Spooky action at a distance. Charting the quantum wave/particles of narrative.
Cally Phillips on the (personal) impact of Brand Loyalty
When I wrote Brand Loyalty I was deliberately doing a number of things. Here’s a couple:
- I was fed up with failing to communicate through writing. I’d tried to tell this ‘story’ for some 15 years and yet no one seemed interested. I decided I’d give it one last go – and that would be MY last word on what I wanted to say about the world I found myself in. It wasn’t pretty.
- I had this sort of thought experiment – that I would write ‘versions’ of my life and life’s possibilities. Helen (among other things) was a vision of who I might become and my thought was that if I wrote this, it would be less likely to happen in reality (there’s the spooky…) Pryce was who I might have become if I’d not ‘jumped ship’ from my ‘career’ in the 1980s.
But for me, writing is about more than sales, it’s about reader as communicant. In our modern world the possibilities for reader and writer to connect are many. We should have developed beyond the Victorian cult of writer as celebrity and the internet/social media, offers the opportunity for virtual communication of both shallow and deep natures. It’s one of my great sadnesses that people, who claim to love reading so much, fail to seem to value the opportunities to communicate about that reading. I’m not talking five star reviews to get more sales, I’m talking real, meaningful communication between writer and reader about the content, ideas, hopes and dreams – the very worlds – conjured up and explored by both parties involved in the relationship.
As open communication, Brand Loyalty hadn’t found anyone who really wanted to discuss it with me over a good five years. Disappointing for me, who writes to communicate. But what can you do? If people don’t want to talk, they don’t want to talk.
Of course I didn’t give up writing altogether, I just took off on some different paths. Writing is always part of it. Same but different. Always trying to learn. Always trying to communicate. [Fail again. Fail better] But I kind of gave up trying to play nicely with other kids. After a good five years of trying to ‘engage’ with the virtual world through a variety of projects designed to encourage open communication about books, stories, reading, narrative, writing (beyond the commercial imperative) I was scunnered. People really do just seem to want to ‘create brands’ and buy or sell them. Since I fundamentally believe that creativity should not be an industry, (it certainly isn’t for me), I started exploring my own inner worlds.
Then I met a quark. Who got Brand Loyalty. Really got it. And we started to talk, about it, about narrative and all sorts of things.
And this sparked me into starting on the ‘companion’ volume to Brand Loyalty. It’s to be called Big Data. From early on I’d had an idea that there would be another ‘perspective’ to the Brand Loyalty story, but the quark has helped me to find a really great one.
I’ve started fleshing out the structure and design. And that’s all well and good, though very difficult as I’m trying to do some new things with narrative (while not looking so weird as to be unreadable by those for whom communication has to be simple). But something else has now happened – spooky action at a distance.
[spoiler altert for BL] The Quark didn’t like that Nike died. I didn’t like it either but apart from being a) linked to The Iliad structurally and so inevitable, b) a radical thing to do in a novel – killing off someone quite ‘randomly’ and without fuss half way through and c) it suited the ‘story’ , I found I couldn’t avoid doing it. So he had to go. I always hoped to bring him back in Big Data in some way, but it was going to be through a sort of basic parallel narrative… now we’re into a quantum world and the rules have been thrown out the window.
Nike won’t live. But Nick will. And what a rich world is going to develop out of his ‘storied existence.’
How about Helen? It’s possible (intentionally) to read Brand Loyalty either as the story of a women living ‘in her head’ with dementia, or an actual ‘reality.’ I don’t favour one or the other. Both are equally ‘true.’ There’s a happy and an unhappy ending all at the same time. But she never loves Big Brother. That’s the most important thing.
Remember I said that I part wrote Helen as an insurance policy against my own possible future. Well, when the Quark said he was so sad by either/both reading/s of Helen, I had an epiphany. Know what – meeting the quark, communicating the ‘story’ of Brand Loyalty has in fact ‘saved’ me from being Helen (at least for now – and therefore if we use quantum temporality…?) I’m not going to get hung up on temporality just now, but me and the quark are discussing (and exploring) the quantum possibilities for the Brand Loyalty world and its characters and this impacts upon our own ‘experience’ of so called ‘real’ worlds. ‘It’s our world too’ has never been more true.
Most of this will mean nothing to most people. To me and the Quark it means everything. We have deep and honest communication and what do I care for breadth when I can have depth. As a quantum wave/particle ‘continuum’ we continue to explore the ‘story’ and Big Data, like Brand Loyalty are just the hooks we hang things on. Or maybe they are the jumping off points –from reality into something a whole lot better – the possibilities of infinite worlds in which all moments are one moment.
Hey Mr E.M.Forster. I take your ‘only connect’ and raise it to ‘all moments are one moment.’ It's time to play quantum poker.