The Imagination Thief

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Rohan Quine’s The Imagination Thief is one of those books that has originality stamped across it with a pair of size 12 DMs. An incredibly dark picaresque through the recesses of the human psyche, it is an uncomfortable, troubling immersive experience that mixes text, audio and video taking us into places we would rather not go. I have described it as a cubist novel, taking each aspect of the torn mind and laying them out on separate planes through the different media. I am delighted to probe the mind behind the masterpiece.

1. You have been an actor as well as a writer. I can see how that would be a help with a project like The Imagination Thief, but are there ways in which it’s made things difficult? Have you, for example, found yourself looking at a piece of writing with an actor’s eye or vice versa, and how has that affected the end book?

Luckily, I was pursuing the screen-acting stuff in New York City with a shameless lack of genuine artistic ambition – in fact, with a shocking lack of moral fibre altogether, I should probably confess. In uploading the resultant fun of that New York film/TV chapter at http://www.rohanquine.com/those-new-york-nineties under the heading Those New York ’Nineties, I described it as adding up to a frisky little soufflé of a screen-acting demo reel from a movie semi-career-ette, presented for moral instruction alongside The Imagination Thief. And that’s pretty much what you can see on that webpage there: a jaunt through a single decade of a life, showing what my friends had to put up with before I started writing The Imagination Thief. It was a colourful ten years that were captured quite often on film and tape in various contexts, while I was running around Manhattan doing the acting/modelling thing, which all came to pass because my continued residence in New York depended on a complicated series of screen-acting and modelling work-visas in the O1 and H1B categories, whose legal requirements of media “visibility” kept on rudely escalating throughout the decade. In some of those film and TV clips I was speaking a few well-chosen words (and I do mean a few) with actors and directors you’ve actually heard of, in film and TV productions that sometimes even made it across the Atlantic. Much more often, I was speaking a greater number of words in lower-budget productions for many other talented directors, some of whose careers never recovered from it. And in quite a lot of other pieces, when you get down to it, I was really just mincing about in colourful outfits, hogging the camera. Meryl Streep it wasn’t, but fun it was – for me at least.

So in answer to your question, there was no real “actor’s eye” through which I might have been tempted to look at the text. When I came to subject myself to the same thing that I subject my own narrator Jaymi to in the novel – namely ten hours in unblinking high-definition close-up, delivering the entire thing including all its most extreme voltages, heights and depths, as I’ll describe in a minute – then there was a performer’s eye, yes, deriving from much enjoyment and experience of being on camera, but not a genuine trained actor’s eye. And my performance of it was wholly subject to the many and varied complex demands of the text itself, which was the format that had come into being first. That text was born alone out of nothing, as just black words on a blank white paper or screen, and was then polished many times by numerous different processes into a hundred thousand words saying what needed to be said, still just by themselves without further media. In contrast with the on-camera shenanigans in New York, this text was a 1,000% serious artistic endeavour from start to finish (as much so in the more comedic sections as in the non-comedic ones).

The novel’s text has many underlying rhythms in the order and choice of words, not obtrusively rhythmic but nonetheless having an effect – especially when Jaymi is inside somebody else’s imagination, which he is for about one-third of the novel. That one-third is scattered throughout the novel’s duration, but I know exactly where all the transitions are, where he enters an imagination like diving underwater, or exits like surfacing back up into air, with the immediate change of hearing you experience as soon as you dive into water or surface from it. Many of those transitions occur at a floating ellipsis in the middle of a sentence, and many of them also involve a smooth but complete change from first-person narration to second-person narration, or vice versa. So it was both essential and fantastically enjoyable to make sure that the performance/reading brought all those underlying rhythms out (again, not obtrusively but to have their effect), as well as the other interlocking elements of fire/ice/humour/passion/light/dark that were flickering up through the text, all of which were to be fully present within the contained power of a reading rather than in some inappropriately “actor-y” delivery. So I’m established as playing my narrator Jaymi Peek in the ten-hour performance/reading that comprises the Video-Book (which was split up into the exact 120 snippets constituting the text’s 120 mini-chapters), experiencing and projecting much of what Jaymi experiences and projects in front of camera lenses throughout the novel itself; then I’m also established as playing Jaymi in the eleven short films inside the E-Book, alongside the other actresses and actors there who played other characters. Ultimately, though, the various rich media that became parts of The Imagination Thief had to be founded, and are founded, on a pre-existing text that can take all their weight forever without cracking. Text is Empress, for sure!

