“The Implacable Absence” is a novel created in the style of a non-idiomatic improvisational duet. Some readers may ask, “Just what is a non-idiomatic improvisational duet?” The duet part is easiest to explain; there are two parties engaged in the creative process. The non-idiomatic part is not so difficult either; the product of the creative process may well lie outside the bounds of established idioms or genres. In other words, it is not our goal to adhere to a genre-specific formula. On the contrary, it is our express goal not to adhere to a genre-specific formula. The improvisational component of the writing has been discussed in detail elsewhere.† At the risk of simplifying the idea to the point where it loses its meaning, the writing is produced through a spontaneous (improvisational) rather than a preplanned (compositional) process. Specifically, only the vaguest of outcomes was established. The two authors did not disclose to the other what they would write. Before beginning the writing process, one author chose the theme, “the dissolution of the concept of time”, to which the other agreed. They laid out a skeletal narrative, limited to having the two heroes, Poison Pie for one author and Gorgonio for the other, travel through time and space, each overcoming issues associated with the chosen theme, as they journeyed toward a climactic meeting in which, presumably, no lesser event than the utter dissolution of the concept of time would come to pass.
To add intrigue to the process, the author associated with Gorgonio opted not to commit to paper his contributions. His contribution was therefore an imaginative silence. Just as in a musical duet in which one participant decides not to perform, the duet becomes equally defined by the notes one musician plays as by the absence of the notes that the other musician does not play. The active musician still responds to the other, albeit now only to the other's silence. There is certainly a reference to musical concepts promulgated by John Cage in this process. Such is this written work. To call it half a novel is a misnomer. It is rather a complete novel, written by two authors, one of whom is expressed by his absence. If such a novel has ever been written before, we are not aware of it. Do we ask for accolades at our supposed invention? We do not. We no more seek external affirmation of our success than we do the external censure of our failures.
February 4, 2014, revised August 4, 2014