Symphony is an amazing work by Jerry Schroeder, a 1,000 page epic journey through initiation and the magical universe. Check out some samples at Quizmeta .
This is the third part of my interview with Jerry on his multidimensional book. Check out the first part here, and the second part here.
The work can be read straight through or by following other vectors that are actually hidden narratives within the text itself. Why did you structure the narrative in this way? How difficult was it to get the mechanics sorted out?
Mainly to catch the complexity of experience that I in this intercranial incarnation as an averaged out humnaoid actually experience. The multiple font portion took 3 years to write and collate. It has some fairly strict formal and numerical constraints, the kind that can slow writing speed down to a sentence or less a day.
There are a couple of instances with there is a meta-commentary on the structure/intent of the text itself (for instance, on page 514 and on Page 601). Are these accurate assessments of Symphony from within the text? Within the text, the narrative is connected through several dimensions simultaneously. Does this metacommentary show that the work is conscious of itself? Is the work connected (or interconnected) to the “real” world as a possibility or alternate universe?
To the best of my knowledge. There are actually many, many more (arguably every word in the book). (“Diamonds, Fur Coat, Champagne” by Suicide playing.) One working title was The Living Book. Certainly, among numerous other cababallistic possibilities.
There is the occasional “typo.” Are they intentional? For example, Loa Tzu on 461 instead of Lao Tzu, (given that Loa a reference to spirits in voodoo).
I thought there was a shitload floda typos. Then again, one aeon’s typo is another’s codex key. On page X it says “Every typo is deliberate.” On page Y it says there is no typoes or gramatcal mistakes, “ or something some such. This is all true. This book has been very heavily edited. Rev, you’re bang on the old voodoo drum with ol Loa Tzu. Loa Tzu and inverse corollary esoteric action in the swamp all end up at the beginning of yet another consensus meltdown downtown and all around.
The typo-like constructions gring the reader to the moment of compisition, just as a pianist might be to a keyboard etcm puts one there.
One thing I would note would be vis a vis the grammar. In the book, there are numerous grammatical constructions that appear, ahem, rawtha “exotic,” if not downright WRONG (sick and wrong?), particularly in the poly(p)modal fugue sections. One clue I would give the more normatively inclined reader would be to track her/his sense of this as these shaky grammatical moments oscillate back and forth between suspect structures and elliptical constructions. Look at Joyce for some less schizophrenic uses of such structures, Stein too of course. One of the disappointments of my mortal existence as a reader of contemporary literature is witnessing the extent to which deep grammar doesn’t seem to get exploited for its entheogenic possibilities.
Reading these constructions with full attention to rhythm also allows one much more access to meaning, and gives a better understanding of the book’s title. Also read while focusing melodically.
Each page is designed as a single unit even within this larger project. Can you talk more about the reasoning for that?
Hologrammatic all-one-on perception of inifinity, universe in every grain of sand, panels from the walls of heaven, as Kenneth Patchen might have putted it. The single pages are designed to give the reader a massive magical hit from all 32 paths on the tree plus some select secret ones on each page. Each page is also a work of visual art, albeit a bit subtle and conceptual. Think Joseph Beuys. Each page a scrying panel.
Joyce influenced the fugue: each font shift acts as a mass conceptual pun. Also sentences, paragraphs, pages all function as puns within puns right down to the quark level. In particular, pages act as pun structures, especially the fugal.
How does this work reflect your own concept of a magickal universe?
In more ways than I can describe: at least 64, to tip one’s blade to that sense of an I-Ching exacto knife. All space-time unified in a traversible web of secret paths.
With the structure, there seems to be a nod to Deleuze and Guattari’s idea of the rhizome. If so, how is this expressed in the book?
Yes. Repeating spatial arrangements, words that demonstrate multiple schizoid identities and interconnection.
Stay tuned. The final part will be coming soon.