Wednesday, November 7, 2007



Metafiction abounds in Douglas Coupland's universe. Here's the run down; Douglas Coupland is an author, he writes a book called The Gum Thief about a sad middle aged man named Roger who himself writes a book called Glove Pond, which is itself about a failed writer going through a creative dry spell, who in turn decides to write a novel after meeting a much more successful and younger author. It kind of makes me dizzy.

It is playful, funny and at times quite sad. Roger exercises his own demons through his Glove Pond novel, and you get a unique perspective on how elements of Roger's own universe seep into his own fiction. I found myself getting drawn into the story within the story and felt a real attraction to the absurdly tragic characters inhabiting Roger's imagination. The extra insights gleamed from Roger's journal entries enhanced this experience and provided a unique window into the creative process and the catharsis that often accompanies this.

I began to wonder about how far you could go with the novel within a novel etc. If you went far enough, say you are up to your 50th story within a story etc, perhaps you would open the door to some parallel universe where you can see another version of yourself huddled over a laptop, typing furiously about your own story within a story.

Reality as you know it would likely disintegrate if you went too far with this, and the world of your dream life would begin to take shape before your eyes. You could hop between each story within a story and interact with the many characters that inhabit your imagination's landscape.

After making small talk with some of your characters you could suggest politely that they engage in some snappier dialogue once in a while. In turn they might demand better working conditions and a little more consistent attention from you.

Things might get ugly when some of the characters created by other characters demand greater aspirations from their prospective authors, who in turn would come to you for advice since you created them in the first place. The battles over intellectual property would be fierce and unending in these infinite stories within stories, though I imagine you would have the power of veto at times.

Worst of all they would all have some trace of your own insecurities or neurosis. The collective therapy bills would be staggering. They would also all speak in a similar fashion, despite your efforts to provide each within their own unique voice, often overusing annoying catch phrases that seemed like a good idea at the time.

It would be endless fun though if you kept running with it - the novel within a novel within a novel within a novel within a novel ... Ad Infinitum. Linear reality is overrated anyways. Thank you Douglas Coupland!

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