Sketches of the Inchoate

I’ve assembled my story, “Sketches of the Inchoate”, into a single book, which you can download below as a PDF.

Remarkably, it is exactly 212 pages –

I.e., “B-A-B” pages, which is unreal, and unintentional, since, “BABY” is a constant trope throughout the text.

Enjoy!

Sketches of the Inchoate

Sketches of the Inchoate – Analysis of the role of the arts

The role of coincidence in the arts

I plainly make repeated use of the word “baby”, in songs, and in the text itself, without out any obvious explanation, or justification.

As an artistic device, the word, “baby” serves as a unifying trope across a huge range of genres, from the bronze sculpture at the Met, to Led Zepplin and Fetty Wap.

This is also clearly planted to contrast with the expectations of people in modern relationships, who are likely offended by the use of the word in these contexts, despite the frequent use of the word in contemporary music, including by a woman, Mø, who’s from a highly gender-conscious society, Denmark.

The implication being that superficially unrelated artists are perhaps a bit more honest about their feelings, and that this creates a unifying coincidence, forming a trope –

“Baby”.

This is also a play on associations, and what I think is a perfectly normal tendency to infantilize a partner, since it signals the ability to care for children, which is obviously a huge component of any long-term relationship.

As a practical matter, for the reader, it’s a signal that once observed gives an otherwise unrelated group of artists something in common –

“Baby”.

This is an exogenously realized variant of the same instant familiarity I allude to when I first meet Ida, which I took to an absurd, and realized level with the horse, deliberately creating a shared experience for both of us.

It is nonetheless as if we had something in common even before we met, though this is disrupted by external events –

Food guy and shoe guy.

Further, I realized after writing the, “London Grammar” sequence, that it’s plausible that Ida in fact made the work that I describe, “The Beach just Beyond the Woods”, though this was totally unintentional.

This kind of coincidence nonetheless suggests deliberate action, by someone, to the reader –

The work is obviously similar to the painting that I made for Ida, and the gallery as described sounds a lot like our apartment in Oslo, and I even focus on the door of the gallery, just like I did for our apartment.

The work arguably serves as a mood-changer for me in that sequence, solidifying my fidelity to Ida, since the memories it conjures color the rest of my night, though this is unstated, and implied.

This is an absurd variant on the idea that artists share ideas, without communicating –

In this case, I invented a character, Ida, who somehow, as a character in my head, arguably shared her work with me, and this was genuinely unintentional on my part.

Taking this idea of coincidence even further, I have a somewhat lazy and misshapen right eye, Biggie Smalls plainly has a lazy eye, Dale Chihuly has an eye patch, and Fetty Wap also has a damaged eye.

Noticing this, I intended this intersection in appearance to operate as a symbol for coincidence in the arts generally, except this time, as a symbol for the idea that artists can almost see each other’s works, and that we share ideas without knowing it, elevating the role of coincidence in the arts, as if chance altered our physical appearance, to let us know that perhaps we have something in common –

This is symbolized by the color blue, which serves the role of the light of mankind, and the light of ideas, with New York a powerful source of this light, symbolized by the Empire State Building.

And that this light is the invisible medium that facilitates this spooky, otherwise unexplained communication among artists.

This is plainly alluded to in the cover art, which is a work of street art, featuring an encircled eye, that I’ve noticed as a reoccurring theme in street art around lower Manhattan.

This is also plainly alluded to by, “Blue Train”, by, “So What?”, from, “Sort of Blue”, and Ida’s ability to suddenly see, “the music beneath the page.”, which is written in blue.

This is also consistent with, “The broken frame” sequence, presenting the body itself as art, that is both a conscious work by the person in question, but also subject to chance.

In this case, a group of otherwise unrelated artists including myself all have a similar physical feature, that is unusual, and I’m clearly putting myself in the role of the observer, who through mutual appreciation of a group of otherwise unrelated artists, creates the opportunity for a single narrative to reference all of our work, alluding to the intersection of our appearance, reducing both to a common physical feature, that operates as a symbol for coincidence in the arts.

