Chaos Literature, Fractal Imagination:
The Melville Pattern
by Silvia Hartmann
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 patchwork quilt.
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 process.
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."
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 beginner.
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 and endeavour.
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:
Fun as though these bridges may be, you can just go straight into it.
Let me give you an example.
B (Melville Pattern Executioner)
As I said before, the Melville Pattern in and of itself is innocent.
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 flippers about.
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
Researched, Modelled & Written By
* May contain traces of irony.
© Silvia Hartmann 2002
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