H5 Season 1 show promises a Shade story in the footsteps of Burroughs

Christopher X. Shade, a New York City-based author, has produced a short story for the Season 1: Migration show.  It’s a cut-up story, a technique popularized by William S. Burroughs.  The cut-up technique typically involves cutting up pages of established text into fragments, and rearranging the fragments to create or inspire new text.  Shade’s story will be made available in booklet form at the free Season 1 show on Saturday, June 18th.

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There are countless ways to create a cut-up story.  On a scale of least to most complicated, Shade’s approach falls in the latter.  Shade uses the cut-up technique for inspiration, finding a balance between literal placements of the fragments and a coherent, meaningful narrative.  He first chose three books from his own shelves that resonate with the themes of this first installation of the broader H5 project.  The three books were: The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Call It Sleep by Henry Roth, and Second Class Citizen by Buchi Emecheta.  He then selected three pages, one from each of the three books.  He cut the text of those pages into small fragments, rearranged all the fragments, and allowed the fragments along with Stefan Hengst’s photographs to inspire a new story.

In Shade’s new story, entitled Shir in Holyland, Shir is the daughter of an Israeli who realized his dream of opening a store in America.  She observes, in the store she has inherited, intersections of people and cultures, slices of immigrant experience.

Shade’s most recent short story appeared in Prime Number Magazine, a story set in Cairo, Egypt.  Follow Shade on Twitter @cxshade.

[Article originally appeared on the 5 Artists | 5 Phases site.]