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From Unwanted Memory to ‘Palimtext’ – A Creative Writing Process Through a Series of Textual Iterations

Jess Richards


In recent creative writing experiments, my intention has been to metamorphose
source texts into entirely new texts. The source texts included carefully selected
folkloric texts (which have an established tradition of being ‘retold’ and can’t
usually be traced back to one ‘author’) and also randomly selected novels, short
story collections, non-fiction books, etc. obtained from thrift shops. I have recently
used speculative processes: magical thinking, questioning, evoking empathy
for objects, and textual processes: redaction of texts, faulty voice-to-text apps,
folded books, and ‘cut-up’ text experiments. This article will focus on one of
the recent textual processes.

Within these textual processes I have been working with texts as a physical
object—the book, the print-out, the page. The source texts initially become
fragmented which creates surprising juxtapositions, images, narratives, and ideas
which are altered further during a series of iterations. Prior to the project described
within this article, I judged any new piece of writing complete when I had
written a new narrative in a more conventional literary form (e.g., a short story).
However, for this project, due to traumatic memories emerging, the processes and
outcomes became more fluid.