2. You talk about a moment of inspiration when you realised that a character with access to other people’s thoughts was the glue that held The Imagination Thief together. I’m intrigued to know what different ways you had envisaged the stories might hang together before that?

      In starting the novel, I knew only that its over-arching mission was to celebrate the more extreme possibilities of human imagination, personality and language, exploring the darkest and brightest flavours of beauty living in our minds. The book had no title yet, when I left New York to spend a week in a quiet and inexpensive place nearby, in order to start writing: that place happened to be the extremely run-down but venerable oceanfront resort of Asbury Park, which turned out to be a place so interesting and appropriate that I decided to use it as the novel’s actual setting, as described at http://www.rohanquine.com/home/the-imagination-thiefs-location/video-audio-text/. The eastern half was a sort of ghost town, which is where the novel’s original title came from, Shrieking Eyes in the Ghost Town. (That title sounded misleadingly “genre” for a novel that I could see was going to be essentially literary fiction with an element of magical realism, so it didn’t last; but I liked it enough to retain it as the title of mini-chapter 115.)
      So I had the ghost town, just as itself and also as a landscape of the mind. Then during and after that trip, some characters just came knocking on the door from somewhere, demanding I cast them in exactly the form they’d showed up in, such as Evelyn, Angel and Damian; while others shimmered tentatively into subtler definition after I’d cast them, such as Pippa, Alaia and Kim. I didn’t yet have the overall glue you mention, but I simply trusted such a glue would appear, since specific themes were starting to emerge:

  • an ever-deeper exploration of people’s imaginations, memories and personalities;
  • the use of creative imagination for the purpose of transcending the everyday world, through igniting aliveness, wonder and beauty, both in oneself and in others;
  • the iconic aura and allure that filmed and photographic images can conjure up and spin around their subjects;
  • the disjunction between beauty and happiness: how the many kinds of beauty in the world, within people and outside them, seem to exist independent of the levels of misery/happiness or pain/pleasure in people;
  • the disjunctions inherent in an onscreen presence, i.e. (i) possessing an incorporeal public self, in addition to the real-life flesh-and-blood self, and (ii) being sealed off in the small and unreal world of a recording-studio, in order to be minutely visible to numerous unknown viewers in the real and much wider world outside; and
  • the glamour of power – whether corporate or gang-based, physical or onscreen.

      What glue would be strong enough to hold together these themes and all the wildly varied and powerful imaginations that were coalescing? The answer arose from the fact that I’d firmly established my protagonist Jaymi in the first person instead of the third person – which I’d done because for me this just felt more enjoyable and natural (and perhaps more honest, despite his being less a self-portrait than a clear lens into other people). The question therefore arose: what kind of first-person narrator would possibly have access to such intense and private imaginative material living in as many as ten other characters? Well, maybe an imagination thief…

      So The Imagination Thief rose up quietly but surely into being, as both the title and the main conceptual tent-pole of the whole thing. The novel then shimmered into focus as being all about a web of secrets, triggered by the stealing and copying of people’s imaginations and memories. It turned out to be about the magic that can be conjured up by images of people, in imagination or on film; the split between beauty and happiness in the world; and the allure of various kinds of power. In aiming to reflect our internal lives in ways they hadn’t quite been reflected before, it discovered a mission to unearth surprising beauty and unexpected love, from behind and within the vicious brutality and danger that seem to be such unavoidable parts of our presence in this world. The whole book is strange, quite extreme and probably shouldn’t be allowed; but for all its media there was an odd quality of convulsive inevitability in its self-assembly, which I’m told is a promising thing.
It also became clear that if it was to do these things that it was aiming to do, then it was going to have to demand focused and full attention from readers, which it would always promise to repay as richly as it possibly could. I’d read Marguerite Yourcenar’s Memoirs of Hadrian and loved the way that it could be read as a linear novel but could also be read by dipping and diving throughout it, because of its unusual quality of majestic, sustained, restless circling throughout its length, which has caused it to be labelled a “meditation” among other things. Her beautiful book is different from this one in many ways, but it was one influence, in the sense that although there is a real, coherent plot in The Imagination Thief (even a brief gun-fight or two, plus a couple of deaths), my novel isn’t ultimately plot-driven but is in some ways a meditation, as hers is. Its dramas, stakes and excitements – at least as I’ve intended them – are much grander than any individual plot details or any individual gun-fights, because they are the dramas, stakes and excitements that comprise our most private and intense human imaginative lives here on earth.

