Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Flight to Sicily —since nobody ever wrote a song about how they just missed the midnight train going anywhere, got their refund and took the train to Palermo the next day—all because of a homeless man at the ticket machine who kept demanding money and pressing all of the wrong buttons!

The ship.

In film, breaking the fourth wall is a term used to describe the concept of crossing the boundary that separates fiction from the reality in which the audience (or in our case the reader) exists in order to reveal the fiction as an illusion.

This can highlight our perception of ideas and truths that exist within the theme of a story.

Think of the climactic scene in Mel Brook's, Blazing Saddles when a fight spills out of the movie and continues through Warner Brother's Studios.

Picture me sitting on a train, heading for Palermo, after becoming overwhelmed with the sudden urge to travel anywhere, immediately, as fast as a I could.  I am breaking down the fourth wall (a tactic I often see as rather cheesy) for the first and only time in Chapter 10 of Bar Fight, "The Description of a Trashy Bar Scene," as I explain to you—the reader—how I am making up the novel Bar Fight as I am sitting on a train. 

In literature, breaking the fourth wall is often referred to as metafiction.

I like to think I broke the fourth wall in a very classy way.



Did you get the very subtle reference to Journey, in the title of this post?

The other theme of this post is going to be soft rock.

Soft rock is as good as hard rock but softer.

Journey was a serious inspiration for the journey that was writing Bar Fight.


The journey to Sicily is overnight.  I am in a cab with six seats, another guy and girl—in the morning I will wake up as a seven foot tall man glances between me and the bag at my arm (containing my $2,225 Mac laptop), who will slowly draw his head away, through the curtains saying "ahhhhh" with a bright eyed smile realizing my eyes are open and on him.

The thing I remember most about Sicily are cacti and the vibrant blue sea.

In the morning he will jump out of the door as we slowly roll past his spot.

He is probably not supposed to be on this train.

Yes, I was way too cheap to afford a cab with a bed but at least I bought a ticket.  Right now I am tired, I am writing, and this entire bottle of Chardonnay I brought along is not helping me fall asleep any faster.

This girl keeps looking over and reading my laptop, and I don't know if she speaks English or not.

Is this true?

This is true!

It's hard to say—

Is it true that you wrote the entire preliminary draft to Bar Fight while listening the song it's "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" by Chicago on repeat?  Yeah, it's true.  No! I am not a psychopath!

That's a powerful song!  

It's so hard!

When your trying to write a fiction novel and you're all one your own.

When your sitting on a train and you're trying to break the fourth wall and someone is, 
watching you—

This is turning into Chapter 24 of Bar Fight!
We are on Chapter 10—

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 10 of Bar Fight, "The Description of a Trashy Bar Scene"…



"….I couldn't (...) concentrate on a thing, aside from the actual part about a girl pretending she couldn't speak English reading a bar fight in progress on my lap top, I was paranoid this girl actually was reading a bar fight in progress on my lap top, found out the next day that she could not speak a word of English, as she was trying to assist the guy sitting at the seat across from me (…) trying to explain, how alcohol is good, dance is good, but drugs are number one…"!



This is my third trip, into or out of Sicily and the first time I ever realized that the train actually drives into a ship and crosses the sea.

This is true!

I never understood why we would park in this giant room for hours when I was trying to 
sleep—"..couldn't stand to be swept away, just for the day from your boody!"

Am I getting sidetracked?  That is Chicago!

I can't put Chicago lyrics in the novel Bar Fight because I know absolutely nothing about copyright laws.

I also don't have money.

Or power.

This is true!

The reason that I (…), (…)'ed my own excerpt is because Bar Fight very often has a song-like rhythm that sounds just plain awkward If you don't have a sense of the greater passage.

This is true!  

Did this story shed any more light on how writing the novel Bar Fight makes reasonable sense?  I hope it didn't bemuse you, because if it did;

It's so hard for me to say I'm sorry.

Most importantly everything written in this blog is true.   It is based on an email sent on 3/23/2010. 

Cacti at Taormina


Photographs taken by Alan Michael

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