In this case, a physical feature that we all have in common –

Eye problems.

The role of music

The fourth book repeatedly makes use of song lyrics that are explicitly incorporated into scenes, creating an artistic device that is tough to manage, since the lyrics are rarely a perfect fit for the scene, outside of the few moments referenced.

The overall idea is to take the use of music beyond how it’s used even in film, which is typically an emotional match for the scene, and instead elevate it to a technical match on the subject matter as well.

Ramble On

“Mine’s a tale that can’t be told,” alluding to some mystery as to my ultimate origin, with Ida noting the obvious similarity in appearance between my uncle and myself, and only naturally asking about the matter.

Then, “magic filled the air.”, providing her with an answer, as he performs his version of, “The Beast Sonata”, which is plainly alluded to by Ida hesitantly asking the question, twice.

He also has an absurd, black t-shirt, referencing me, and is smoking a cigar, referencing both Ida and I, and a shared experience we had at a cigar bar earlier in our relationship.

Ida is of course astonished, and this connects to the next scene, where we’re driving back, again alluding to poorly understood connections between artists, as Jimi Hendrix plays, and so the car is filled with shadows and ghosts –

Both the outlines and the souls of the past, that made the music we’re now listening to:

The past as immutable, and a light that shines upon those who listen closely.

Message in a bottle and Blind Faith

Though the lyrics aren’t explicitly referenced, the plain implication is that I’m sending out an SOS –

That art is in danger.

I think this is serious, and I think artists are also in personal danger, as the political enemies of reason and art use economics to stifle the arts, and perhaps worse.

The scene is meant to operate as a reclaim –

Where did the arts move?

Right here, in the middle of the street –

The kids show up, and own Bowery, again.

The What

I did both –

The dialogue of the text references the lyrics, and the lyrics foreshadow events in the text.

Christine references the lyrics, which I suggest was inappropriate, because she should know that I’m married –

I’m presumably wearing a ring.

Further, if you unpack what she said, it’s, “What do you ask the world for?”, and the corresponding lyrics are, “Fuck the world”.

As a result, her statement arguably changes the context of the song, suggesting quite plainly, in my character’s imagination, that she is saying that she wants to have sex with me, which I allude to in my response.

Further, the lyrics, “Like trees to branches”, my favorite line in the entire song, save for Method Man’s intro to the second verse, foreshadow the artwork to come, which is comprised at least in part of fallen wood and leaves.

The selection of, “The What” and, “Trap Queen”, was also deliberate, to follow the evolution of hip hop, from the sampled beats of the early days, to the highly produced, cinematic beats that we’re now accustomed to, that are often performed by live bands, arguably blurring the line between pop and hip hop, which I’m sure at least in part explains its commercial success.

Wicked Son

This is intended to operate twofold –

My character is obviously a bit wicked, and male, and so the song clearly references me.

There’s also a subtle reference to another Biggie song –

“He’s gonna be a bad boy.”

However, Christine is certainly wicked, arguably malevolent, totally indifferent to the fact that I’m married, and it therefore fits well with her character as well, in part in title, not in substance, since she is clearly a woman.

Deja Vu

This is wonderfully self-explanatory, and oddly enough, the image of the video on YouTube looks exactly what I imagined for Christine’s character –

A Swedish Ava Gardner.

Trap Queen

This works in title, not in substance, and actually sets the stage for a fantastic misunderstanding:

Christine thinks I acknowledge the song, because I like her, whereas I think she looks at me, because she’s admitting that she’s a trap –

We split the title of the song, I take, “Trap”, she takes, “Queen”, causing both of us to look at each other, creating perfect misunderstanding, given the same set of environmental facts.

This is something I allude to several times –

The Andreas fight sequence;

Thai Food;

The Mø misunderstanding.