3. Which brings me to the question that I think about most as a writer, which seems very apposite here – which interests you more: the things that make us the same as human beings, or the things that make us different?

For many reasons (advertising, peer pressure, saleability, physical safety etc.), society is full of hidden but powerful forces that try or tend to push each of us into being the same as other people, or into pretending we’re the same as them or at least into expressing those aspects of ourselves that do indeed happen to be the same as in other groups of people, and downplaying or hiding all those rich and subtle aspects of ourselves that are different from those groups. In many ways that’s natural, of course, being tribal behaviour. But many natural tendencies or phenomena in us are to be striven against, clearly, if we’re to continue evolving in good directions; evolution involves change. And we do have a collective modicum of free will in this regard, bringing with it a duty to aim for this. Obvious examples of natural tendencies to strive against are wanton cruelty and such like, but the stifling of individual differences is another big one to strive against too, because for many individuals the ingredients of this stifling homogenisation is a force for violent hidden damage and suffering, which is invisible to other people whom those particular ingredients of homogenisation didn’t happen to affect in that way. So although the things that make us the same can be just as beautiful (and just as important to explore in a novel) as the things that make us different, my own interest is the latter, because the former is already enormously well explored, in a million “feel-good” accounts of things that you can easily find in every medium – and I’m not saying here that our similarities don’t exist, but merely that their expression is disproportionately well catered-for and attended-to already, both in artistic works and elsewhere.

Two of the women in The Imagination Thief are called Evelyn and Alaia. I’m equally invested and present in both of them; but when it comes to the kind of aesthetic and moral and social engagement I just referred to, the very loving Evelyn is lazy, in fact, not really wanting to change how things already are. Whereas Alaia is fully engaged, in those respects, wanting to affect the world and humanity for the better, as far as she can. And although I can’t lay claim to the passion of engagement she displays, nonetheless it is me talking through her lips, when she and Evelyn have to agree to disagree about various things in mini-chapter 40 “Alaia gives me a grilling”:

Now that Alaia knows about my imagination-cloning deal, from Evelyn’s private explanation to her earlier, she disapproves of it on aesthetic grounds and she lets me know it. “Jaymi: the point of Sound & Vision was to enrich the world and remind people of what’s fine and most valuable in themselves, and here you are making a tacky corporate cartoon.”

“Well,” I squirm, “not everything that we put out, as a species, is going to be high art, you know.”

“No, but you know damn well that this corporate cartoon thing’s going to be designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator, like some toxic daily newspaper or some horrible piece of shit on TV. Whatever the details of it, its flavour’s going to be exactly like a tabloid, obviously—in other words, vile puke-making idiocy and vile puke-making ugliness. It’ll appeal to the most putridly mediocre impulses in every one of the tens of millions who see it; and by engaging with those impulses, it’ll strengthen and perpetuate them, without question. You know it will. That’s real damage, right there—real damage that Jason’s client company is doing, and I know you can see that. Whenever a powerful company pulls that same old weary poisonous shit, it’s unforgivable, every single time it happens. Are you disgusted? I am! It lets every last one of us down, as a species.” She folds her arms and glares at me.

None of that surprised me at all, but I can tell Evelyn wasn’t expecting it. “Alaia … this sheep thing’ll be pretty dumb, sure,” she says. “But where’s the harm in it?”

Alaia smiles at her, with affection but a hint of sadness somewhere, deciding what to reply. At last she says: “Look, I just find the debased things in our cultural output hideously ugly. I believe they’ve cheapened and saddened and slowed down the achievement and potential of the human race as a whole. And there’s a small but significant part of me that’s remained in a state of permanent, low-level shock, throughout my life, that at least a large minority of people don’t see and feel the same.”

Now it’s Evelyn’s turn to decide what to reply. “I understand,” she says. “But it’s just a stupid cartoon. And if it wasn’t going to be this stupid cartoon, then it would be some other stupid cartoon instead. That’s just how things are, so what’s the big deal?”

“You’re right, that’s how things are and that’s the problem. For me that’s a very big deal, because I’d like us to evolve from that … and Evelyn, we could evolve.”

Evelyn gives her a look both admiring and sceptical. “Then we’d better hope for some good luck, ’cos I know what people are like.”

“Yes, but people can improve. And I’ll do what I can in that direction.”

