Going On and the Art of Following

The art of composition is the art of following. A work of art results from following one mark or phrase with another. The grammar is inherent in the following and inseparable from it — that’s what makes composition an art. Transitions are where the rubber hits the road. Wittgenstein and Beckett explicitly name the process ‘going on,’ (I can’t go on, I’ll go on).

As suggested in their compositions, going on becomes foregrounded when the always already established concepts are compromised by the between. It’s what’s between the series that now constitutes the rule! And at some point, going on becomes impossible as such because there is no determinative map to follow. That’s when metaxyturn goes outside the grammatical box of tools; the following self releases the composition from its will (gives UP) when the space of the composition replaces the linear autonomous steps of following with community of being. The fullness of the work is an over-fullness.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at tom.develyn@comcast.net. D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at http://tdevelyn.com and other sites.

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