I’m pretty much ready to go — the Phase 1 contents of Ficticities are taken down, the new categories are set up, the first questionnaire is written and formatted for data collection, the procedure for populating the site with content clearly specified. So why do I hesitate in launching Phase 2? Why don’t I want to get started with finding and reading those short fictions, excerpting them into virtual flânerie posts, luring writers to the site, encouraging them to fill out the surveys, amassing findings about whether fiction writers could and would want to join forces in a syndicated publishing house?

For one thing, I don’t much like reading short stories. I admire them I suppose, but most seem concerned with people and their relationships, with something happening to those people that moves the narrative along on a forward trajectory. I.e., I don’t like most short stories because they’re stories.

The idea is to find writers of short fictions, then see whether they’d like to write long fictions together. But what if the short story writers just want to write long stories, or several short stories linked and intertwined and segued together? I probably wouldn’t want to read those long fictions either.

Phase 1 of Ficticities was a kind of long fiction, with the sequence of blog posts constituting an incremental layout of design specs for an organization that doesn’t exist. I have to acknowledge that the organization I imagined is more intriguing to me than any actual organization is likely to be. Just give it another quarter-turn toward the unlikely and the absurd… Fictional organization design — it’s like fictional architecture, fictional cartography.

For Phase 2, I find myself more interested in the architecture and layout of the fictional City than with the fictional excerpts I’d find for populating it. I’d rather populate the City with my own excerpts, even if there are no larger works from which the excerpts are excerpted. I’m also interested in the surveys, not so much as means of gathering data but as formatted prose poems. The City would be populated by short fictions that aren’t stories; the City would in the aggregate be a long fiction that isn’t a story.

But if I write the City it’s likely to have a population of 1, with no tourists.

So I’m waffling.



6 thoughts on “Waffling

  1. I often enjoyed Phase I as a fiction, but never said so, because you didn’t present it (or yet think of it) as such.

    The idea of ‘Fictional Cities’ is something that is probably idiosyncratic to you, even if you thought the kind of ‘cities’ I’m interested in are also fictional; I think my tendency is toward the verisimilitude-sensation even if it could be perceived as fiction. If certain realities seem also like fiction, they can be even more enhanced, hence the ‘otherworldly’. I probably just like to know that they first also would seem actual to not only myself but also others (most of the time, that’s not fully fleshed out.) But romanticism, for example, is usually agreed to be somewhat fictitious, but occurred in conjunction with the actual–at least in many cases.

    Your idea of ‘a fiction that is not a story’ is probably the hardest leap outsiders will have to make. I think of novels as stories, and even non-fiction as stories even when I don’t think of them as fiction. After all, it’s long been constant to describe even news events with phrases like “Our financial correspondent has the story” and so forth.

    But you’ll see how you want to play with it. I just wonder if the resistance to stories, whether long or short, is something that will be already a shared idea, or whether you might be fortunate enough to find writers who wish to write with this requirement. I’m sure a lot will be puzzled at the idea of how one eradicates the ‘story element’, but maybe that’s more obvious to some.


  2. I’m going ahead with the project despite my misgivings, and in part because of them. Anticipating how things are going to turn out is itself a fictional imagining on my part, that it will go either well or poorly depending on my mood or on the aspects of the project I’m thinking about at the time. This is one way in which fictional imaginings has an impact on the present, encouraging or discouraging action based on imagined futures. A key part of the project is to explore the relationship between imagined and actual, not just in fictional texts but in actual life. So let’s see what this particular actual has in store. If I don’t like how it’s going I can pull the plug; nobody’s holding a gun to my head, the anticipated ending isn’t some sort of already-present future toward which I must inexorably move despite myself.


  3. Cool. It’s worth opening up no matter what happens, and wondering what that might be is the hardest IMO. Since in addition to not having any idea what may happen–or at least not being certain–we also don’t know exactly what we do want to happen, or that’s my experience–and harder to have known than I would have ever imagined in some of my things. I had, in fact, hoped for more conventional outcomes, or that was what I had to be conscious of while doing it, but that had not been at all what I had wanted. i think it’s hard to know what you want, other’s are sure.

    I read three of them, thought two were quite good, and liked one of these–the other I thought good, but that I was wasting my time even so–but I recognized in it certain kinds of things I used to read in various literary journals…sort of comforting to know they still exist in that form; so I started mainly skimming it, which worked well enough. One I didn’t like, but that’s irrelevant, and someone else will (since everyone there has already been liked by someone.)

    This is interesting now from a lot of perspectives, and observing your construction is the most interesting to me, watching it open. As for ‘mood’, I was always surprised Heidegger took that work so seriously in Being and Time. But I guess it’s a serious as some of us thought in our less formal way.


  4. I excerpted something from each of the seven stories I read, which I found at random by googling “literary magazines online.” I liked most of them, not all; the excerpts had to fit the premise of a city stroll, which doesn’t necessarily capture the essence, but I do think each excerpt embodies the distinctive style of each story. This project reminds me of when I posted screengrabs from films on Ktismatics. I’m curious to see how many of the linked authors show up on this site, and how many people fill out the questionnaires.


  5. There’s some intimate connection in Heidegger between mood and facticity — a feeling one gets from being thrown into a world that’s “always-already” there before one shows up on the scene. It’s from Heidegger’s facticity that I came up with the idea of ficticity — an already-there that’s partly an artifact of human invention, variable, mutable, multiple. So my mood swings from optimism to pessimism depending on which ficticity I find myself thrown into — or throw myself into. I don’t know if the ficticities construct would stand up to heavy philosophical interrogation, but it’s good enough for blognesss.


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