The reason that exchange is relevant to the question here is that those devolutionary, down-dragging forces that Alaia is lamenting derive much of their power from appealing to people’s tribal or team instincts, where received opinions of acceptability and sameness stunt people’s growth and potential, rather than celebrating the much messier cocktail of human differences that’s really inside us.

In The Imagination Thief, as in the other upcoming titles that are also in the pipeline here, I aim: (1) to illuminate the darkest and brightest corners of human imagination; (2) to wring as much beauty as possible from this somewhat harshly-designed life into which we all seem to have been thrown without being sufficiently consulted ahead of time; and then (3) to explore and interrogate that beauty with rigour, sensuality and humour. Although the novel pays unflinching attention to some overpoweringly dark aspects of our existence here, I believe it also manages, in places, to suggest ways in which we may transcend that darkness while still preserving emotional and aesthetic honesty, with love and sensuality and a healthy dose of mirth along the way. And this mission requires its narrator Jaymi to look into eight or ten other people’s wildly divergent internal lives, seeing some similarities along the way but not selecting these in particular. For there are unique beauties, sensualities and dark riches in each of us – and those are treasures that each of us should love and own and inhabit, rather than forgetting them or ignoring them or being frightened of them.

Among less summarisable things, I suspect The Imagination Thief may be suggesting that one way to increase our chances of raising our heads above the asphalt (our own heads and others’) is for all of us to put active and serious energy into inhabiting and exercising our creative imaginations, in whatever ways we’re able to, because this tends to help the good stuff happen. Each of us is essentially alone; and unimaginable levels of cruelty and suffering are able to target any one of us at a moment’s notice, if they’re inclined to. Yet love, beauty and humour all continue to insist on arising between us, around us and within us, making riches available to many of us, if we reach for them.

4. What does each medium you use bring to the book? 

In the short video “A proliferation of lenses” at http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films, I analyse this in a way that’s somewhat tongue-in-cheek but basically serious too. In it, I go all “Sartre-explains-Genet”, in the sense that one of this novel’s missions, as I discovered while making it, is the extension of society’s current proliferation of lenses/screens into the traditionally lens-less and screen-less surface of literary-fictional text. Because the book contains a certain amount of self-portraiture – for which there is an established tradition using just words by themselves – my pushing of lenses into the substance of literary prose resulted in the inclusion of a comparable amount of photographic self-portraiture there, to echo the written version of this. For although all the novel’s characters draw mostly on pure invention and sometimes on real people, all the seven major characters (Jaymi, Alaia, Evelyn, Shigem, Kim, Angel and Pippa) do also draw on aspects of me. The photographic result of this, mixed with the rest of the cast, is a depiction by me of the narrator Jaymi, rather than a depiction of me as myself, however, because the photographs in the book are stills from the twelve Films, where I’m cast as him.

Literary fiction has usually been a series of rectangular chunks of typeface assembled in an order that acts as a complex lens through which a two-way journey happens: readers look into the mind of the writer, and the writer looks out into the world and shines onto it some of the colours of her or his mind. And visual artists in most eras have often made self-portraits of one kind or another, in an attempt to understand more about what being alive means and looks like and feels like – and just what it is, this being-alive business that we were all thrown into with such a rude lack of consultation ahead of time.

Especially in its electronic versions, this book therefore combines those two venerable presentation formats, literary fiction and self-portraiture, with elements of the newer, more multitudinous formats of self-presentation and self-dramatisation that occur online. In this mission, a series of ten further kinds of lens have been involved: (1) most concretely, there are the glass lenses in the devices that recorded and conveyed the images of Jen, Mel, Alexis, Cradeaux, Nadia, Paula, Matthew and me (an HDV video camera, a Super-8 film camera, and the projector and camera in the telecine set-up); (2) least concretely, located somewhere among or between the words, there are the seven lenses constituted by the seven major characters Jaymi, Alaia, Evelyn, Shigem, Kim, Angel and Pippa, in the sense that each of these is a lens-onto-the-world, possessing her or his own distinctive optical properties and tint of glass; and (3) as suggested by the presence of the nine names Jaymi, Alaia, Evelyn, Marc, Kim, Shigem, Pippa, Angel and Damian within the names of the twelve Films, there are the twelve lenses that these Films point into those nine characters.

