Check out the first part here.
What is the origin story for the book? How did you come up with the idea for it?
The “story,” such as it might be, originates out of an initiation that caused me to have to process between 65 and 70 complete, and at times extremely contradictory and quarelsome, realities at once. In some ways, the experience has resonance with Philip K. Dick’s Valis transmission. Indeed, looking at the recently published version of the Exegesis, I’d say there are a fair number of overlaps, though I processed the experience rather differently. By the time of the experience I had read some excerpts from the Exegesis in Dick’s Selected Non-Fiction Prose. I read Sutin’s edition of the Exegesis in around 2002. Of course I knew about the experience, had read Albemuth and the Valis trilogy. At the same time, it’s a mode of expression I’ve spent my entire infinite life attempting to develop. It’s also embedded within an experience of path 25/Samekh/Temperance/Art. Leadbelly, “Outshine the Sun” playing.
Can you talk about the structure of the novel?
It’s actually not a novel, though there’s one thread that’s slightly quasi-fictionalized. Of course, from the perspective of that one hologrammatic thread, yes, I suppose Symphony could be read as fiction. Otherwise, it’s reportage, an interview of a transtemporal, multispatial, metaquizzical averaged entity, though not a memoir, and not tempura. Many renditions of what it “is” do not really emerge until after I dies. So not a memoir, and also because that genre implies memory of the past, while what gets described in Symphony goes constantly. Sorry bout that. Think of Castenada, perhaps. The only mostly fully fictional work I’ve completed is The Great Time, Book 1. There are also fictional components to Every Atom Has a Holiday. And of course, Rev, there’s our co-written epic in progess, that torque-wrenching tale of heartbreak and triumph in the bionic age, Deus Fever.
Structure-wise, the book has a number of interlocking aspects. One obviously consists of the 32 paths of the Hermetic Kaballa. Another is the I-Ching. The numerical constraints/openings that are present on every page of the book take form from these operational algorithms, among others. It also has numerical and phonological structurings at the sentence and line levels. Structure is something I will leave a lot unsaid about, as the book is designed to structurally unfold in the reader’s mind as a process of self-initiated idiosyncratic comprehension. Overall, though, one could perhaps say that it has fractal and hologrammatic and self-embedding and paradoxical structural aspects. Penderrecki, Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, playing.
The multi-font fugue can also be perceived as witch writing. As well, on page 482 the text notes that it is a Gott shell, which is a means of time travel that functions by contracting and re-expanding timelines. The multi-font writing also functions as machine elf speech, among other dialects, ideolects, and languages.
Still more to come!