I have been offline for a while – not intentionally. I have been hospitalized and more or less grounded for a few weeks.
Ironically one of the first things I discovered when I opened my Twitter account a week ago was a story in The Guardian about the literature project I had desperately needed to kill time at the boring hospital: Escape Goat – a collaboral novel about a group of scientists battle against a virus.
The collaborative serial novel idea isn’t new. And in the SMS days there were several similar projects. What’s new is the initiative that comes from an established award winning author with enough power and credit to attract other experienced colleagues.
The collaborations between writers I have seen have one thing in common: They are more interesting than they are good stories. Usually they lack a strict line that drives the plot towards an end – or redemption.
It’s the same with Escape Goat.
I have only read the first 22 chapters – and so far it’s hard to imagine an ending.
It takes 3-5 minutes to read a chapter. Then a new writer takes over and changes time, scene, situation by introducing new problems, characters, elements out of nowhere: 100% Deus Ex Machina.
True to the project’s/novel’s English tittle, the story is fast and uncontrollably which – I am sure – will piss off a lot of readers who don’t get the idea from the start.
I love it!
Jumping from grandad’s old and mouldy letter handwritten ages ago and then – after a few chapters and after a few minutes of boring contemporary Tinder Erotic – suddenly find yourself in year 2059 is not only hilarious. It leaves the reader imagining how the writers behind each chapter are: How old are they, what sex are they, what are their background, what have they made before etc.
I already have a few names I want to check out. And just added 3 Portuguese titles (in English) on my Amazon shopping list. So if artist promotion is a reason for getting involved then that at mission is accomplished 🙂
I can easily imagine how this project started out. Ana Margarida – or maybe a group of friends (all writers of course) got an idea: Why don’t we work together on a new novel… we don’t need annoying publishers and editors – we just…. We just make a Facebook Page and publish a chapter every day…
Fantastic everybody said and started contacting people.
What about Images? Someone said when the first chapter was ready to upload on Facebook. Without images the page looks extremely boring – that was probably how the Art got involved.
The good thing about Social Media is that it motivates action. Without Facebook I am pretty sure that the Literature & Art project: Bode Inspiratório wouldn’t have been able to publish its chapter 46 which happened this morning. What an amazing achievement.
But let’s face it: Facebook is not suitable for long texts – especially not for an entire book. Neither is The Escape Goat’s blog/website.
Dedicated literature readers like myself prefer a media meant for texts you can hold in your hands while you sit in a comfortable chair or lay on the beach in the sun. When we started travelling for real, we gave up physical books and bought a Kindl. So to enjoy this book I converted all 22 chapters to awz3 format and uploaded them to my kindle and went to the beach. If I hadn’t had that possibility I would never had made through 22 chapters… so far.
Now I can’t wait to get the next 24 chapters 🙂
The people behind Escape Goat have the best intentions. But whether they like it or not: The Visual plays a secondary role. It’s the litteratur that sets the rules!
Not because the art is bad – it isn’t. Some of the works are actually very good.
Again the problem is the presentation. It’s almost impossible to present a collection of art as diverse as the first 22 pieces I have seen. You just can’t show artworks in various shapes, sizes, materials, mixed materials, colors, quality etc on a media like Facebook which people reach from their Mobile gadgets while doing other things. It’s not fair for the artists or the art. It was only after uploading the art in the light box above (just click on any of the images and select Full Screen) I got a chance to to see and enjoy the works without the noise from texts, menus, advertising and similar disturbing elements.
And again! I have a few artist and galleries I have to check out. Galleries I probably wouldn’t have known if it wasn’t for Escape Goat.
I don’t speak Portuguese and I probably never will. So I recognize the borders Ana Magarida mentions in The Guardian.
I don’t know if the translation was part of the project from the start. But involving 46 translators for the English version is a very good idea. Because of them in two weeks I have met more Portuguese writers (and alternatives to Pesoa who bores me) and visual artist than in the 6 years I have lived in Lisbon.
That’s pretty good.
Add to this the positive impact Escape Goat will have to all the Language classes that now have a English/Portuguese tool they can implement in their lessons. The format – short involving chapters must be perfect for them.
Being a Marketing person I can’t help admiring the fantastic concept Escape Goat is – and all the possibilities it has:
46 Visual artists
I hope the people behind the project will ask for contributions from the music scene… there must be other genres than Fado.
And I can’t wait to see all the works exhibited in one venue.
Thanks a lot.
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