Friday, April 8, 2011

The Red Dot

The latest edition of 52|250 (an online literary journal) is out today and I have a piece in it.  Head on over there to check it out.  My work is titled "The Red Dot" and falls into the genre of flash fiction.  The below will only make sense if you first read the prose (it’s short--sub 200 words), so check it out if you have the time.

About "The Red Dot" (this is only worth reading if you’ve read the story)

The title comes from two places: one, an obscure Pearl Jam instrumental found on Yield; two, the red dots that seem to have become a motif for marking spontaneous time travel.  Think State Farm commericals (but they don’t have the dot).  Recent Fidelity commercials also have something similar to what I’m talking about, a green line that follows a client from job to job.

The prompt for this flash was “blind spot,” so I started with a cliché about figurative blindness: not being able to see the forest through the trees.  I completed this first sentence with a reference to Musee des Beaux Arts, which is both a museum and a W.H. Auden poem about a painting found there.  The oil on canvas is called Landscape with the Fall of Icarus by Bruegel.  The lower right corner of the painting is my favorite part and the reason for the last line of the story.

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus
The intention was to play with both literal and figurative blindness and the paradox of sight and blindness often found in literature (the blind can see; the seers are blind).  Hence, the shout outs to some classic old school blind guys, Tiresias from the Oedipus trilogy and the Soothsayer from Julius Caesar.  Just for kicks I threw in a nod to the famous “Beware the Ides of March” line when I write that the oblivious ones “march idly on.”

The last thing that I wanted to do was play with the idea of evolution and how ideas evolve and build on themselves.  In that evolution (“do the evolution” yet another Pearl Jam allusion) is where writers make their meaning while still using a basic cornerstone like the blind man who can see.  That’s why I threw in the dot, circle, season imagery.  I wanted to show the paradox of an evolution that is both linear and cyclical.


Glenn said...

Sweet. We just went over Icarus in my Mythology class. Mind if I show my class this?

KG said...

Glenn, please do. The painting is sweet and there are two good poems related to it: Auden's Musee des Beaux Arts and WCWilliams' Landscape w/ the Fall of Icarus. Cool stuff.

Glenn said...

Thanks KG!

ina said...

KG, I am officially impressed. Both by your incredible reference to others works and by how coherently you were able to piece them together in such an effortless way in 200 words. Congrats on the publication! ina

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