imageZC0304: processProse

Apply to any given piece of writing a set of procedures, a program, as such a prior writing, in anticipation of a performance, a reading, an- other- writing, a writing—of l’avenir—to come. Or, in this instance, to a piece of writing that I have come to be affected by, that I have come to be closer to, after having found myself within it, found a voice within it, namely Samuel Beckett’s ‘The Image,’ originally, in French, ‘l’Image,’ but now, at last, a part, a part in part one, an image from his three-part unpunctuated novel, How It Is, beginning, comment c’est commençant: “the tongue gets clogged with mud that can happen too,” and ending, “the tongue goes in the mouth closes it must be a straight line now it’s over it’s done I’ve had the image”. For this writing find all its three-word perigrams, that is to say, a particular subset of all the possible permutations of its 402 unique words, but not the 64,964,808 three-word sequences that might be considered given this number of unique words, rather find only those sequences that could possibly arise as a consequence of typographic neighborhood, or, in other words, proximity in a material cultural dimension that is definitive of reading. Find, that is to say, combinations of words within 20 words either side of each of this writing’s words as we move through the text as it was written and, furthermore, disregard combinations where the same word is repeated in immediate proximity (discard, for example: aab, or baa; allow: aba). There are 819,903 such three-word perigrams. Now search for all of these sequences in the index of Google Books and reserve only those perigrams that do not yet occur in this corpus, implicitly the corpus of all the authored writing for ‘Books’ that has been indexed, to date, by Google. This cull will, therefore, consist of three word phrases, composed from the words of ‘The Image’ that have not yet been composed by any writers of the works indexed in Google Books, including Beckett. There are 410,298 such zero-count perigrams in ‘The Image.’ Further reduce their number and improve their correlation with natural English by first removing any sequences with bad agreement between an indefinite article, “a” or “an”, and a following word with or without an initial vowel. Then improve the correlation of these perigrams with the natural English of Beckett in particular by creating a simple parts-of-speech analysis of all the actual three-word sequences of ‘The Image’ and preserving only those remaining zero-count perigrams whose analysis matches one or other of the 602 distinct parts-of-speech sequences that do actually occur, according to this analysis, in the original Beckett. Now there are 148,156 syntactically correlative zero-count perigrams from which our own writing will be generated by, successively and at will, gathering all of those perigrams that include each of the written words of ‘The Image’ in turn, initially choosing a three-word perigram at random that includes the first word “the” but then going on to the next word and rather than simply taking another random perigram including this next word, attempt instead to stitch together these as yet unwritten, uncomposed sequences by using Google Books searches once again to find existing, previously composed three-word phrases that straddle and link the proposed enjambement of successive zero-count perigrams. If the last two words of a leading sequence and the first word of a following sequence, or the last word of a leading sequence and the first two words of one following—if either of these potential three-word, verse-straddling phrases is found to be one that has been indexed and counted by Google, then good: accept the proposed sequent perigram and continue, repeating this subprocess until the end of ‘The Image’ has been obtained, until it’s over, it’s done and we’ve had the image, until we have reinscribed its canonical, authoritative sequence of words within a linked chain of phrases that have themselves, so far, never been indexed by Google as written by Beckett or by anyone in any tongue, clogged or straight. Repeat from Now above, if you must, it’s endless, it’s over, it’s endlessly over.


A pdf version of this text may be viewed or downloaded here.