The general point being that having the same information could still lead to errors, if you don’t share a context.

It also alludes to the power of art, which is to create a shared context for life itself.

This is why I wrote this story:

It’s for every American, precisely because the breadth of genres addressed is insane, and deliberately pedagogical in drafting, allowing anyone to simply pick up the book, and learn about everything, from information theory, acoustics, Zen Buddhist theories of psychological well-being, to Ravel and Fetty Wap, all in 200 pages, while unconsciously learning about Scandinavian culture, which is a part of the world I think Americans could learn from, despite the fact that they’re obviously basically all about as white as you can get –

They take care of each other, and don’t fight over nonsense, which is something that Ida and I are supposed to symbolize as a couple throughout the text.

Paper or plastic?

Who gives a shit –

We’re speeding home, because car, baby powder.

Everyone should know that they’re cared for, and that is the role of the state –

It is the last resort, to make sure society works properly.

Sketches of the Inchoate – Done, and Complete

I completed my story, “Sketches of the Inchoate”, which is now comprised of five books, all of which are available below:

Book 1: Sketches of the Inchoate

Book 2: Sketches of the Inchoate – Information and Belief

Book 3: Sketches of the Inchoate – Black Tree

Book 4: Sketches of the Inchoate – Analysis of Main Characters

Book 5: Sketches of the Inchoate – My Song for America

Book 6: Sketches of the Inchoate – My Song for America, Analysis

Sketches of the Inchoate – Analysis

Ida is not a typical muse

Our relationship wouldn’t work without her professionalism.

During the flooding –

In a different set of facts, being able to quickly and calmly execute like we both did, could mean the difference between life and death.

During the shopping –

It’s stupid, but it would have spoiled the romance, if we argued over mundane decisions –

Loser stuff:

That which causes pointless unhappiness, with the idea that high-functioning people don’t care about stuff like that, and are happier because of it.

Instead, we plow through the scene, because we both want the same thing, so we operate as a team, suspending irrelevant preferences, in light of a shared goal.

Being a professional in a high-stress environment makes these behaviors automatic after a while, and that’s definitely an upside to dating someone with a high-stress job, provided they’re actually good at it, which I plainly suggest is the case with Ida –

She’s both brilliant and competent.

The downside is the borderline autism of Ove, where emotional considerations get processed incorrectly –

He buys his rat a racecar, because he incorrectly thinks that it cares.

Nonetheless, he’s successful, because his job is quantitative, scientific, and strategic, and he’s clearly really good at it.

He doesn’t have to make people happy at work, and I suggest he’s even printing porn at work, which is wildly inappropriate, and again an example of a guy that just doesn’t get it –

His job is to keep the lights on, which he does.

Ove is an absurd person meant to highlight a real personality defect, which is that some people simply cannot effectively predict or understand the emotional state of other people.

Ove is nonetheless a good guy, just strange, and I both legitimately and cynically enjoy my time with him.

Ida is generally highly, emotionally aware, though with a touch of narcissism –

“Your majesty.”,

Deliberately, because I treat her like a Queen in many ways, and it’s only natural for someone to adjust to that, which doesn’t bother me at all –

It’s how I actually see her, with that kind of regard, albeit in a healthier manner, less the ceremonious pretensions, still clearly willing to tease her.

My character is menacingly conscious of what other people think and feel, and highly manipulative, even with Ida, but strictly intended for her amusement and happiness –

E.g., “The Beast Sonata.”

This is an insane thing to do, that requires a lot of effort and forethought to achieve an unnecessary outcome, designed only to make her laugh, partially at herself, but laugh nonetheless.

It is a microcosm of why my character gets up in the morning –

To make her happy.

And the fact that we can both execute on plans dispassionately, leaves me more free to create, for her.

This is a longwinded way of saying that she is certainly a muse for me, but the relationship nonetheless defines a team –

We share equally in the practical management of our lives, making our life together more efficient.

