In Chapter four of David Almond’s The Savage, the narrator Blue expresses the seemingly incidental event of his own inclusion in his Savage story. I love the emphasis on the ‘without really thinking’ for it is as if some unconscious impulse creates a version of himself within his fictional narrative and I wonder how far it is this unconscious aspect of his own characterisation which allows his own form of resurrection through writing and painting. It is as if he has left or let his unconscious self to deal with something his conscious self has strugggled with.
In certain NLP processes subjects can simply ‘let’ parts of the self metaphorically shift and renegotiate the very terms of any conflict or difficulty. There need be no ‘conscious’ intervention or discussion. It is like a trust game with our unconscious creativity and our training to control our knowledge and source of knowledge is subverted by the wilderness creativity of the Savage and the Savage-Blue.
And of course as soon as I type that I recall Almond’s earlier Kit’s Wilderness and the game of death and the special sight when the dead can be seen again, like Jess in The Savage, walking and dancing:
‘On the brightest days, when the sun pours down and dances on the river and the air begins to tremble, I see Grandpa and Grandma before me. I follow them. I walk beside the river with my friends. I know that as long as there are others to see us, we will walk here together forever. ‘ ( Kit’s Wilderness)
‘As long as there are others to see us.’ How strangely Almond’s novel beckon to each other. How many times in The Savage are we watching characters watch other characters in natural settings where the past and present seem to meet each other, interfacing the textures of one emotional landscape with another. Does this also suggest that if we are not somehow ‘seen'( even if we are as esrtanged and lonely as hopper or Askew) then our souls’ existence(s) cannot endure?
We are forced by the demands of daily life to inhabit landscapes of conscious awareness yet this impulse like the ‘scribbling’ at the origin of the text seems to emanate from an unconscious place where censorship and repression have no say or sway. It is as if the experience of scribbling has released the a sort of creative resolution to the emotional impasse acknowledged at the beginning of the Savage. The seamless shift too from missspellling to more conventional type face and presentation confuses slightly too until we remember that the Savage is a retrospective creation and as such, knows far more at any point than it can reveal.
Blue allows his represented self to experiment with other roles and behaviours. He allows himself to play.He transforms himself into a poet and ‘had Jess dancing and skipping and singing with the sun in her hair and butterfiles fluttering round her head.’ The choice of the verb here reveals the fictional authority of Blue. Jess’s vulnerable state is liberated temporarily from pain through this magically real dance. In Marquez’s One Hundred Yeaars of Solitude there are butterfiles…( More)
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