The Melville Pattern -
Chaos Literature, Fractal Imagination
by Silvia Hartmann
Named after Herman Melville,
proud originator of Moby Dick, the Melville Pattern is a simple yet
extraordinary perceptual device which could be mistaken for a
language pattern at first sight but is actually quite a bit more
than that. Like many wonderful things, it can be used for good or
evil depending on the mind who wields it. It can and does unlock
frozen tongues, creates an instant response to absolutely anything
even if you're totally unoriginal. It can make mincemeat out of
writer's block, unlock an endless stream of creativity and it is so
simple to do that a child could pick it up within minutes - only as
it is a dangerous para-linguistic weapon, we wouldn't want to let
our children near it, naturally ...
Fractal Imagination & Chaos Literature
Introducing The Melville Pattern*
Named after Herman Melville, proud originator of Moby Dick, the
Melville Pattern is a simple yet extraordinary perceptual device
which could be mistaken for a language pattern at first sight but is
actually quite a bit more than that.
Like many wonderful things, it can be used for good or evil
depending on the mind who wields it.
It can and does unlock frozen tongues, creates an instant
response to absolutely anything even if you're totally unoriginal.
It can make mincemeat out of writer's block, unlock an endless
stream of creativity and it is so simple to do that a child could
pick it up within minutes - only as it is a dangerous para-linguistic
weapon, we wouldn't want to let our children near it, naturally.
Want to know what it is? How it works and how you get to do it?
Oh ok then, I'll tell ya :-)
In one of the most extraordinary sequences of near madness, HM
spends a whole chapter of Moby Dick, give or take, describing a
Now you may well ask yourself how you or indeed anyone at all
could possibly write what must be around 25,000 words about a
patchwork quilt without repeating themselves the once, and the trick
and hence named Melville Pattern is a simple yet incredible three
Step 1: Describe any object in excruciating detail - and I
mean in *excruciating detail*.
And I'm serious when I say ANY object. Such as a bit of rope, a
cushion, a cat litter. Get close. Real close. And don't leave a
single thing out.
When you think you've really got it all, think again. Look
again. Focus harder. Touch it. Smell it. Get all angles, all
dimensions. Look for scratches, blemishes, reflections ... Yeah see!
You missed a whole lot more!
Step 2: Now, begin to muse what the object and all the
object's details remind you of.
Once again, be extremely detailed and extremely specific. If
you're describing a coat, don't just stop at saying about the whole
thing that, "It's rough and patched, sun bleached and gun powder
stained like an old army tent after 17 campaigns in the Holy Land."
- just the colour can remind you of one very enormous something
which contains levels and levels and levels of further detail,
including sea ports, lunar landscapes, cities, entire habitats
with all residents, animals and all who live there (all and any
aspect of all and anything right down to smallest blade of grass
or hair on a rabbit's chin can then be further developed as in 1
- the cloth, its density, thickness, structure, weave,
inaccuracies, material/s should be another entire world or
preferably, a separate experience/trip each;
- each button an alien planet of its own complete with radically
different civilisations, beings, environments;
- or the first one reminds us of a planet; the next one of a
ball that belongs to the 7 year old slightly dyslexic son of
a Scottish bricklayer and an Armenian mail order bride; the next
button may remind us of the tray of a waiter in an expensive
French restaurant in Manchester, reflecting the Valentine's day
decorations, laden with champagne, glasses for two and a single
red rose in a long necked smoky glass vase and on route to Herbert
(half-blind widowed stockbroker and father of three) and his
fiancée May Louise (who hasn't told him yet that she had a sex
change operation but will in a minute). Oh and both of them wear a
coat each ... well, I think you're getting the drift.
This is indeed already, fractal literature in the finest sense
and in and of itself entirely astonishing, the source of material
and stories which is just like fractal art and mathematics, never
ever ever ending. In fact, it is *better* than your classic fractal
system because at any point at all you can switch into a different
universe altogether through the use of the "what could that remind
me of ..." method and zoom in afresh all through the layers and
levels, time and time again - infinitely.
But now, to the true and unrivalled highlight which reveals the
real genius of the Melville Pattern.
