|. . . B. S. Johnson|
|. . . 2004-12-25|
From Nicholas Nagsheaded:
What I think of st Nikelass
I think that st. Nik is very santely and nice but. He should not call us notty he is a notty fat git himself and needs a triming bad, his head is like a sheering contest and a old rabbi fomf. St Nikel ass has very shinie red beak from boozing. All the cloath are like a cirkus tent and red like he thinx he is Elvis. He starts laffing like a big ho nancy when he put the littlest boys on his lap because he pervs and is morbid obees. He is the fattest sante in the church and wiggle like jelly if we take the micke out of you that is all about you NOTTY FAT OLD PERV NIT.
Also I want a swichblade and led pipe and swade boots size 7 but NOT RED.
Also I want a swichblade to, brand new or if it is cleand may b.
|. . . 2008-01-13|
SPOILER WARNING, but I felt Barbellion finished the Journal properly. (And capped it with the best hiatus announcement in proto-blogging history.) Exclamations and expletives aside, odds are high that "Self-disgust" will be my last thought as well. Although of course one tries to avoid directly addressing a topic that forces polite bystanders to dredge up ineffective protests: it's dull and egocentric and even deadlier to conversation than say dreams or SAT scores or incomes.
The need to not quite express oneself leads I guess to writing — but that hardly settles how much is not quite enough. Witness the "careers" of Barbellion or Henry Adams or Jean Eustache or so many others.... Three days ago for example I finished Dickinson's Misery despite the title. (Its true name is Dickinson's Genre. Virginia Walker Jackson justifies "Misery" as a generic metonym, like "Stars" or "Trillion Year" on a book about science fiction , but "Arch Playfulness" marks the same genre just as well, so tush.) While its argumentation may be knotty, it's not the usual loopy; anyway, the real joy's in the archival contextualizations and complications which re-establish Dickinson as unknowable: an Open and therefore Shut Case.
Yesterday for another example I finished an iffy novel by B. S. Johnson, an experiment marred by sloppy procedure, a eulogy uninterested in its subject, instead that imitable B. S. Johnson self-loathing, very understandable too, or "surprisingly accessible" as the critics say, it's the Malcolm Lowry problem, ha, he follows on Joyce and Beckett, but without the grasping or the distancing, we're flipping pages in his head, a fine fat one, still no room to breathe, we know how that ends.
Back to me though, about eighteen years ago for example I emerged upon a new plateau of despair and not long after began to write and then to publish. The triggers are clear enough; the motives are questionable. Just a week ago for example while I was in a frenzy of fatuous blundering the question arose. I have two pat answers and this being a social occasion I deployed the social one: I write to meet people. Now clearly that's false: I wrote before I met people, I write without meeting people, if these are advertisements for myself then they're the sort of ads that never mention what the product does. No, the primary motive must be my other pat answer, to get verbal structures "out of my head." But as I commented to Mr. Waggish ten days ago "out" is a vague word, and what I mean by the pat answer I used I guess is that meeting people is the only reward I receive from writing, which in turn determines the particular type of "out" I'm in: commercial writing pays too little, an academic position would make me go Stanford, and the thrill of seeing my name in print lasts thirty seconds to be followed by years of sore regret over my inability to edit the bylined piece, the unnecessary expense for readers who won't like it, and the unlikelihood of it ever reaching readers who will. Not that I don't suffer sore regret after meeting people but, you know, it's by far the best of the lot.
In conclusion then, The Unfortunates is another, Dickinson's Misery is good, Barbellion is better, and give me a call.
Call?! I'll see you and raise you!
next time I'm in California, I will.
Holy crap, it works!
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