‘The Damnation of Fist – a Tragedy’ is more the product of my aggregated reactions to everything I have ever read than born of an essential desire to write a novel (which word I still find oddly discomfiting; yet let it stand).
I have read more and more as the years have passed because I have found myself less and less able to meekly acquiesce to the generally accepted wisdom of the world as it has continued to present itself to me. Such convictions as had been haphazardly gathered to me throughout the course of my (fairly unremarkable) life seemed increasingly ill-founded as the years wore on, until even the very ground upon which I had cobbled together, what I had once taken to be, a whole world-view proved entirely too unreliable to continue to lend it sustainable credit.
Since for me the miraculous phenomenon of existence was such a compelling object of thought, I found it imperative to seek solid foundations upon which to stand in order to truly consider and appreciate it. This I did by plunging myself, as completely as the commonly accepted necessities of life would allow, into the world of written thought.
As time went on I found that the sheer scale of my endeavour easily overwhelmed my power to discern any particular direction in which I was being led. So I began to garner ideas which particularly fascinated me – tiny and huge – from each work; gathering them together, along with what of my own observations were prompted, in vast files on my computer.
Eventually, over time, I began to glean little patterns in this mounting assemblage, and discovered that most thoughts led tantalisingly to other, often apparently unrelated thoughts, creating a web from the threads of this hotchpotch introspection of mine. And yet, as the web grew to the point that I began to feel it might actually yield me a tiny fly or two of something actually meaningful, I realised that any attempt to fix my terms ― methodically to categorise and relate them to each other ― so to demonstrate such philosophical conclusions at which I might arrive was far beyond the power of my most unscientific mind. With such further reading ahead of me as is bounded only by the brevity of life, this dilemma would only become more hopelessly intractable.
But, of course, art not only feeds on itself but positively thrives on ambiguity, so when the idea of a subject presented me the opportunity to turn the whole task in on itself, I decided I would encourage what would of the snarl of interlinked thinkings to coalesce around a story (and science be damned!)
It will be quite plain which particular piece sparked this idea and its creator is accredited first and foremost, yet it was just the gravitational centre around which the novel formed, pulling much material inspired by many, many others into its orbit (and not only material from the realms of literature). Some as they appear in the novel are less obvious than others, although some survived the descent to land intact in the form of quotes and paraphrases which, I trust, enrich my lonely new world’s bare landscape with precious meteors of shining substance. I must therefore fully acknowledge all such contributions as are here quoted, paraphrased, echoed, suggested and generally exploited.
What is more, I must also acknowledge the many wondrous moments of delighted and excited thinking they have all inspired. Should this novel never have seen the light of day outside my computer’s hard disk, I should still consider it one of the most enjoyable, inspiring, rewarding and significant exercises I have ever undertaken.
CITATIONS AND REFERENCES