Sunday, March 08, 2015

“flight forward”

In an introduction to his translation of Cesar Aira, Chris Andrews describes Aira’s method:

Cesar Aira’s keener readers are familiar with the procedure that he calls la huida hacia adelante: flight forward. He has often said that he composes his novels by improvising a page or two a day, and that instead of rewriting, he attempts to correct the weaknesses or inconsistencies of what has been written by adding retrospective explanations. Imperfections serve to spur invention rather than revision.

This method sounds similar to the one I used when composing Thousand, which I posted on my LoveSettlement blog. Each day I wrote one hundred words. I wrote for one thousand days, ending up with a prose piece 100,000 words long. Each day’s 100 word post was not completely raw. I did not post until I was satisfied, revising and rewriting, if necessary, until I thought the 100 words worked. I did not go back and revise the previous day’s (or month’s or year’s) effort, however. I went forward. Nor have I gone back to Thousand to revise it. When it hit its 100,000th word that was its last word. I have read Thousand all the way through since it completed and it holds up pretty well for whatever it is. There’s a lot of fun writing there. I can see a kinship to Cesar Aira’s “Varamo.”

source: Two Lines, no.18: Counterfeits, edited by Luc Sante & Rosanna Warren, published by the Center for the Art of Translation. 2011.

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