Ten Game Magnet / 23 April 2001

—ole idea of applying musical techniques to writing fiction, which I’ve read some about and written some about (even going so far as to let’s say we call it sample myself, i.e., cutting a couple of paragraphs from one little thing I got paid to write and pasting it into another

—   TV GUIDE: Wellsir, your ideas are … well, we can’t put it better than Leno: “Startling and generous.” Where do they all come from?

   ME: I’m sorry, where do..?

   TVG: Well, these, you know, these fertile and varied ideas.

   ME: Oh, I thought it was obvious by now. I’ve only written one complete chunk of writing in my life. It’s 750 words on Exxon Mobil Corp.’s first-quarter profit jump. I just keep recombining the sentences in different ways.

   TVG: You are shitting me.

   ME [“throwing some metal,” i.e., extending index finger and pinky to show allegiance to Satan’s rock]: Scout’s honor.

—thereby sticking it to the web publishing industry yet again), and so now my new goal is to create a loop novel, that is to say a piece of writing where the end merges seamlessly with the beginning, so seamless, in fact, that the reader doesn’t even know where it begins or ends and keeps reading it over and over. This is probably a little too close to Infinite Jest (V?), the film that was so entertaining that it compelled people to watch it repeatedly until they died of starvation or bedsores or the like, but I’m not talking about writing anything entertaining or compelling, Lord knows, but just something with a smooth, buttery loop, something that catches the reader up in its flow by eliminating the constraints of time.

Orifex managed to generate one loop that gets at what I’m talking about. The problem, and this is always the problem, is that we’re dealing with ink on paper, so the product is always at the user’s whim, unfortunately. So perhaps a compromise would be creating a novel that consists of a repeated loop, a chunk of text that repeats eight or nine times, but this text is constructed with such potency and subtlety that the readers go along with it, catching new details with each go-round, each iteration fleshing out and commenting upon its predecessor, so by the time they reach the end, their ninth reading of a particular passage causes some kind of reckless emotional outburst which is so cleansing, so pure and cathartic, that they want nothing more than to turn back to the first page and begin again, or, even better, type the loop into their word processor and paste it a hundred times, a thousand times, then print it all out and assemble a handmade cover out of a cereal box or maybe, vibrating with the startling and generous ideas brought on by their latest reading of Ten Game Magnet (I dunno, is giving a loop novel a palindromic name too precious?), maybe out of snakeskin or glass decorated with whorls of smoke, just so they can prolong the loop, prolong the inevitable conclusion, shamelessly indulging themselves in the wh—

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Joshua Green Allen

Fireland is a rickety old website by Joshua Allen.

A novel called Chokeville and a beverage-review site called The Knowledge For Thirst.

A great deal of typing is collected in the Archive.

Articles and whatnot for other sites, including The Morning News, Wired, and McSweeney's, can be found in External.

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The Sexiest Sentence Alive, Fireland Broke My Will To Live, The Black Pill Diaries, and a sampling of Old Fireland Designs.

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