Posted: 08 Apr 2011 02:16 PM PDT
Lethe Bashar's Novel of Life Las Vegas
Written by Chris Al-Aswad and illustrated by Gerrar Gonzalez
June 20, 2007 – Normal, IL
In my novel, the main character is riding a bus to Las Vegas when he has an epiphany – "I'm an eccentric genius," he says to himself. He's writing a novel, he realizes, a novel of life. He's writing his "aesthetic existence" in the words of Foucault. To Lethe, the world is the stage for his art. He immerses himself in drama with other characters, and then, suddenly detaches himself to investigate the random experience. The other people he meets in Las Vegas are the supporting cast. Lethe provokes them to create drama, to create experiences that he can later contemplate and analyze or manipulate in story form. Lethe's arch-type is the magician – he takes pleasure in play acting and playing with social realities. He has a personal mythology – he unconsciously weaves and develops in his interactions with others. Lethe is also a narcissist and perhaps his greatest shortcoming is that he assumes random people he meets are conforming to his imaginary epic. It appears as though these other characters are meeting him on the same stage and perhaps they are momentarily – but this is an illusion because in this novel every individual is immersed and blinded by a personal mythology of their own. Where they are the center of their life – epic and they seriously play the role they have known since their earliest memory. Everyone around them is the supporting cast. Therefore humans go about thinking they belong to a universal script in which everyone else naturally understands their role – when in fact – our epics and roles are as diverse as our environments, upbringings, and countless other factors. We have difficulty understanding others when we forget the role we are playing. The liberating part of this theory of life is that when you become conscious of the role you are playing, you no longer have to play it anymore.
Read scenes from Chris' novel of life here on The Blog of Innocence.
Read Chris' graphic novel at Escape Into Life.
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