Fiction, Philosophy, and Poetry Wrapped Around the Creal: On Writing the Novella ‘Who Killed the Poet?’
Often, when confronted with an up-close manifestation of what my brother called “The Creal,” that vital metamorphic lava of life as constant creation, we bury our gaze in the poster, the label, the package—like that photo of an anonymous old man Bardo took when he was in London with Ophelia, on the way to Oxford, where her father Peter Lovelace lived. On the back of the photo, my brother had written: We form ourselves to fit the pattern of the old days, of a time when nothing had yet been discovered on the other side of the limit of reality. We must be ready for another world to emerge, something beyond the daily business agenda. The blank-faced, and the lifeless, shall be buried. Intellect will be considered, sometimes, to collude with what it has denounced, for having sensed such mechanical absurdities, and yet failed to act. We are off to lands unknown, to breach every border. And nothing means anything in this world for us, except dying to be born again in the next and to create it, deep-rooted and dazzling, as one harpoons a monster. Already there emerge, in our murmurings, fields furrowed with our future deviactions.
This is an excerpt from Who Killed the Poet? (Snuggly Books, 2017), the English translation of the French novella Qui a tué le poète? (Max Milo, 2011), in which the Deleuze-inspired notion of Creal, first presented in the essay “Is a New Life Possible? Deleuze and the Lines” (Nous, 2009; Deleuze Studies, 2013) is allegorically unfolded in a tale of rebirth and rebellious esprit de corps, a textual machine in which philosophy, fiction, and poetry converge or diverge to create a physical experience of what our relationship with the Creal might be (see “On the Concept of Creal,” DARE 2015). Excerpts of Who Killed the Poet? will be assembled and manifested, in an attempt to answer the following questions: What does it mean for the same (?) author to write fiction, poetry, and philosophy around the same concept, and to what extent does it modify the author’s voice and life? Do genre nuptials produce a new unity, or an avoidance of unity (a resistance)? What are the forces at work behind the seven masks of Who Killed the Poet?: Ophelia Lovelace, Bardo Senior, Bardo Junior, Peter Lovelace, William Lovelace, Lea-Maria Spielswehk (an anagram of Shakespeare), and the narrator, Bardo’s twin?
The concept of “Creal” qualifies a non-anthropocentric universal of the kind proposed by modern process ontologies: “Creal” is akin to what Deleuze called “disparateness” or “second-degree difference,” what Deleuze and Guattari called “chaosmos” or “plane of immanence,” what Bergson called “duration,” “creative evolution,” or “life,” and what Whitehead called “creativity process,” adding that “creativity is the universal of universals characterizing the ultimate matter of fact.” The Creal does not seem to be teleological: it is likely to diffuse in all real and virtual directions, without a pre-defined direction, since it can be co-created at every moment (with the “Creal-Poet”). The Creal hypothesis designates an immanent, ever-present, ever-absent, precursor or cosmic microprocessor: “Thunderbolts explode between different intensities, but they are preceded by an invisible, imperceptible dark precursor, which determines their path in advance but in reverse, as though intagliated.”
Since this intervention is intended to be in part a conversation with the audience, it will be partly improvised.