This article has been a long time in coming - I apologize for the delay, and rather than spit out a list of reasons why I didn't have this published two months ago I'll just say that I dropped the ball, and beg your indulgence. I hope that the meager content I managed to produce is worth the wait, and so without further ado -
Exquisite Corpse - Let There Be Plot
Some of you who know me know that I'm a big fan of Narrative - I am terribly fascinated by the way stories work, the way we use the idea of "plot" to make sense of our reality. Life as lived is nothing more than one random event after another - it's our values, ideologies, emotions and beliefs that compel us to interpret these events as parts of some larger context; it's the fundamentally human drive to turn sequence into story that allows us to find any meaning in life at all.
So with that in mind, I present you with this contribution to The Book. I used my three panels to produce abstract verbal representations of the three stages of a story - beginning, middle, and end. I extrapolated on these concepts, I made some reasonable associations between concepts and followed various flights of fancy into a few real stretches.
The idea is simple: if every page that everyone contributes to this book is effectively some "random" element to be taken in conjunction with the "random" elements contributed by others, then I see an immediate analog to life. Each individual piece of paper in this book is a life experience, and by giving the reader the ability to interject "beginnings", "middles" and "ends" into the midst of these concepts I hope to allow readers to tell stories of their own with the finished product.
A note on Dialectic
By the way - I know I said beginning middle and end, but I suffer from an acute tendency towards abstraction. In order to cram more concepts into the framework I used, I decided to steal a bit from Hegel (with my apologies) and frame the entire narrative structure as a dialectic. The beginning is the thesis - the initial conditions, the way the story starts. The middle is actually the anti-thesis - it's a perceived conflict between two states which seem unable to coexist. Finally, the conclusion is the synthesis - it's the resolution of said conflict.
A Note on the Images
The images included with this article are incorrect. You'll note that they look terrible - my handwriting is offensive to human eyes, let alone the eyes of gods and children. I wrote it all up in spite of that, and when my lovely girlfriend Ryan took one look at it she demanded I tear out the pages I'd written and allow her to rewrite them.
Unfortunately, I do not have photographs of the final product. It was passed on before I realized I needed to retake the photos. So, I'm including these original images - but if anyone in the future would be so kind as to take a few shots of page two, I'll replace the images in this article.
The final part of this whole book project involves a Flash-powered flip-book and I am assuming that all contributions will be re-shot to be uniformly sized once the whole thing is done (Steve?) but yeah - there you have it. The real contribution is prettier.