The Extreme Importance of Porlock: Interruption and the Unfinished in The Valley of Fear and Sherlock
I promise a full meta on The Valley of Fear eventually just as soon as I figure it out, but for the moment, here’s a thing I noticed recently, thanks to an episode of BBC Radio 3′s Arts and Ideas podcast, Unfinished Art and Literature. The episode begins with a brief discussion of Coleridge’s preface to a 1797 collection of his poems, which included “Kubla Khan: A Vision in a Dream. A Fragment”. The poem represents two layers of unreality, because it describes a dream within an opium hallucination. It’s a fragmentbecause Coleridge was interrupted (he tells us in the preface) while writing it. This importantly rude person was a man from Porlock.
The Author continued for about three hours in a profound sleep, at least
of the external senses, during which time he has the most vivid
confidence, that he could not have composed less than from two to three
hundred lines; if that indeed can be called composition in which all the
images rose up before him as things, with a parallel production of the
correspondent expressions, without any sensation or consciousness of
effort. On awakening he appeared to himself to have a distinct
recollection of the whole, and taking his pen, ink, and paper, instantly
and eagerly wrote down the lines that are here preserved. At this
moment he was unfortunately called out by a person on business from
Porlock, and detained by him above an hour, and on his return to his
room, found, to his no small surprise and mortification, that though he
still retained some vague and dim recollection of the general purport of
the vision, yet, with the exception of some eight or ten scattered
lines and images, all the rest had passed away like the images on the
surface of a stream into which a stone had been cast, but, alas! without
the after restoration of the latter! (preface to Kubla Khan)
“I have to go back. I was nearly there, I nearly had it!” (The Abominable Bride)
For this reason, “the person from Porlock” has come to symbolize the interruption of a creative work. But, of course, the man from Porlock was Coleridge’s own invention. He interrupted himself deliberately, as part of the creative work.
1. Joe (an infant child) with his angry teeth-baring GRRR! face has mastered the Angry Elbow, but not so much the Angry Punch which despite the angryness of his teeth-baring GRRR! face is way more like a rib-tickling poke but hey, he IS very young.
2. Laurence (an angry choirmaster) on the other hand HAS fully mastered the Angry Punch although I think he’s as surprised as anyone – anyone being the guy standing behind him – at how effective and also painful the Angry Punch turned out to be.
3. Malcolm (an absolute bastard) is in this instance an absolute bastard for punching Poor Glenn in the first place and then making the extremely dubious claim he actually meant to hit the wall, but he’s REALLY an absolute bastard for making terrible puns about it afterwards.
4. The Doctor (an impassioned Time Lord) on the other hand absolutely DOES mean to hit the wall over
and over again
for what turns out to be literally four and half billion years until he finally breaks on through to the other side
Again, I can explain my reasons to you (and yeah, some of you keep deleting all this “commentary” stuff when reblogging, but still - I need to say it). See, I love the characters who are basically unstable and ambivalent psychos; well, I love any suffering expressed in any form of art IN GENERAL, because that somehow makes me feel less scared by the real world.
If you don’t know who is Christopher Carrion, go and read Clive Barker’s “Abarat”, because I’m not going to reveal the story of the character in too many spoilers [UPD.: whoooops, I’ve just realized that my previous “versions” of the character were disturbingly close to this one]. I mean it. The “Abarat” books are weird and incomplete, but stunningly beautiful in their unique painful fairytale style.
If there is still anyone surprised by the fact that somehow all the most disturbed characters I’ve recently painted have Ed Hogg’s face, go and watch the films he’s in. His characters can be nice; but the way he expresses all that suffering I’ve written above is truly a form of art, because he does that beautifully - so why not try painting something complicated yet again, just because I can?..
And - oh, go and thank @goblinidiota for introducing O.Children to me.
This image was painted while listening to their “Ruins” on repeat for many, many hours.
Have I done something like this before? I know I’ve done individual posts for the fights, but I don’t think I’ve put them all together before.to fully celebrate and appreciate Joe and Malcolm and Laurence’s awesome unarmed* fighting technique and hand-waving aftermath excellence. Or in Joe’s case, his adorable owie face.
It’s a little hard to tell because of the angles, but I’m pretty sure
they are making the exact same face in the first three gifs.
*The cardinal also has a pretty good fight scene, but I’m not including him since he successfully brought a fork to a knifefight.