Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Reader's Question on Literary Cubism

A reader recently asked about my use of literary cubism in Resolution 786. The reader's question and my answer follow -

The reader asked:

Dr. Mughal,

Thank you so much for being willing to answer questions. I loved your first book, and hope it means more to come. I think I saw on your Facebook that you have two books in the works - one fiction and one nonfiction about writing. When are they coming out?

What I'd really like to know about Resolution 786 has to do with it's style. It seems Literary Cubism is a very interesting choice considering the fact that much of the meat of the story has to do with Adam's literal understanding of things. His way of thinking and viewing the world seems in juxtaposition to the style of the book, which for me made it more "alive" and "real" and "three dimensional" if that makes sense. The intense contrast between the nature of the main character and the style of the book adds to the intrigue. Was this intentional? Accidental? Can you elaborate a bit?


A. Reader

Mohamed answered:

Dear Reader,

First, about the two books that I have in the works - I expect and hope to have both drafted by the end of 2010. As for when they’ll be “coming out” for public consumption, we’ll see….

On your question about the contrast between the nature of the main character in Resolution 786 and the style of the book: I had never thought of it!

Yes, Adam Hueghlomm has a linear, literal mind that’s steeped in logic. Yes, on the contrary, literary cubism is a non-linear multivariate mode of viewing and telling a story from different perspectives through the use of various written media, a method of writing that’s free from any strictures of temporal propriety.

Was the juxtaposition between the nature of the main character and the style of the book intentional? No. Not at all.

Was it accidental? Not entirely.

Keep in mind, as a writer, my background is that of an Indian born in Africa and raised in the United States; a child born into Islam who has had the privilege of studying and experiencing Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Masonry and New Age thought; a chemical engineer dabbling in the humanities, theology and philosophy.

I am an amalgam of influences. It is inevitable that my written works will reflect those many sources of learning and experience. Thinking through both your question and my answer, I realize now that literary cubism is perhaps the ONLY mode of literary expression for a person with such a patchwork of geographical, theological and educational background.

No, in retrospect, my choice to use literary cubism to write Resolution 786 wasn’t to create a non-linear juxtaposition for Adam Hueghlomm’s linear intellect. Rather, I think it was a demonstration of who I am as a person and, more importantly in this context, who I am as a writer.


  1. Wow, it's some deep stuff! But you are so good to answer readers' questions, it would appear.

    Thanks for visiting my blog today; your answer to my random question was enjoyable. :) Best with all your writing endeavors!

  2. Thanks, Janna! The absurdist in me just couldn't help but post that silly thought to your blog :)

    Great to meet a fellow writer with a sense of humor.

  3. Very interesting letter! You certainly are an amalgam of influences! With all those varied experiences, you must have so much to share with the world through your writing.

  4. Thanks, Susan! Yes, a life rich in experiences can be an asset to writing, but it's certainly not a pre-requisite. Emily Dickinson stayed close to home her whole life. I could never match the expressive beauty of her writing.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. As a person who feels all experiences deeply, I can honestly say that it feels good to connect with fellow writers like you.

  5. You are truly an amazing person: a person with such varied experiences, make the most use of it not only for yourself but also for people like us. Let the knowledge and the experience be shared.
    Wishing you all the very best in life.
    Well,I posted a love poem of Rumi, which is so simple yet full of meaning, and is so short.

  6. You've given me more credit than I deserve, Rama. Still, I thank you for your kind words.

    I read the Rumi poem that you posted; lovely! Even the mystics can't resist the passionate call of love.

  7. You've tapped my curiosity. I'm not familiar with Resolution 786, but it's only a matter of time, dear genre.

  8. Kathy,

    Thanks so much for dropping by! Yes, your post about genres intrigued me to the point of self-analysis. Do I have a genre? I honestly don't think I do, in all of life, perhaps you're's only a matter of time :).

    I'll stop by your blog whenever I need a thoughtful prompt for writerly reflection.

    Happy evening!