'If the intention is to support the text, all your movements will simply be there to support the words. In reversing the process and leaving the text alone we allow the movement to become more dominant; it will reveal aspects of character and behavior that you could never find if you simply 'follow the words'.'

   Life on Land, Emilie Conrad.

Emilie Conrad was a choreographer, amongst other things. She is talking here about translating a written text into a performance in space. 'Supporting' and 'following' are analogous to 'serving' here, while 'leaving something be' frees up the essential part of it, imbueing it with a life of its own while simultaneously creating something new.

     One of the things I grew to hate about academia is how I had to dissect texts and in the process they became reduced and 'dead' to me, whereas before they had been living, dynamic, breathing, constantly shifting. A little bit later Conrad speaks about her modus operandi, which is 'getting a feel' of where to go and how to do something, rather than following a predetermined 'text' literally. This is sometimes how I felt I was working when my writing was going well. But I was always aware of the limitation words imposed and sometimeswished I was working in a different medium.

              Note 5:

Leaving the Text Alone

     Movement, appearance and sound convey more (subjective) information than words can. We apparently form (a pretty reliable) impression of someone within 30 seconds of meeting - or seeing - them. This is not to say that the subjectively derived meaning can necessarily be translated back into words however. I am sure all of us could tell much about a person by watching him talk or move on a video with the sound muted. Probably more than we could by reading a text of a personal statement he made about himself.

     I want to move towards ways of communicating that do not rely mainly upon words.


stories and things



leaving the text alone

Beckett and mysticism

why real directors are writers

Dr Seuss and Tom McCarthy

why the novelist's job is harder than God's

the thing about autobiographical fiction

how to write a successful novel

George Herbert and Judith McPherson

the value of not doing

thoughts on TLOD

don't judge a book

things I was thinking when writing TLOD

time, words, are the enemy

the master's voice


why I didn't want to write anymore

the value of not knowing

when do you give up on a book?


what makes a book great

divine fancy


time, identity and fiction