For my birthday, my pal Will gave me a rad kid’s book called “mirror mirror" featuring surreal illustrations by Josée Masse made for "reverso" poems by Marilyn Singer that offer a different perspective on the same story when read upwards from the bottom line. For example:
In my hood,
skipping through the wood,
carrying a basket,
picking berries to eat—
juicy and sweet
what a treat!
But a girl
After all, Grandma’s waiting.
—which, when reversed, becomes—
After all, Grandma’s waiting,
mustn’t dawdle …
But a girl!
What a treat—
juicy and sweet,
picking berries to eat,
carrying a basket,
skipping through the wood
in my ‘hood.
My own center columns are written with a basic degree of reversibility (to provide some sort of principle to guide line breaks, besides an urge to break up phrases if possible), but whereas Singer’s reversibility is aimed at making sense in both directions, my overall format is aimed at making nonsense (or at least “unplanned sense”) alongside (and for the later use of) the unidirectionality of the main narrative.
Runner-up “A karaoke rendition of a timeless bumper” seemed to capture the (pocket) epic feeling of Chapters 3 and 4, but I think this title is a fairer description of the overall project of making up a new place, characters, and plot vectors as we went along. Still, a part of me will always think of Book 2 as “Supervise the wave from saying, ‘fuck’ and ‘ocean care not for shit.’”
Book 3 will start in the new year, and it will be different. Feeling your way through an unknown world has a kind of realism to it and the thrill of discovery, but it is also slow going. The precursor to Sister City (which began with the birth of Romeo’s parents and went up through his high school career) covered, at times, one year of story every three pages. Sister City Book 1 covered one year every chapter (basically 10-15 pages each). Book 2 covered one day every 20-or-so pages. This progression was a result of trying to make sure that the development of characters and relationships did not get left behind, but at this rate, the next section would have to start confining each chapter to a single meal. Book 3 will return to using the succession of generations as its metronome, but this time, we’ll see if we can’t get a little more nurture into our nature.
… I narrowed down my finalists for the name of book 2 to:
1: A karaoke rendition of a timeless bumper
2: We saw a place using hands
3: Roll along the song to come out painted over
1 & 3 are things he singled out (though I was also sorely tempted to adopt one of his great original lines like “between the lake and the surface of the lake” or “paint it gold and touch it too soon”).
Anyway, I showed Erin the list of 3 final finalists, and her opinion was “3 or maybe 2.” What I hadn’t told her is that I had already basically decided on “1 or maybe 2.” D’oh.
Maria Fisher, Traumgendanken
The book “Traumgedanken” (“Thoughts on dreams”) contains a collection of literary, philosophical, psychological and scientifical texts which provide an insight into different dream theories.
To ease the access to the elusive topic, the book is designed as a model of a dream about dreaming. Analogue to a dream, where pieces of reality are assembled to build a story, it brings different text excerpts together. They are connected by threads which tie in with certain key words. The threads visualise the confusion and fragileness of dreams.
On five pages there are illustrations made out of thread. Their shape and colour relies on the key words on the opposite page. This way an abstract image of the dream about dreaming is generated.
In addition there are five pages where a significant excerpt from a text of the opposite page is stitched into the paper. It is not legible because the type’s actual surface is inside the folded page. This expresses the mysteriousness of dreams and the aspect of dream interpretation.