Ultimately, all we want to do is hangout with each other, with healthy interest in the external world, but nowhere near as much as we have in each other.

The, “Awful boat” sequence is intended to convey this –

She doesn’t have to come, as she presumably knows it’s on a swamp, and though she is legitimately annoyed by the revolting condition of the boat, and its embarrassing noise, she now has a story, and that’s why she does it.

Ultimately, she trusts that I’m going to provide something to talk about, even if it’s just with me sometime later on –

She’s going to have an interesting life, and so she tolerates me.

So she is undoubtedly a muse for my character, as she fires up my ambitions –

Even though I’m with her, I still feel the need to compete, to create, for her.

But we are a team of equals.

Ida and I are old-fashioned

Ida and I are both old-fashioned, in that we have an education in both the arts and the sciences –

This is what people were like only seventy years ago.

It’s only recently that we associate the arts with weirdos and losers –

Was Brahms a weirdo?

Bach?

Handel?

Beethoven?

Fauré?

Chopin?

Were any of these people lazy?

Mozart is often unfairly portrayed as a weirdo, but he wasn’t –

He was just far more intelligent than everyone else, and less ashamed, perhaps because he was impossibly prolific and brilliant, having written his fifth symphony at just 9 years old –

Would you care what anyone else thinks?

I don’t.

He had ordinary flaws, and extraordinary, unprecedented gifts.

Most people have at best average flaws, and average gifts.

Who should be ashamed on balance?

Mozart was not a weirdo –

He was a person that made everyone else feel small, and so in response, lesser people portray him as a weirdo, to size him down a bit.

This is something my character does on purpose, with stupid t-shirts, and absurd conduct, because the reality is, most people don’t want to be friends with the nihilistic bar-fight super-genius, because it’s beyond intimidating.

This is something Ida struggles with in, “The Empire State” sequence, where what she thought was a simple folk song, turns into a work of DADA art, clearly specifically created for the moment, even the room and city she was in, ultimately leading her to not enjoy herself –

It’s too much.

She would like it at an exhibit –

She doesn’t like it in her bedroom, where she feels emotionally safe with me, and, “koselig”, which is a word built by association over time with intimate, and physically comfortable moments, in particular with family and close friends, that doesn’t really have a good translation in English, but rough justice says it’s, “cozy”.

The sequence is a conscious play on, “The Beast Sonata”, in that I over did it, even suggesting with the title, the notion of cultural empire, which she has no interest in –

She wants a normal life, plus.

However, because my character is typically highly professional in my outward interactions, this is a rare outcome.

Ida and I are conservative

Ida and I are also profoundly monogamist, with both of us being completely wrong about perceived indiscretions, in my case disastrously so.

The scene with Mø is designed to make a joke of the idea –

We’re both extremely conservative people, with absolutely no drug use, which I make a point of in the hospital scene.

Nonetheless, it’s pretty obvious that we wouldn’t judge people that don’t subscribe to our way of life –

I spend substantial free time with a guy that has a pet rat, that he feeds steak.

We are both outwardly, beyond open-minded, but personally conservative, which is an anathema to modern politics, and again, in my opinion, deliberate, to denigrate the people most likely to raise successful families and create a healthy liberal society –

Monogamist professionals that really love each other, and their kids, and don’t care what other people do, so long as you don’t break the law.

Though not stated, the implication is that we’re already married in Copenhagen, having been engaged in Oslo.

The inspiration for Ida

Ida is an amalgam of women that I’ve dated, mostly from Scandinavia, in all honesty, taking the aspects that I liked most about each of them, and combining them into one person, and the flaws that I found most charming, like her willingness to be essentially worshiped by me, generally without question –

I used to live on Jones Street in the village in New York, and our local deli guy would refer to my ex, jokingly, as, “The Princess of Jones Street”, presumably because he witnessed our interactions, and though I can’t say exactly what he saw, the text is generally consistent with how I really behave with women that I love:

Relentlessly celebrating the person, which is occasionally exhausting, and probably at times annoying.

