Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A thought

The Half-Continent is as real to me as a memory of a great holiday; sure, I went to an actual place for my holiday, but now the cherished memory is the only reality of that time left to me, and it is with such a sweet sense of recollection that I call up to mind any location - or person, or event - of the Half-Continent.

Indeed I would go so far as to propose to you, that any such device of creation - art, books, film, music - that has truly moved us occupies such a place in our soul/mind and as such, has a force and influence on us as enduring as any real event.

'Tis a theory of mine...

Not sure why I write this, but I have, and now you have read it.


H said...

Hey D.M, is Factotum out yet? I thought it was but I just wandered around all of the book stores in the largest shopping centre in south east Queensland, and not one of the stores had MBT3. However, what was a little more unsettling was that none of them had any copies of MBT1 or 2 either. Seems a bit strange to me, maybe you should get onto your publisher ... dunno.

Anonymous said...

I agree absolutely, though of course the medium and the work itself will affect each person differently - a kind of "results may vary" of artistry, if you will.

I look at it this way - I've never been north of the equator. So pick a country.. say France. I don't know much about it. Interesting food, european weather, that's probably about it.

However I've read three small tomes detailing the Half-Continent and how people live there so - to my mind at least - it's more readily perceptible.

I think Tom Stoppard put it best - England is perhaps just a conspiracy of cartographers, until you have physical proof. Maybe then so is the Half-Continent.


Greg Mitchell said...

I feel exactly the same way about my little world "The Coming Evil" :) Thanks for sharing this :)

Unknown said...

Well put. I never remembered the Half-Continent until picking up Foundling a couple years back, but ever since then, it feels as real as any other place I visited in the past. More real than some.

ellorneo said...

I often say that a place isn't real until I've seen it, and thereafter it's only you that knows it is real. I get lost in so many stories that I read that those places become more real than the places I have been. The beauty of books is that it actually uses the mind for what it was made, imagining and bringing such thoughts to reality!

Keep up the great writing! I can't wait for Factotum, although I have to :-P

The Coopers said...

It's a beautiful thing.

Anonymous said...

I loved Factotum, I stalked my copy of it for a week (waiting for pay day) so I could get it. The ending... well for those that haven't read it, I wonder if there will be another.
But for now I have the three books lined up together in my bookshelf. I was wondering if you ever considered publishing the art of Half-Continent. A collection of sorts of the art that you created.

BrandenRose said...

I think that not only do books leave a lasting and memorable impression in our hearts, souls, and minds, they are more memorable than real places or events because you can relive what happens any time you like by diving once more into the world and rereading the books :) That's why, with the US release of book 3 creeping oh so close I can say that even when the close of it has been read, I'll still always be able to keep living in this glorious realm as I re-read and re-read the once-in-a-lifetime stories again and again.

Darter Brown said...

Agree absolutely Mr. Cornish. Only the present is real. The past and future are just constructs in our mind, no different to the constructs of a story.

Consider: When memories are recalled, they are enhanced/altered by the present reality. Re-reading a book, as BrandenRose says, often brings forth more clarity and splendour as the memories have been "enhanced" so many times be recallection.

I have witnessed the altering of ones memories, and therefore "reality", through years of observation of another suffering depression. One would taint and sometimes radically change her perceived reality by recalling memories whilst in a depressed present state of mind. This process would be repeated to reinforce a more negative "reality".

Yes, stories are truely just as "real" once they occupy the same realm, that concept we call mind.

Unknown said...

So is the art the object (The film, painting, book, piece of music)? or the reaction (Joy, pain, excitement, memories, images, emotions, pictures) that the object invokes? Where does authorial intention fit into this question? Or the balance between intention and reader (viewer/ listener) response?

Darter Brown said...

Art is created in the object, but the aim of art is to invoke a reation. One without the other is meaningless.
What would van Gogh's sunflowers be to someone who did not see colour? Certainly not having invoked the same response as for myself.
Authorial intention ends with the completion of the art, some mediums such as writing would reasonably extend intention, however something like expressionistic painting may be less successful in the continuation of the authors intent.

curiousmoth said...

i think when you have put this much time into worldbuilding, the fictional creation really does begin acting as if it is a real place. the amount of detail put into the half-continent also makes it ripe for exploration by fanfiction writers and artists, who produce new stories and so develop the world. exciting!!

ps: my sister brought home Factotum from her school library. i had to skim-read through it because of exams, but i very much liked the action scenes and the fact that we got to see more of certain characters (and also, by chance looked at the acknowledgements page....that was so surprising. thank you!!)

monday said...

Truly, the mind is a confusing thing.
I don't understand the half of how it works, but I do know that A) my own fictional world/universe/place/what-have-you-story-setting is indeed as real in my head as any memory, and
B) I am neither delusional or psychotic. [probably.]
Stories are wondrously powerful things. It is no wonder that the Lord speaks through them so often.

Not to keep beating a dead horse, but the word verification thingy says ''Destring''. Just thought you should know.

Sam Hranac said...

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
~ Einstein

Everything you can imagine is real.
~ Pablo Picasso

Anonymous said...

I find your theory rather reassuring, actually. When I was in my early teens and at my most voracious reading-wise I would sometimes look at books with a mixture of trepidation, excitement and a little bit of awe as I was forced to wonder how I would be different after I read them. I don't mean to come off as pretentious with that, but it is true. New books (or movies, music, etc) breed new ideas, planting them in the brain to tumble about together with everything else the individual has read/seen/heard/experienced. You simply aren't the same afterward.

And I would add that good world building can lead to that in particular. That's one reason why I am so fond of the Half Continent, it's a place one can immerse yourself in. A mental vacation, if you will. The language helps too, all the different words for things that are familiar but just slightly off almost forces the reader to consider the H-C as real, or at least makes it more real.
Delightful really, especially when I find myself discovering the "real life" words/inspiration behind the H-C ones. Recently I was doing a Wiki-Walk and found myself on the page for Thrombosis and suddenly the name for Thrombis made absolute and perfect sense. That thrill of discovery is so lovely. :)