Because our Imagination Thief narrator Jaymi Peek is quite often peeking into the imagination of one or other person around him (and occasionally into the imaginations of two other people simultaneously), seeing among other things how they look at themselves and at one another and at him, he adds to the above list (4) the lens of his own special sight. Positioned in front of three camera lenses (5, 6, 7), he also spends the tidy figure of ten sessions projecting different things out of his eyes (8, 9): one session projecting a huge live broadcast of material from his own mind; three sessions projecting material for a huge pre-recorded broadcast of his own mind; and six secret sessions projecting material he’s thieved from other people’s minds. This projection process is depicted with greatest simplicity in the Films “JAYMI 54”, “JAYMI 115” and “ANGEL 22”, but all twelve Films show it in their different ways.

The self-portraiture element of the book demanded that I assume the same position Jaymi does, i.e. in front of (10) an unblinking HDV camera lens, performing at this lens for the tidy figure of ten hours in total, so as to project all ten Parts of the book. This I did, and this was the process that created the ten-hour Video-Book version of The Imagination Thief, which is embedded live inside this E-Book, alongside and in sync with the very first kind of lens I mentioned above – that series of rectangular chunks of typeface assembled in an order that still acts as the most complex and analogue lens of all.

As well as living online, the Films and their stills also live inside the E-Book itself, alongside the typeface version of the novel and the Video-Book version of the novel, forming an extension from those two formats. These three formats (text, Video-Book and Films) echo the three above-mentioned lenses (5, 6, 7) pointing at Jaymi in his hidden TV studio in the ruins of the Metropolitan Hotel, each of these positioned at forty-five degrees from the next one, in the sense that all three are aimed at the same target. Three different styles of self-portrait are thereby made, from each of which Jaymi gazes out of the E-Book and website and other platforms, straight into your and my imaginations.

5. Is experimentation in form a distraction from content, or do the two go together – both for your work, and in general?

By incorporating and being channelled through various components of video/audio/photo media, The Imagination Thief has something of the visual experimentation and energy of current Alt Lit – but in the context of a piece of text that’s quite a bit more sustained and more like high-literary prose fiction than most of the texts that are usually channelled in that video/audio/photo-incorporating way. It therefore fires an arrow, or shoots a bridge, quite a long way across a gulf from the top of one place (i.e. those big complex rectangular chunks of analogue literary typeface that I mentioned above) to the top of another place (i.e. the sexy evanescent fizz of Alt Lit); but both ends are secured strongly enough, luckily, for me to have been able to dance in the middle over the void between them, in a much less hazardous version of a tightrope-walker dancing on a rope that’s been well secured on two different towers.

To come back to your question here, as people get used to the presence of rich media within text that hasn’t tended to contain it in the past, such as literary fiction, those two towers will come to feel less separate, or the tightrope will become a wider bridge that you can walk easily across, then maybe even drive across. But publishers can and should continue to accommodate and respect people who wish to read only the text of a piece of literary fiction (which will always remain in style as a fine consumption choice, by the way), e.g. by ensuring that any rich media may just be optionally accessed rather than compulsorily intruding on the text. In The Imagination Thief for example, at the top of every one of its 120 little mini-chapters in the E-Book there are only two unintrusive hyperlinks, leading out to the rest of the rich media; whereas we could have gone overboard right there and inserted more of a “webby” access to the whole thing, as follows:

In fact, in order to answer this question fully, showing both how the formal experimentation fits together and also how we could have gone from baroque to rococo with the hyperlinking at the top of each mini-chapter inside the E-Book, Iet’s just pick out a handful of mini-chapters here and give a complete illustration of the “webbiness” that we managed to refrain from loading up the E-Book with…

Mini-chapter 22. “No enchantment without ordeal”

Oh, that Dark Summer, soaked in Ecstasy and petrol fumes, semen and sweat, while the music pumped relentless through the warmth of the air around the corners of the buildings and the flashbulbs popped – till the alcoholic glamour of the white and yellow lights streaking by you through the night swerved down into red-shift and gorgeous splintered-metal smells of sex-drenched death…

The Video-Book version of this mini-chapter 22 is at

http://www.rohanquine.com/ebooks/vbooks/vbook22.php

– within the novel’s Part II “Sunday late: afterglow with Alaia”, whose mini-chapters 18-30 are all at

http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/part-ii

The Audio-Book version of this mini-chapter 22 is at http://www.rohanquine.com/ebooks/abooks/abook22.php

and all 120 are at http://www.rohanquine.com/audio-books

Much of this mini-chapter is used in the Film “ANGEL 22”, which is in the E-Book and also at

http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/part-viii/ and

http://vimeo.com/rohanquine/the-imagination-thief-angel-22

The Video-Book version’s second home is this page on Vimeo,

http://vimeo.com/rohanquine/the-imagination-thief-22

Both versions are on Tumblr at

http://theimaginationthief.tumblr.com/post/45340271373/22-no-enchantment-without-ordeal-oh-that-dark

and the mini-chapter’s text is on Wattpad at

http://www.wattpad.com/12353861-the-imagination-thief-mini-chapters-1-98-22-no#.UatzFEA3un8

