of literature, of scaffolding, of story. Of where the North Pole is and whether the unicycle can float.
And right now, they said, you are missing a vital plank from your platform, a vital spoke (spook) in the wheels. For you have no fictive element, no essential story thread. Right. I said. So... I am introducing the thorn to the rose, the sharper underside, the part that is so hard to grasp.
In these issues, I will weave you a tale, in true Dickensian fashion. Here is your only warning: This part of the Rose is untrue and does not conform to reality.
Deena Larsen, midsummer night, 2014.
The tip of the Thorn
Thorn lay back in the cool dirt between the rosebushes, hands thrust deep into pockets, eyes staring at the night sky. Shoes were neatly assembled within easy reach, a carefully packed backpack right up against the garden wall, mounds of dirt between the roses and the wall sculpted into comfortable shapes for laying on. Here, no one looked for a homeless teen. No one shined lights, no one said in a gruff voice "Move along there. You can't stay here." The rosebushes themselves, unpruned, wild, were thought to be enough of a barrier.
But if you knew how to move amongst the sharp stems, it was easy enough to create a little nest. Carve a sparse measure of safety. Pause for a moment. Thorn was still on guard, hands barely touching the cover of the switchblade nestled deep in those pockets.