Sketch #1

discourse: a particular telling of the story (style, ordering, duration, focalization, etc.)

I chose The Book of Disquiet, a work by the Portuguese author Fernando Pessoa (1888–1935). The structure is fragmentary, and a series of semi-heteronyms; form of a fictional diary. The text is rather nonsensical and grammar is far from conventional. Similarities can be drawn to Colorless green ideas sleep furiously (example of a sentence that is grammatically correct, but semantically nonsensical.). Mostly grammatically incorrect. My position remains unsettled.

The wish of this sketch is to use random words in the sentence, taken from the first few pages, and see if the language identifies as Pessoanian. I recall from a New Yorker article said of Pessoa: “If a writer is nothing, does nothing, and has nothing to say, what can he write about?”

“Through these deliberately unconnected impressions I am the indifferent narrator of my autobiography without events, of my history without a life. These are my Confessions and if I say nothing in them it’s because I have nothing to say.”

One of the results from the generator is:

“I’ve never done anything but dream, Nothingness! Not knowing nor able to know what human spirit is, and unable to have faith in or even react to the abstract notion of God!”

Sounds pretty Pessoanian to me. Similar notion: “To find one’s personality by losing it — faith itself subscribes to that sense of destiny,” he wrote.

More context is below:

The tool was simple to use especially given that it was on p5. As an native English speaker, I often question if my grammar is correct. I often think not. I believe my objective was simply to experiment and see whether Pessoa ‘discourse’ could be replicated through the usage of words such as “Nothingness,” I suppose abstract words that are followed by abstract thoughts. Not to say I don’t find his thoughts concrete, such that they are grounded to reality. I know I didn’t make a masterpiece. I spent more time reading the material than in creation mode. I should know better by now to dedicate 80 to creating and 20 to reading. I apologize.


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