Duration 9’32”

The Imagination Thief’s 12 Films are at http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/12-films

and some stills from those are at http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/stills-from-the-12-films

Buy E-Book (including Text, Films, Video-Book and Audio-Book) in either format and through most online retailers, via

http://www.rohanquine.com/buy

 

 

Mini-chapter 93. “Angel’s Baby Doll”

Harder at the ropes she yanks, and wetter do her eyes run, and more and more stunning is her blonde hair swinging through the hot black, locked in its own swishy dripping private silence … and you feel as if you’re looking back inside yourself, Angel, as if you once were her, the Baby Doll.

The Video-Book version of this mini-chapter 93 is at

http://www.rohanquine.com/ebooks/vbooks/vbook93.php

– within the novel’s Part VII “Friday: Alaia receding”, whose mini-chapters 84-94 are all at

http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/part-vii

The Audio-Book version of this mini-chapter 93 is at

http://www.rohanquine.com/ebooks/abooks/abook93.php

and all 120 are at http://www.rohanquine.com/audio-books

The Video-Book version’s second home is this page on Vimeo,

http://vimeo.com/rohanquine/the-imagination-thief-93

Both versions are on Tumblr at

http://theimaginationthief.tumblr.com/post/51636196465/93-angels-baby-doll-harder-at-the-ropes-she

and the mini-chapter’s text is on Wattpad at

http://www.wattpad.com/12362037-the-imagination-thief-mini-chapters-1-98-93#.Uat5B0A3un8

Duration 4’19”

The Imagination Thief’s 12 Films are at http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/12-films

and some stills from those are at http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/stills-from-the-12-films

Buy E-Book (including Text, Films, Video-Book and Audio-Book) in either format and through most online retailers, via

http://www.rohanquine.com/buy

 

Mini-chapter 33. “Theft one, and how to be ignored”

On the emotional side, at the start of my projection of each imagination I have a feeling of “confessing” things that I’m not guilty of myself, but in each case this soon turns into an exhilarated awe at that internal landscape … then an understanding of how it ticks … then through that understanding, a growing love.

The Video-Book version of this mini-chapter 33 is at

http://www.rohanquine.com/ebooks/vbooks/vbook33.php

– within the novel’s Part III “Monday: Alaia learns my subterfuge”, whose mini-chapters 31-50 are all at

http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/part-iii

The Audio-Book version of this mini-chapter 33 is at

http://www.rohanquine.com/ebooks/abooks/abook33.php

and all 120 are at http://www.rohanquine.com/audio-books

The Video-Book version’s second home is this page on Vimeo,

http://vimeo.com/rohanquine/the-imagination-thief-33

Both versions are on Tumblr at

http://theimaginationthief.tumblr.com/post/46332376722/33-theft-one-and-how-to-be-ignored-on-the

and the mini-chapter’s text is on Wattpad at

http://www.wattpad.com/12354840-the-imagination-thief-mini-chapters-1-98-33-theft#.Uatz0kA3un8

Duration 9’27”

The Imagination Thief’s 12 Films are at http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/12-films

and some stills from those are at http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/stills-from-the-12-films

Buy E-Book (including Text, Films, Video-Book and Audio-Book) in either format and through most online retailers, via

http://www.rohanquine.com/buy

 

Mini-chapter 67. “Overheard through the corn-chips”

That animal immediacy, that play of flesh and electricity combined, that scything sharpness and tang within a wrapping of organic yield and warmth, which knew that it grabbed your own gaze and licked it back.

