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[NOVEMBER 2006.]

"Why does our society make artists into exiles? Horace wasn't an exile! He got along just fine!"
“Ovid was.”
“Oh yeah.”
“But not Horace!”


This novel was supposed to be action packed. But I did not reckon on my ponderous prose. It’s too late to rectify; style is habit, and I am stuck with this ponderous prose that petrifies everything it touches.


I just drank some sour milk.

What makes you a uniquely desirable candidate from our perspective? What distinguishes you from the general pool of applicants? Why should we subsidize your whims, grant you the favor of living where you please?

I drank the sour milk.


Now I’m confused. So you really ARE a woman?

Now I just don’t know how to dispel that confusion. I suppose people on the web are only people to the extent that their assertions are assertions; and the assertion index is low around here, I know. Valéry called fictional characters “vivants sans entrailles,” and I think was troubled by it. Me, I’ve always found it a relief to check my entrails at the door.


You’re a woman? I thought your name was “Paul” and you lived with a woman. Are you a lesbian?

And a Hussite, and an ectotherm!

Let's just let the lying end here, so we can all try to heal. We've suffered enough here, “Paul.”


J. went to Belgium for a conference and I promptly started forgetting to take my pill and stopped doing the housework—and that gives you an unshaven Veteran’s Day on the couch with the dirty dishes and coffee mugs and sweaters and guitars all over the place staring at the novel you started and thinking, what a stupid novel, what a stupid fucking novel, this was a bad idea from the beginning and the execution has made it worse, its only merit is being short, or projected to be short; but first it has to be done, and then to discover you threw away a year’s writing on a terrible idea, the setup for a bad joke, a premise that would be excusable only in a comic book or rock opera—but if I ditched it then my self-respect would have to hinge on literary criticism or teaching, and those sure are bad bets. Or we must give up the notion of self-respect! Along with the analytic-synthetic distinction and the distinction between an organizing conceptual system and a neutral material to be organized! I suppose the consequence of that would be spending the day in the bathtub.

Or, we must give up the notion that self-respect can only be derived through our academic & professional accomplishments. Easier said than done, I admit.

Game point!

but a gem of a blog post!

"what a stupid novel, what a stupid fucking novel"; sublime.

If only novels about stupid novels weren't generally stupid themselves...

you got some kinda problem with comic books?!?

Well, I'm perfectly happy to concede the problem is mine and not the comics'. Sometimes I'm told I haven't read the right ones.

the right ones involve lots of capes, generally


Driving a minivan with J. in the passenger seat. It is a crappy minivan, and in order to work the brake pedal I have to lean so far forward that the van's center of balance shifts; it tips forward and the asphalt flies up to the windscreen. "Ack!" says J. "Sorry," I say, "it's a crappy minivan."

A pipe has burst inside the piano. I hadn’t realized the piano was hooked up the the house’s water supply, but the pipe has burst and is spraying hot water everywhere; the wood is swelling, with obvious adverse effects on the piano’s sound. I try to plug the flow with a cork from last night’s wine bottle, but it doesn’t fit. Also, I am a woman. I will have to marry some rich suitor so that he can pay for the piano repair.


And the way I used to recount my life as it would appear in the Richard Ellmann biography; because Richard Ellmann writing your life, that was how you got into heaven.


Simultan on Sviatoslav Richter

"I mean, what does he do to a piano when he's angry? I feel like he could just pick it up and spin it around.”


Day of the Dead

Autumn came in an eyeblink. My life is evaporating, leaving behind the hard precipitate of what has been written and read—but it’s all right. As long as I take my pill in the morning, it’s privilege enough to catch the vapor’s scent as it goes.


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