One of the most fascinating aspects of myths in general is how there are so frequently variations of the “same” stories.
I mean this in a few senses, but, primarily, consider, say, the stories of Heracles and Hercules, and, secondarily, consider Joseph Campbell‘s concept of the monomyth. I’ll introduce the tertiary consideration later.
Further, the Labours shall use the exact memeoems from the Epic, just reordered, remixed, re-cut.
And, the Labours will significantly shape the prose of the novel, “The Marvelous Saga of the MERCANARY™.”
The tertiary sense of variations of myths focuses (perhaps) more on interpretation. Roland Barthes engages the rhetoric of myth in his theories on semiotics (how meaning is made, how communication functions, etc.).
An Occam’s razor explanation: consider how the reader/viewer/listener brings with them a whole set of biases, attitudes, values, beliefs, and more when they encounter any communicated expression, and that set determines how they might interpret any message.
These memeoems are meant to explode meaning; they ought to have great variance in how they are read.
The prose of the novel will be clearer than the memeoems, without a doubt, but readers should still expect a great deal of coy obfuscation, ambiguity, and wordplay.
By the time the novel is in print, this whole project will be a strange intermedial loop of potential interpretations of the work as a whole.
I’d like to tease a few points about this work-in-progress.
These are “The Revelations of the MERCANARY™” …
I am not mad. While this is a project that plays with themes of identity, psyche, dreams, the supernatural, and more, I assure you that I am deliberately navigating this terrain as reasonably as any writer. Bear with me until it’s in print.
However, I am literally writing a method into what otherwise must appear as complete madness. This leads to the SECOND REVELATION (which is rather lengthy).
Much is already written. The plot is outlined, and maybe 20% of the rough draft is complete. For the remainder of writing the rough draft, I’m taking inspiration from dadaism.
MERCANARY™ began as a ‘zine, became the trademark of PROBLEMATIC PRESS, sought idolization through OPERATION: MERC(H)ANARY™, transitioned to Instagram for the memeoem epic and labours, and will eventually become a sort of gonzo picaresque novel.
Here is where the method enters the madness.
There are 100 slides in the epic (99 + 1 across two highlight reels). Employing a type of cut-up technique, the first 99 memeoems in the epic will find their way into the novel. Additionally, those 99 memeoems will be used to craft the labours.
Each memeoem consists of three fundamental aspects: audio, imagery, and an original poetic line (or the absence of a line to signal a break).
I have numbered each memeoem in the sequence and noted each of these three aspects for every memeoem.
The notes are cut up as slips. The slips are crumpled into balls. The 99 balls of each aspect will be placed into three of my hats, shaken rigorously, and then allotted. Those 297 balls will be evenly distributed to each of the nine “chapters” of the novel, and this lottery will dictate the memeoems that become the Labours.
The audio shall provide the Soundtrack for each of the “chapters” in the rough draft. I shall make and share playlists for each as writing progresses. I will listen to each on repeat as I write the corresponding “chapter.”
The imagery will provide the Cues for each “chapter,” which I will use as prompts for themes or imagery or some other allusion or reference. These will also be mixed into the labours, meaning the memeoems from the epic shall appear in multiple labours. This is myth-making.
The original poems will provide the A’s. A is for Appreciation. The MERCANARY™ epic is a lengthy appreciation memeoem, hence these are the A’s you are looking for. Since I am the author, these will be directly incorporated into the rough draft. Again, this lottery will help form the labours, so expect a lot of multiplicity in the memeoems.
I seek to challenge myself with this intermedia-writing project, and I am confident that each prompt will make it into the rough draft.
However, I make no promises as to what gets cut while revising and editing. This ought to be at least somewhat coherent by the time it goes to print.