The Video-Book version of this mini-chapter 67 is at

http://www.rohanquine.com/ebooks/vbooks/vbook67.php

– within the novel’s Part V “Wednesday: I learn Alaia’s subterfuge”, whose mini-chapters 61-68 are all at

http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/part-v

The Audio-Book version of this mini-chapter 67 is at

http://www.rohanquine.com/ebooks/abooks/abook67.php

and all 120 are at http://www.rohanquine.com/audio-books

The Video-Book version’s second home is this page on Vimeo,

http://vimeo.com/rohanquine/the-imagination-thief-67

Both versions are on Tumblr at

http://theimaginationthief.tumblr.com/post/49352652947/67-overheard-through-the-corn-chips-that-animal

and the mini-chapter’s text is on Wattpad at

http://www.wattpad.com/12359943-the-imagination-thief-mini-chapters-1-98-67#.Uat2AEA3un8

Duration 7’31”

The Imagination Thief’s 12 Films are at http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/12-films

and some stills from those are at http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/stills-from-the-12-films

Buy E-Book (including Text, Films, Video-Book and Audio-Book) in either format and through most online retailers, via

http://www.rohanquine.com/buy

 

 

Mini-chapter 50. “Unnerving things in Pippa’s bedroom”

Your ears push five slim pale-brown fingers out, one by one, into the dim room: you feel each finger squeeze out its girth with a pop, wriggle off across the pillow, then halt at the pillow’s end and sniff the air, scratching and stroking at the cotton with its long crimson nail.

The Video-Book version of this mini-chapter 50 is at

http://www.rohanquine.com/ebooks/vbooks/vbook50.php

– within the novel’s Part III “Monday: Alaia learns my subterfuge”, whose mini-chapters 31-50 are all at

http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/part-iii

The Audio-Book version of this mini-chapter 50 is at

http://www.rohanquine.com/ebooks/abooks/abook50.php

and all 120 are at http://www.rohanquine.com/audio-books

Much of this mini-chapter is used in the Film “PIPPA 50”, which is in the E-Book and also at

http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/part-vii/ and

http://vimeo.com/rohanquine/the-imagination-thief-pippa-50

The Video-Book version’s second home is this page on Vimeo,

http://vimeo.com/rohanquine/the-imagination-thief-50

Both versions are on Tumblr at

http://theimaginationthief.tumblr.com/post/47774482877/50-unnerving-things-in-pippas-bedroom-your

and the mini-chapter’s text is on Wattpad at

http://www.wattpad.com/12358665-the-imagination-thief-mini-chapters-1-98-50#.Uat050A3un8

Duration 5’10”

The Imagination Thief’s 12 Films are at http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/12-films

and some stills from those are at http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/stills-from-the-12-films

Buy E-Book (including Text, Films, Video-Book and Audio-Book) in either format and through most online retailers, via

http://www.rohanquine.com/buy

 

Mini-chapter 18. “The warm dome of smile”

I glance back upward at what a flight of ecstasy she and I just created, and am filled with a glow of warmth for this brilliant and beautiful woman whose gaze meets mine.

The Video-Book version of this mini-chapter 18 is at

http://www.rohanquine.com/ebooks/vbooks/vbook18.php

– within the novel’s Part II “Sunday late: afterglow with Alaia”, whose mini-chapters 18-30 are all at

http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/part-ii

The Audio-Book version of this mini-chapter 18 is at

http://www.rohanquine.com/ebooks/abooks/abook18.php

and all 120 are at http://www.rohanquine.com/audio-books

The Video-Book version’s second home is this page on Vimeo,

http://vimeo.com/rohanquine/the-imagination-thief-18

Both versions are on Tumblr at

http://theimaginationthief.tumblr.com/post/45018942966/18-the-warm-dome-of-smile-i-glance-back-upward

and the mini-chapter’s text is on Wattpad at

http://www.wattpad.com/12351843-the-imagination-thief-mini-chapters-1-98-18-the#.Uaty1kA3un8

Duration 3’55”

The Imagination Thief’s 12 Films are at http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/12-films

and some stills from those are at http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/stills-from-the-12-films

Buy E-Book (including Text, Films, Video-Book and Audio-Book) in either format and through most online retailers, via

http://www.rohanquine.com/buy

 

Mini-chapter 66. “Rain on corrugated iron”

So tonight you will dance, transcending all that needs transcending, till your stark black Angel’s wings will lift this whole smoky den up over Asbury Park and out across the USA. Lucan smiles and winks at you across the red and yellow space; you smile back weakly, hot and swirling in the dimness, wishing it could always be as now and never change…

