Since June 3, I’ve been on an artist residency at Crosstown Arts in Memphis (a fantastic residency program; applications for 2020 close today!). While here, I’ve been doing a major revision (including a restructure) of the penultimate chapter of my novel-in-progress. The revision has been going well, in many ways better than I had anticipated. I found it so hard to revise the chapter while in Toronto and being on this residency has been so important.
Each chapter of my novel addresses a philosophical question and this chapter considers the question “Can only one religion be true?” This has been the most difficult question yet for me to address in the novel (and I had thought that tackling “Does God exist?” was hard!). The chapter will likely be about 30,000 words—also the longest chapter in the novel yet.
One of the most exciting developments in my practice since I began writing this novel is the way that I’ve been mashing up thought across many academic disciplines and fields. The mix is becoming more variegated and more extravagantly digressive with each chapter. My current chapter not only draws from scholarly thought about religious diversity, but about many other topics: the role of the chorus in musicals, playful uses of public space, queer futures, how slaves and robots are imagined in literature and film, viewing librarianship through the framework of critical librarianship, and a lot more. It is, I hope, a rich mix, especially on top of all the pop cultural influences in my work. And on top of all of that, the chapter is also a time travel story and I riff on time travel in many ways throughout.
As an example of not only my treatment of time travel but the chapter’s interdisciplinarity, here is an excerpt. I was interested in the idea of reading as a form of time travel, so I sought out literature on the temporality of reading experiences. This is the result—a musing by one of the characters in the chapter (you may also recognise a pop cultural reference too):
One more thing: on Tuesday 23rd, 6–8pm, I’ll be among the Crosstown Arts summer session resident artists giving a PechaKucha artist talk. PechaKucha is a presentation format in which the presenter shows 20 slides, speaking about each slide for 20 seconds. The event is in the East Atrium at Crosstown Arts, Level 2, 1350 Concourse Ave, Memphis (here’s the link to the Facebook event). If you’re in town, I would love to see you there.