This third step and final ingredient which lifts and expands it
with consummate ease into all time, all space, all purposes, all
experiences and all dimensions is:
Step 3: Begin to describe in detail what the object (and all
its detailed aspects) IS NOT and DOES NOT remind you of.
This is where the flood gates to creativity truly open up wide
and you are basically left, if you are describing a frog, WITH THE
ENTIRE UNIVERSE, the COMPLETE AKASHIC RECORDS and ALL OF TIME SPACE
minus - one frog.
It is a truly endless generator and, very unlike trying to find
"the one perfect" description for what something IS like or DOES
remind you of, which may indeed lead to blankness and writer's block
on occasion, the very act of beginning to consider what something IS
NOT, COULD NEVER BE and DOES NOT remind you of is actually
surprisingly natural and easy. This generates literally dozens of
choices immediately and readily, even in the hands of a complete
Don't take my word for it. Try it. Pick out any old object on
your desk or person and think to yourself, "What's that totally NOT
like?" - see what I mean ...?
And you don't need to stop there. Indeed, in the true spirit of
the Melville Pattern, that would be a howling shame. What the object
doesn't remind you of becomes a perfect spring board to any details
level of any environment, any kind of story, any kind of reflection,
any kind of anything at all you might be wanting to talk about but
previously thought you couldn't possibly logically tie into the
description of someone going to bed and covering themselves with a
patchwork quilt. AND, let's not forget that any aspect of any detail
of any single item of any of the stories lends itself to begin to
muse about what it is, what it reminds you of, and - what it isn't
and what it doesn't.
As so often the case, true works of genius and breakthrough
strategies like the Melville Pattern are content free and may even
be applied across a whole amazingly wide span of human expression
Even in straightforward conversation, to be able to say, "Ah
funny you should say that. That doesn't remind me at all of this
joke I heard the other day about the bishop, the camel and the
oyster ..." is truly a gift of priceless proportions. You'll never,
ever be stuck for something to say, ever again!
Advanced users who have built up familiarity with and confidence
in their execution of this pattern may indeed, choose to leave out
the warm up links, such as:
- "That doesn't remind me at all of ..."
- "You know, that's completely unlike the ..."
- "How fascinating to consider the real structural differences
between this and ..."
- "Interestingly, what this isn't is actually ..."
- "Honestly, this could never be the same as ..."
- "Quite right, I haven't thought about this but instead, ..."
- "Come to think of it, what you've just said has nothing to do
whatsoever with ..."
Fun as though these bridges may be, you can just go straight into
Let me give you an example.
A (Victim): I was on holiday in Marbella last week.
B (Melville Pattern Executioner):
Yeah - snowploughs. What is it with snowploughs? That weird funnel,
like a dinosaur in the mist, roaring far away, you know it's there
but you can't really see it, know what I mean? You're scared to
death but there's nothing concrete, just the outlines in the mist
and the noise and the trembling of the ground, uniquely
nothing whatsoever like standing on the solid rocks of Bexhill beach
on a warm day in April, eating a strawberry ice cream and carefully
poking a stranded jellyfish with your toes ..."
As I said before, the Melville Pattern in and of itself is
It just is, as it were, and often as well as better still, it
isn't, if you know what I mean, although this can change soon
enough, as you probably wouldn't know if you weren't anyone at
all but some kind of sea creature that didn't speak any of the known
languages but instead, communicated in whistles and by waving its
However, in the hands of humans who wish to do harm, take
revenge for their school and childhood experiences in song, rhyme,
spoken word and fiction, or those who think it their duty to
scramble poor minds in the name of Captain Chaos it can be a very
painful and powerful tool against which the only defence is to
somehow wake up enough to walk away, fast.
It is for this reason that the Melville Pattern is restricted for
professional use only and unsupervised children should never, ever,
be told about it. Just imagine exactly - and I mean EXACTLY - what
would happen if they found out. What that would be *like*. What that
would mean. What that absolutely wouldn't, nay, couldn't mean -
.... and what wouldn't happen if you didn't ...
Brought to you courtesy of:
The StarFields Counter-Intelligence Network
Copyrighted, Researched, Modelled & Written By
* May contain traces of irony.
FRACTAL IMAGINATION CHALLENGE!
Find 7 different, useful applications for The Melville Pattern in
every day life and including at least one creative, one problem
solving and one healing application.