The Video-Book version of this mini-chapter 66 is at

http://www.rohanquine.com/ebooks/vbooks/vbook66.php

– within the novel’s Part V “Wednesday: I learn Alaia’s subterfuge”, whose mini-chapters 61-68 are all at

http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/part-v

The Audio-Book version of this mini-chapter 66 is at

http://www.rohanquine.com/ebooks/abooks/abook66.php

and all 120 are at http://www.rohanquine.com/audio-books

The Video-Book version’s second home is this page on Vimeo,

http://vimeo.com/rohanquine/the-imagination-thief-66

Both versions are on Tumblr at

http://theimaginationthief.tumblr.com/post/49252521744/66-rain-on-corrugated-iron-so-tonight-you-will

and the mini-chapter’s text is on Wattpad at

http://www.wattpad.com/12359893-the-imagination-thief-mini-chapters-1-98-66-rain#.Uat170A3un8

Duration 3’26”

The Imagination Thief’s 12 Films are at http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/12-films

and some stills from those are at http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/stills-from-the-12-films

Buy E-Book (including Text, Films, Video-Book and Audio-Book) in either format and through most online retailers, via

http://www.rohanquine.com/buy

 

Mini-chapter 57. “How Kim met Shigem”

The things you said aloud to him were in-control things, but the things that your mind yelped inside itself were different, as they escalated upward by the minute and the hour: “Beautiful friend,” your mind said. “I long to hold your hand in the rain,” said your mind to him.

The Video-Book version of this mini-chapter 57 is at

http://www.rohanquine.com/ebooks/vbooks/vbook57.php

– within the novel’s Part IV “Tuesday: Alaia acts too hastily”, whose mini-chapters 51-60 are all at

http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/part-iv

The Audio-Book version of this mini-chapter 57 is at

http://www.rohanquine.com/ebooks/abooks/abook57.php

and all 120 are at http://www.rohanquine.com/audio-books

The Video-Book version’s second home is this page on Vimeo,

http://vimeo.com/rohanquine/the-imagination-thief-57

Both versions are on Tumblr at

http://theimaginationthief.tumblr.com/post/48430224852/57-how-kim-met-shigem-the-things-you-said-aloud

and the mini-chapter’s text is on Wattpad at

http://www.wattpad.com/12359283-the-imagination-thief-mini-chapters-1-98-57-how#.Uat1XkA3un8

Duration 10’48”

The Imagination Thief’s 12 Films are at http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/12-films

and some stills from those are at http://www.rohanquine.com/video-books-films/stills-from-the-12-films

Buy E-Book (including Text, Films, Video-Book and Audio-Book) in either format and through most online retailers, via

http://www.rohanquine.com/buy

 

 

6. What are the three most important questions writers should be asking more?

(1) How can I illuminate the world, to the best of my abilities, using language in new and old ways, and thereby leave the world infinitesimally better than it was before I did so?

(2) How can I aim and attune my ears as clearly as possible to whatever my/our highest artistic potential is, then bring down the richest results from that place, then give those results the truest and most beautiful form I can create?

(3) How can what I write take an honest account of the darkness and pain in the world, while at the same time being a vote for life (maybe even an absolute blast of fun, along the way)?

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4 Responses to The Imagination Thief

  1. Rohan Quine says:

    Thanks for these great questions, Dan, which helped to clarify aspects of The Imagination Thief in my own mind by prompting me to look at it from specific new angles. I love it that you’ve picked up on the more nocturnal aspects of the tale, which I enjoy and they’re certainly there – but for me I’m glad to say the experience of writing the tale was essentially one of much joy and exuberance! In addition to the one or two villainous or dangerous imaginations that my eponymous Imagination Thief narrator Jaymi finds himself inside, he does also delve into a great volume of happiness, mirth and light in other imaginations too: the sunny, centred and very good-vibes Evelyn, with her wryly humorous boyfriend Rik; an equally joyful and life-affirming relationship, in the pairing of the warm neurotic chatterbox Shigem with the loving Kim; the bluff enthusiasm in Marc, the cool deadpan wit and functionality of Jason, etc. But yes indeed, the full spectrum of light-to-dark is in there, for sure, and it occurs to me that the essential “undercover soundtrack” for the novel is probably early dubstep (as Rik and Evelyn play in their flat) – a charismatically “midnight” sound for a ghost town beside the booming ocean. I think it enriches us to face up squarely to all the shades in our lives here on this strange little planet, and then (to use your lovely phrase) “build a poetics of hope” out of the whole range of them! Thankyou so much again for having me here. Rx

  2. Pingback: Alliance of Independent Authors Member News. Bulletin #27 | Self-Publishing Advice

  3. Pingback: Alliance of Independent Authors Member News. Bulletin #27 | Self-Publishing Advice

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