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Postsingular Triptych, Part 2

I’ve been working on the second panel of my Postsingular triptych. My new picture is based on a particular oak tree that I’ve been looking at for twenty years. It’s on the edge of a gully on St. Joseph’s hill. I used to think it was about to fall down, but it seems pretty stable. This is a photo patched together from two shots, but there’s nothing fake about it.

Here’s the current state of the painting I came up with; it’s called Postsingular. That’s my character Thuy Nguyen there with the pigtails, looking down off the cliff at the nanomachines and at some demonic dancing subdimensional subbies. Need I say that I’ve been studying my Hieronymus Bosch of late?

The central painting of the triptych is Hylozoic, I did that one at the painting workshop in France. When I stretched it, I lost a little of Thuy’s neck, but I’ve gotten used to that. She’s looking at a Hrull flying manta ray with Chu riding inside the ray. I’m not sure who the artist is. Either Bosch, the character Jayjay, or me.

Although the book Postsingular is volume one of my trilogy in progress, and the book Hylozoic is volume two, I’m going to hang the “earlier” one on the right of the “later” one because the patterns match better that way. So you read it right to left, fine. And what goes on the left? That’s gonna be a painting called Transfinite, which will be based on my plans for volume three.

I’ll probably base the third one on this painting by Hieronymus Bosch, The Ascent of the Blessed.

Most scholars think Bosch modeled his image of Heaven’s gate on the reflection of one of the numerous arches on the Binnendieze river in s’Hertogenbosch — which did double duty as a sewer in our man’s heyday, right around 1492 or 1505.

I’m painting these days as I’m hung-up figuring out the rest of the plot of my novel Hylozoic. I have the upcoming Bosch chapter pretty well sketched out. But that damned pitchfork—it’s got me confused. What’s it up to?

I’m thinking maybe it’s not so evil. It’s pals with the harp. But why are these higher beings screwing with our world? I’m looking ahead at the story, figuring out what I’m gonna need to jettison to pull it together.


I’m at that frightening black point that I always reach in the middle of a novel. Confusion and despair. I fantasize that I can stave this off by outlining, but the black point crops up anyway, heedless as a meteorite. It’s where reality meets dream, where the rubber hits the road.

As Dante puts it in La Commedia Divina,

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi retrovai per una selva oscura,
che la diritta via era smarrita.

I found an interesting web page exploring lots of ways to translate this. One version reads as follows:

Midway in life’s journey
I found myself in a dark wood,
and the straight way was lost.

Another translation might be:

Halfway through my novel
I know I don’t know
What the hell I’m doing.

What the hey, I’m going to the beach. Sooner or later, the Muse is bound to show up and extricate me. She always does. It’s probably just a matter of dropping a few of the candies I’m holding in my greedy monkey-fist.

8 Responses to “Postsingular Triptych, Part 2”

  1. Marshall Says:

    Hej Rudy,
    I am så glad that you are thinking of making the pitchfork a more kindly soul. I think your painting of it is a “happy painting”. The pitchfork is smiling, waggling its ears. It’s doing a little dance – and saying “Come with me. I know where the sun shines and the music plays. A good place – for you and me”.

  2. Marshall Says:

    And while I’m at it – I think the Harp should be the Evil One. Filled with the sounds of false promises and treacherous upper dimenisons. In a fight between the sublime and the ridiculous – I take the ridiculous.

  3. Steve H Says:

    Rudy, suppose the harp and pitchfork are two ends of a single being, widely separated in a timeloop? Harp the young optimist and fork the old pessimist, endlessly arguing and cancelling each other’s moves? Or even two widely separated points on a circle, harp aging into pitchfork as fork mellows into harp?
    Gack, that might make it even worse.

  4. Karen Clark Says:

    Funny, I was just reading and contemplating an article discussing a prayer from the Kaballah (Modeh ani lefaneccha). Here is the paragraph I found most intriguing:

    “Careful investigation will show that this expression of certainty does not emerge from a moment of easy faith, of happy embrace. It is not the religion of the happy-minded. On the contrary, it is a fragile moment of certainty that is hard won, emerging from confusion and distortion; a moment whose power is far-reaching, tragically fleeting, and yet ultimately transforming. Rather than being a quiet statement of the obvious, this core certainty reverberates with the pain and struggle necessary for transcendence.”

    From the article, Faith, by Marc Gafni, Parabola, Spring 2007

  5. Mad Claw Lair, Prop. Says:

    I think you musta learned something at your painting workshop. The critters in your center triptych panel are really intense and alive; the little ones, yes, but especially the subbies dancing around the fire. Those might be my favorite things you’ve painted yet.

  6. Pace Says:

    Honestly, Rudy, a PT Cruiser??

  7. rs Says:

    yeah like SteveH the whole duality keeps coming up for as I read this stuff. The must be some way to squeeze the duality of time domain and frequency domain into all of this too.

  8. Rudy Says:

    Pace, I only RENTED the PT Cruiser for a weekend. A nice body and nice controls, though a bit sluggish in handling and not very tight in the turns. I liked that it was yellow. Like Falfa’s rod in AMERICAN GRAFFITI. And I got to drive it on the beach in Moclips. PT is for Postsingular Triptych!

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