What is the Chaos Movement of Literary Composition? We know who to ask!

By Octavia Findley

Martin Nakell is both a scholar and a creative writer. He currently teaches at Chapman University in CA and has received his Doctorate of Arts from the University at Albany in 1980. He also, attended Columbia where he served as Assistant Editor on Unmuzzled Ox. 

OF: Can you describe your craft for me?

MN: “I’m involved in something called the Chaos Movement of Literary Composition, which derives its way through the scientific chaos theory. Meaning that as we write some turbulence has to occur, which interrupts the normal writing pattern to create new patterns, new forms. I believe that all art is a communication of energy from person to person. That energy is achieved by that turbulence, which creates pictures beneath the ordinary syntax of a word. The theory is a description that comes out of my writing. I don’t write following my theory, but I look at my work and other people’s work that I admire and see that’s how it gets created. It’s observed while I’m writing.”

OF: What’s your favorite part of the writing process?

MN: “My favorite part would have to be conceiving. I personally enjoy every part. I enjoy writing, being challenged by problems, solving those problems, editing, publishing, and reading. So, really, all those aspects I enjoy very, very much. But if you were to ask my favorite part, it would be dreaming of it, conceiving of it. The images to come to mind, the ideas, the words.  And the surprises that come also, of course.”

OF: Who’s your greatest influence as an author?

MN: “The Bible. The Hebrew Bible. Because it has everything literary in it.”

OF: What’s your favorite genre for leisure reading?

MN: Poetry. I’ve just reviewed Eugene Gerber, it’s a very good book. Steve Katz, Rebecca Goodman. A novelist named A.B. Yehoshua. I’ve been reading him lately. I suppose that’s just a few names of the people I’ve been reading. Let me add two more then, Tom Large, Wendy Walker, both from New York.

OF: Would you like your work to made into a film in the future?

MN: “I have two screenplays written of my work, but in general, I think my works are screenplay proof. That is to say, I think that writing is better at language and screenplays are better at images, and they’re very different forms.  The French novelist that did it had a talk about it, he had his set opinion and we talked about it at some length. Nonetheless, somebody has made a very poetic screenplay of two of my short stories. And she’s a dancer, a theatre person. And I like her vision a lot, so I gave her permission to do that. She couldn’t wait. Although, I am a film buff and I love watching movies. One of my favorite contemporary film makers is Julia Loktop. She’s very special.”

OF: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

MN: “No. If you’re a beginning author, you know what to do. Just write. And hang out with writers. If you have that energy to become a writer, then I don’t think there’s any advice that I can offer you.”

Nakell’s books include The Myth of Creation (1993), The Library of Thomas Rivka (1997), Two Fields that Face and Mirror Each Other (2001), Form (2005), and Settlement (2007). If you’ve never had a chance to meet this inspiring author, don’t fret! He comes to NY quite often, most recently to give a master class at the NYS Writers Institute Book Fair in September of this year.

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