David Holden @etominosipi on Mrs Laidlaw

Just read Mrs Laidlaw’s Event Horizon. Congratulations. Clever to use the black hole both as symbol of terminal hopelessness and as a relativistic justification for the time-reversed narrative. I have long been an advocate for imagining time-reversals as a consciousness-raising exercise. I suppose this was stimulated when people began to be able to run films backwards (and probably to be able to do the same with early piano rolls and phonographs). Cocteau used it very effectively in a short sequence in one of his films, I don’t personally know any earlier example, but have not looked. before this recent age, where technologies have actually allowed time-reversed perceptions of events and processes, perhaps musicians were best-placed to imagine backwards flow of time, since musical notation allows scanning with almost equal ease in either temporal direction. Reading a narrative backwards is much more cumbersome, and breaks down within sentences, which must be read forwards due to syntactical restraints on comprehension. whilst in London I had for a while the use of a 4-track recording studio which allowed reversal. music sounds odd to our ears because of the reversed note envelopes, but leaving that aside what struck me was the way Bach sounded quite similar in either direction. Mozart, on the other hand, becomes very angst-ridden and emotionally unresolved. this prompted unwritten speculations on some tenuous link between musical aesthetics and the second law of thermodynamics. I leave aside the most interesting side of all this, i.e. life, death, consciousness, the nature of time, the unknown “Kantian” substrate of the sensuous universe. I shall also leave aside the emotional content, although i suppose a crucial critical inquiry would be how this narrative technique conditions the reader’s perception of the brutality Mrs L experiences at the hands of her violent (Scots) patriarchetypes, Mr R and Mr L. to conclude, despite the brevity of this response, I know it is sometimes encouraging when others take a relatively enlightened interest in one’s creative work, so I felt it worth taking the time to use a little more than the customary 140 characters to respond to your prize-winning short story. I wish you all the best with your future narrative explorations/constructions.

About Lois

Writes fiction, journalism, teaches yoga
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