(Newton Jasper Love
The most famous person nobody has heard of.

Prose as Jazz

In music, we can have classical, chamber, folk, country, blue-grass, blues, R&B, rock, jazz...

In written words, poetry is closely associated with music, often supplying the lyrics to the tunes.

Apart from that, is there anything that can be done in the realm of words like is done in the realm of music? Can a novel, or sections of it, be written in jazz? How about country & western?

Or, looking to the visual arts, is there a words on paper method like Van Gogh applied paint?

Why I ask, is that I am currently struggling to find a word method to provide the reader with the experience of a wild party.

The reality is that the reader is usually alone, curled up with a book in a quiet place. I cannot give them a beverage, no mixed drink, wine, or beer. I can't pump the actual sounds of the band and the cheering crowd into their ears, nor will the floor and walls actually vibrate. The reader's room won't be filled to SRO capacity, with strange and exotic people giving the reader mischievous eyes. The effects of second-hand smoking (even if it is pot) will not be at hand.

Is there any word method that will cause the reader to be caught-up in the reading so that they will feel like they had really attended, like an altered state, instead of sitting alone in a room reading the book?

Could the thick application of over-the-top metaphors, crammed closely together achieve it through a Van Gogh-ish overloading of the imagery? Could something else do it, or is there just a fundamental limitation of the literary form that altering the state of the reader/observer is impossible?

I tried to write such a party scene. and presented it to a critique group. The group's eyes were tone-deaf to what I tried to infuse into the scene. When I explained I was trying to use words like Van Gogh used paint, I received blank stares, shocked expressions, and my favorite, the "did you just step off the 12:15 shuttle from Alpha Centari?"

Okay, my first attempt failed. I may never find it, but I will keep looking.

I realize that language has grammar, syntax, and structure, but I believe that they exist to aid in communication, and not to restrict it. Just as Jazz broke rules in classical music, in an attempt to communicate new emotions through a new form in music, I want to write jazz prose. I hope to find find some readers that are in my groove.

In my universe, writers obey all the laws, except when they will make a story dry and boring. The POV police will lose their ticket books if they write a citation for something like "He could see his wife was angry." Strict POV rules will not allow the guy to state what is in his wife's head, since he is not a mind reader. Meanwhile, everyone but the POV police understand exactly what is happening, and are willing to believe that the husband has a clue or two about what his wife's emotional state is. If you don't believe it, flip it to a woman who sees her husband's anger. Now will you call off the POV police?

Likewise, I see no reason for all sentences to be complete sentences. If that part of the novel jumps, hops, and drives the reader to turn the page, then correcting the grammar often ruins it for readers, except maybe Conan the Grammarian.


 

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