Fragment 1: Like A Rolling Stone

I will write a novel, and these are fragments from that proto-text.


He would play this song for them as an example of what would happen if they were not good, or if he were not. Their anger at being taunted this way is branded into their musculature. They do not like it.

The song used second person verbs in scorn and steady hatred.

Of course they must do their utmost to avoid living out on the streets. And the One would have been living out on the streets now had she not had his help. Don’t do what I have done, she sang.

Yet by learning the skills that would keep them from living out on the streets, they were distancing themselves from the One. This was harmful and they might be thrown out before they knew enough.

And he and the One had not wanted to succeed, but had been forced to it. They resented that, and felt proud of time spent not trying. That time was their identity.

Their success surprised them, they said.

“We were not as talented as  they, it was clear, because we had to try. They were made of finer stuff.”

“We did not know history because we had no personal memories of the Depression or the War, and because our school had not covered Europe yet. We did not know history.”


The two dyads battled each other for their lives, and this novel will not use the first person except in quotation marks. It will write in the third person of some characters falling into darkness.


They had suffered a great deal when they were poor and then again later, when they made the sacrifices they must to ensure they would not be poor again.

They would have liked to be artists and they felt bereft; there were great holes in the air around them where once their work had been.

They fall into darkness and mild water fills their gaps and breaches; wavelets rock and cover them.


16 thoughts on “Fragment 1: Like A Rolling Stone

  1. The chapter following would be in almost chatty prose and would talk about class. Because he and the One were primarily concerned about class, rising and falling, how will one survive, who can one be. One would have to do research about the period. It would be fun.

  2. And this idea of guilt and debt and torture and slavery is central in the entire dynamic of that family. The children were indebted to their parents and could never repay what we owed for having taken from them the Bohemian, artistic life they could have led and cost them money they could have spent on other things. Therefore the children owed it to the parents to let themselves be tortured, and to give blood. One could only keep a minimal amount of blood for oneself.

  3. Therefore the children owed it to the parents to let themselves be tortured, and to give blood. One could only keep a minimal amount of blood for oneself.

    An analysis of the psychology 0f Anna Freud, and her loyalty to her father ought to follow.


    Nevertheless her basic loyalty to her father’s work remained unimpaired, and it might indeed be said that ‘she devoted her life to protecting her father’s legacy…In her theoretical work there would be little criticism of him, and she would make what is still the finest contribution to the psychoanalytic understanding of passivity'[28], or what she termed ‘altruistic surrender…excessive concern and anxiety for the lives of his love objects'[29].

  5. I think that war in a frontier setting is different from war in a European or even contemporary Western setting, in that one can get rid of the patriarchal influence of men. The men disappear onto the peripheries and form their own meaningfulness — and to that degree, they are less likely to infringe upon the lives of women.

  6. On the novel: one of the vignettes or memories will be the abortion in Los Angeles and what was said about it afterwards. Bougainvillea and adobe and sun, and betrayal and blood; a Lorca poem.


    A theme in the novel has to be Nick Cave’s comment on trauma as positive event.

  7. All right, then, but I have no idea what you mean by “frontier situation” and I am unaware of any wars that did not deeply and negatively affect the lives of women except for the U.S. experience, perhaps, in some ways, during WWII where women were, it is said, empowered in various ways during the four years in which so many men were gone.

  8. So you’re talking about your experience in the Zimbabwean independence struggle, I take it.

    So your point re the post is that this novel, or this part of this novel, is about a patriarchal situation or the presence of a fixed male hierarchy … ?

    1. The issue that Woolf brought up is related to it. Males as equated with war. I’m not sure, yet, how it fits in with your novel. But I do think that gender politics in the modernised Western world was developed with a sense of a closed horizon.

  9. She’s talking about gender and capitalism, and capitalism and war. For purposes of this text Anna Freud’s loyalty is interesting, but Woolf on the situation of the daughters of educated men is moreso.

    (I think you should write a blog post about the closed horizon to which you refer above. You know already that to these “paradigmatic” statements you’ll make, I’ll say give me a historical example, and that will distort the thread which is supposed to be a thread on the post.)

  10. The version of this posted in Facebook is improved. I have to remember that the next topic is class.

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