Written August 26, 1996.
Copyright (c) John Leo 1996. All rights reserved.

Notes for "Trilingual"

I came up with this story while walking to and from a week-long class at Stanford, August 7-11, 1995, while listening primiarily to Watanabe Misato's "Boys Kiss Girls" and Princess Princess's "Get Crazy!" over and over on my walkman. It was inspired partly by my experiences searching through books in French in Stanford's Green library for Robbe-Grillet information, and I wanted to convey some of that excitement of finding bits of information and connections between things, of discovering something new in a language you hardly understand, in this story, although I don't feel I succeeded. The reader can perhaps capture some of that feeling by looking through the references in the story (and the story is complete in that it includes pointers to all of its generators) but that is no doubt more effort than it's worth.

I pretty much wrote all of the story mentally that week, and didn't start writing it down until the 14th or so, continuing the 24th (and maybe some dates in between), at which point I had it all written save for the Angélique section. At that point, however, I lost all interest in French and writing and it wasn't until a year and a day later that I finally wrote that last section and finished up the story. There was also to be a short passage in the Japanese part referencing Big Bird Goes to Japan, but I decided later that that section was already too long.

The story still could use a lot of improvement--the overall flow is not as smooth as I'd like, and a lot of details need work. But this is the first story of significant length I've written in over 10 years, and who knows if I'll ever get around to polishing it, so I wanted to make it available for comment now.

I've only very recently realized a theme to my recent writing (whether it be actually written down or not)--that of removing all physical action and creating a purely mental world in which the "action" takes place. This was no doubt influenced by my favorite writers, Robbe-Grillet and Pinter, as well as Beckett, who all do it to some extent. The nonfiction "Jean(ne) de Berg: A Journey", captures this fairly well, and it is even more explicitly present in a story I'm currently working on, "Please Happy End".

Unfortunately no web browser I know of is trilingual (unless you want to use a Gnu Emacs browser inside of MULE, which I haven't tried), so you'll need to switch between Latin-1 and Japanese (with Netscape) if you want to read it all. If you don't have a Japanese font you'll just have to use your imagination for the characters.