The inspiration for Charles

It’s really me, and almost everything is real, or based in a real story, except, regrettably, I’ve yet to sell my algorithms, which are also real, which I should probably get back to work on, now that the Covid-virus has subsided.

That said, the character that emerges after Ida has a miscarriage is admittedly, thankfully, somewhat exaggerated:

Externally, he’s a baby, complete with a bottle, describing the external world with childish components:

Head + Bottle = Boom.

And I’m then pleased to discover this new law of nature, after the man collapses from his injury.

Internally, I’m a torrid, complex person, writing music, talking to dead, imaginary people, presumably not very happy.

I’ve resigned to living in my thoughts, so unless necessary, my interactions with the external world are incredibly simplistic, and indifferent.

I don’t even dislike the guys while getting beaten by them, and instead, I grin –

I just don’t care, at the time.

Internally, I’m a disaster, and the sky during the bridge scene is supposed to reflect this, with the coloring of our kitchen tiles appearing just above a slow moving inferno in the sky:

The colors of the kitchen tiles manifest in the sky at the far end of the bridge, as if we’re heading back into our own imagined reality that we loved, back into our home, when things were normal, across a perilous path, the bridge, where even the Sun, a symbol associated with our love and fertility, suddenly appears dangerous in context, revealing its awesome power, appearing to burn the sky, making us modest before Nature, before rewarding us with our eventual happiness –

The lines in the cloud appear deliberate, suggesting that perhaps this is all no accident.

The idea being that I made my life into a work of art for Ida, which included my personal, physical appearance, just like the frame of a painting –

That the energy of my love for her, and our unborn children, is so extreme, that when it derailed, it took out entire cities, all seemingly designed to bring us back together:

A cosmic version of the sequence where I assault Andreas, with both events arguably out of my control, due to my profound love for Ida, as I become an instrument of Nature –

Causing in the first case, the wind to blow behind me, through my rage, moving the trees behind me, to frighten Andreas, before I kick him, and in the second case, through my anguish on the couch, a bona fide geological event.

Despite all of this insanity, the closing scene is intended to convey that even this cosmic struggle was all an effort for us to simply be together, and be normal –

To be the family on the beach, with nothing to do.

Sketches of the Inchoate – Complete Work

I’ve completed three books that together comprise a short story I’ve written called, “Sketches of the Inchoate”. The story makes heavy use of music in the narrative, as part of conscious effort to use music in a new way in the text of a story.

The core insight to the device I’m trying to construct is the difference between a note, and a sound:

A note is an etching on a page that relies upon the reader’s associations;

A sound is a physically real event that directly triggers the senses of the listener.

As a result, a note relies upon associations, just like the descriptions in the text of a book, which require the reader to construct a mental image of the scene described.

In contrast, a sound does not, since it is already manifested as physically real.

What I did in the text, was to supplement it with references to pieces that in turn supplement the reader’s mental portrait of the scene in question, providing hyperlinks to specific performances.

This takes a hypothetical physical environment described in words, and supplements it with a specific and physically real sound that you listen to, either as you read, or afterwards.

However, I also added hypothetical, at times technical, musical descriptions –

For example, an arrangement of a piece by Dorothy Jean Thompson, that simply doesn’t exist, that I came up with just for the story.

As a result, the reader’s associations still matter, since the text creates another level of interpretation, arguably unique to musicians –

That is, people capable of constructing a musical thought experiment will go beyond the specific piece referenced, again returning the pen to the reader, allowing the reader to fully imagine the scene.

The work is effectively free verse poetry, though if you don’t consciously look for rhyme, you likely won’t find it.

Book 1: Sketches of the Inchoate

Book 2: Sketches of the Inchoate – Information and Belief

Book 3: Sketches of the Inchoate – Black Tree