Is Big Other a failure? Of course, in every way.
See the proof below from our own AD Jameson, who ever-so-mildly breaks the rules of this column (submit!: see this), by stating that he might return to his long-suffering project, detailed below. Even so, we may root for his continued and everlasting failure on this project, can’t we? It’s the least we can do in the esprit de corps that is this collaborative blog.
Nearly twelve years ago, at the end of the millennium, I started writing a book called “The Music Novel.” It was set in Seattle in two different time periods: 1993–4 and 1999, contrasting the heyday of the grunge movement (culminating with Kurt Cobain’s suicide) with the fin de siècle WTO protests. It was something of a statement, I suppose, on “The 1990s,” though I was much more interested in formalist experimentation: the rift in time afforded a chance to contrast different versions of the same characters. I even toyed with some silly idea of presenting the earlier time at the tops of each page, the latter period at the bottoms, with a page tear separating them. (I was playing a lot in those days with photocopiers, and had a fondness for torn and overlapped pages.)
For the next five years, I made copious notes—hundreds and hundreds of pages of plot details, character descriptions, period research, complex thematic structures. The project swelled to encompass topics as disparate as Chinese dragons, the Book of Revelations, shrinking penis disorder, and the lost kingdom of Lemuria. (It’s OK to laugh. I laugh about it now, too.) But despite my feverish note-making, what I didn’t do is any actual writing. “The Music Novel” became a book that I instead thought about in cafes, for hours on end (an imaginary novel).