1POSTCARDS FROM THE LAND of BEFORE I COULD WRITE: Came across this, just now: While Turkish eugenicists were trying to establish the whiteness and Europeanness of their civilisation, Hitler was fantasising about a superior race that availed itself of what he saw as Islamic immorality and ruthlessness. In his memoirs, Albert Speer, the Nazi Minister of Armaments, noted that Hitler expressed admiration for the ruthlessness of Muslim Turks. Hitler wished Turks had conquered Europe and converted the continent to Islam. He imagined a superior race of ‘Islamised Germans’ who could circumvent the moral limits of Christianity. Which made me think … Continue reading LITTYBITS
Writing about Sex is like cooking with garlic: the garlic is not the point. Imagine writing a scene in which two important characters share a meal and you’re therefore lavishing all of your descriptive powers on that act of eating (and, possibly, attempting to elevate this act to a level of kitschy spiritual symbolism that neither Eating nor Sex can realistically support), leaving almost everything else out of the scene. Imagine doing that several times in a novel: it would be peculiar to do so. Eating is great but… right? Garlic is great…. Imagine, instead, the meal between these two … Continue reading WRITING ABOUT SEX(X)
1METAPHORPHYSICS, METAMORPHYSICALLY: Another Round of TEDDY vs SYL Reading and writing are the only Arts I know of which are also, at the basic level, quotidian. People don’t sketch, sculpt or compose music as a matter of course as they tick-off the must-do boxes of the day’s unavoidable chores. There’s lots of confusion, then, between the entry-level activities and their manifestations as Art. It doesn’t help that the levels of accomplishment between crudest practitioner and the furthest, finest opposite, on the scale, are not nicely-vaguely infinite but divided by the rough number of the total literate population of … Continue reading WHITMAN, HEFNER, PLATH, DELILLO, GHOST MOTORS and CERN (et al)
About two months ago, I read a silly article and commented on it, as I often do. The article was written about Peter Matthiessen, the hatchet-faced jock who co-founded The Paris Review, as a CIA front, during the Strangeloveian heyday of Cold War 1.0. The article, written by Matthiessen’s nephew, Jeff Wheelwright, struck me as an attempt to rehabilitate Matthiessen’s image in possible preparation for a whitewashing biography. I left a withering comment (Matthiessen’s part in the sociopathic distortion of the West’s Literary Culture, of the mid-20th century and beyond, is one of my bêter [wink] bêtes noires) and moved … Continue reading A Philosophical Lesson in Comparative Reading and Writing (and the corollary mechanics of same) for my friend Jeff Wheelwright, the Last of the WASPs
Q: If you’re so good, why haven’t I heard of you? A: Well, you’re good and I haven’t heard of you, have I? Q: Why bother writing novels at all in a post-literate era? A: Q: Does fiction help, or harm, in a post-Truth world? A: The difference between loathsome propaganda and honest fiction is the difference between a pickpocket and a magician. In a word: intent. Nimble fingers are not, in and of themselves, the problem. Q: How can people read your novel if they don’t like reading long texts online? A: Think of a novel as … Continue reading QnA
Early today I had to pre-heat the oven for the frozen chicken nuggets that Daughter has favored for the past two months. Well, they aren’t as bad as the ones you can buy at the American Embassy (McDonald’s) and she’ll be on to something healthier, again, soon enough. While I was waiting for the oven to “ping” I picked up a copy of Thomas Pynchon’s V, for whatever reason, and re-read the first few pages. I’ve been writing long-form texts for 20 years and I’ve developed a hawk-eye for typos/ errors (I can’t remember which famous author I caught using … Continue reading DON DELILLO v CHICKEN NUGGETS w/r/t PYNCHONIAN ERRATA & SYNCHRONICITY
Way, way back, in the early Aughties (and how long before some scientist finally makes the announcement that one year in the early part of the 21st century is equal to c. 20 years of duration, in PsychoPhysics terms, in the early 20th?) there was a group of us… perhaps a dozen… a loose affiliation of Writers who’d met and began to cross-conspire Online. This last July 31st, 2017, one of us died… and I dug up this document from 2009, a Roundtable on Writing in which 7 of us, including our recently departed Comrade, participated. It’s a micro-historical document … Continue reading Why do They call them “Movements”?
In order to understand DFW’s writer’s block, you have to understand his relationship with Jonathan Franzen; in order to contextualize DFW’s suicide, you should understand his writer’s block… “[f]iction for me is a conversation for me between me and something that May Not Be Named —God, the Cosmos, the Unified Field, my own psychoanalitic cathexes, Roqoq’oqu, whomever. I do not feel even the hint of an obligation to an entity called READER—do not regard it as his favor, rather as his choice, that, duly warned, he is expended capital/time/retinal energy on what I’ve done.” —David Foster Wallace, Before they got … Continue reading THE WRITER, HIS KILLING and HIS FRIENDS: a brief review of a book and a video