[This initially appeared as a guest post on the Boulder Writers Workshop blog.]
Into the Green Green Mud: A Novel (with pictures).
December 16, 2006. I was sitting at my computer, listening to music and chatting with my friend Mary Beechy. We talked about divorce and wrote absurdist poetry together, alternating lines. In my background, CocoRosie sang:
I once fell in love with you
just because the sky turned from gray
I thought of John Lennon’s early poem:
I sat belonely down a tree,
humbled fat and small.
A little lady sing to me
I couldn’t see at all.
I thought of love starting, and love ending, and the clouds passing. I thought of the benign indifference of the universe, and Albert Camus, and shooting a man because the sun was in my eyes. I thought about the theatre of Michelle Milne, the writings of Charles Mee Jr, and the absurdist science of Douglas Hofstadter. I thought about “Like Water for Chocolate” and the classics filled with eternal love, and it made me curious.
Is There Love Without Eternity?
What’s this obsession we have with eternity, and how do we deal with the ephemeral? Life is so transient some times; nothing seems to stay where we left it last. The clouds shift, and friends move away. The sun moves from the three hand to the four, and squirrels are collecting nuts, so where does that leave us?
I started writing. I discovered characters who float from one idea to the next because they hear a song, and remember a book, and then move out west. They see a tree, and hum a poem, and head on home for hot chocolate (when it starts raining). I followed their lead, and let myself be moved by everything around me: music, work, conversations, associations, movies, references, sounds, architecture.
I wrote a novel, and it was a poem, and I called it “Into the Green Green Mud.” But coming from an experimental theatre background, where script and performance are distinct entities, the text was only the beginning. How would I “perform” this novel? The standard performance of a novel is justified black text on white paper. But is that really the best way to explore time and love and change and the weather?
Ann Bogart insists that theatre can be more than speaking dialogue from a script. Theatre can be everything that is possible in space, time, sound, and story: all together at once. And then theatre can be all of us remembering the things we were reminded of. Can a novel be all that as well? Can we break down the boundary between mediums, and use everything at our disposal to communicate with an audience?
By Any Medium Necessary.
The first performance of Into the Green Green Mud is under way, and I’d like you to be a part of it. We’re starting online, with original illustrations, animations, fonts, and music. OddBird will write the code, and Teacup Gorilla will write the music. From there we can make it a reading, a rock concert, a book, or all of these things at once.
This Saturday, March 31, at 8pm I will perform a few selected chapters as a reading, along with projected images and live music, and four of my collaborators reading from their own work.
The reading is free, but we’re also raising money to complete the production and cover our costs. We can’t do it without you, and we’re running low on time. Will you join us?
Read a sample of Into the Green Green Mud: http://greengreenmud.com
And help bring this strange beast into the world: http://rkthb.co/6066