How Mental Is Experimental Writing?

An individually universal experiment

(ex-pe-ri-men-tal [1] wri-ting [2])[3]

Image for post
Image for post

[5], [6], [7], [8]

sassy mind
solar arm
matcha sole [9], [10]

/ɛkˌspɛrɪˈmɛnt(ə)l ˈrʌɪtɪŋ/ [11]

an unfledged thought,
simmering, complete
in its in com ple tion. [12]

experiment = complete in its incompletion [13]

/ -t(ə)l/ [14]

[1] Lexico says: “based on untested ideas or techniques and not yet established or finalized” OR “relating to scientific experiments” OR “involving a radically new and innovative style” OR “based on experience as opposed to authority or conjecture (archaic)”

[2] Lexico says: “the activity or skill of writing” OR “the activity or occupation of composing text for publication”

[3] So, what is it, the nature of “experimental writing”? Is it a way to produce a text that is incomplete, fragmented, broken — in other words, unfit for publication? Or is it a “technique” one first has to invent in order to expand the canon of publishable writing? If the latter is true, how far does a writer need to push? How much is too little, how much is too much?

[4] Katerina Nikoltsou from the International Union of Mail Artists

[5] Is Dadaism an example of “too much”? What is the point of communicating if you are not understood? Or is Dadaist poetry just a reduced form of writing that has abandoned any structural nuisances such as syntax? A sort of universal language everyone can interpret, but the meaning will be different to each of us? Individually universal?

[6] Since language is arbitrary, is the only way to create meaning through De Saussure’s theory of sign, uniting the signifier with the signified?

[7] Perhaps experimental writing is not here to communicate anything. It is an attempt to reach the unconscious mind and glimpse the language as generated by the brain when it’s still raw and unedited by self-censorship.

[8] Wait a minute, does that mean experimental writing does not have to — or even should not — be edited?

[9] An experiment: random words that came to my mind, unedited. Is this enough? Does writing ever have to be enough? Enough for whom? The writer, the reader, the publisher?

[10] An experiment doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone, but it should lead to something new. Writing captures thought. Experimental writing creates new thoughts.

[11] How do you showcase a new thought? In writing or as a sound or as an image?

[12] Is poetry more experimental than prose because it allows the writer to create meaning through sound and form (image) at the same time?

[13] Experiment does not need to provide any definite answers. No answers are also answers: we know that we don’t know.

[14] My creative essay tutor and expert in all things experimental tells me that I can do whatever I want when writing my experiment, my creative-critical essay; but she also adds that “there are some rules, of course”. What rules is she ‘of-course’ talking about? Physical laws or societal norms or boundaries of the publishing industry or limits of academia or limitations of the human mind? Who put the audible sigh at the end of “experimental”, forcing an ending on the simmering experiment?

Creative Writing student in Nottingham. Published by The London Magazine, Ambit, Firewords, Poetry Society, The Moth, Acumen, etc. On Twitter as @VitovaDenisa

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