Monday, July 6, 2009

Thoughts/Ideas While I'm Thinking Them

A SLOW Monday listening to Eastern European folk music, eating Greek yogurt and carrot juice. Priced some extremely rare and expensive books this morning, including a son's none-too-flattering photo essay about his alcoholic father and chain-smoking mother: Ray's A Laugh as well as some Gnostic treatises.

EVERYBODY all the time is loaning or giving me books. When you consider this, plus the additional fact that I work in a used bookstore, or actually two used bookstores, it would seem my addiction for the printed word will soon take on Keith Richards proportions. But it's interesting the books people give me. Stephen at Phoenix gave me Joe Orton's Diaries. And Jodel from Goldstein (my old job) loaned me My Dark Places by James Ellroy. And Wendy from the same place loaned me an Octavia Butler novel.

YESTERDAY, A SUNDAY, ambivalent pale grey skies cut, here and there with flashes of pale light. Walked further on 24th than I'm used to. 24th street that is, one of the more colorful, mural-plastered boulevards, mostly Latino and Vietnamese, and I had this moment, walking to a coffee shop for a writing meeting, that I had crossed some interstitial boundary and was in another city, another country, not necessarily a Spanish-speaking one, but an indefinite one where I could learn nothing from the local murals, or discern any sort of religion from the whiffs of incense from the botanical stores.

THIS psychic feeling of border crossing most likely stems from my enraptured reading of The City And The City by China Mieville. More on that later. More on that later: a mantra of sort for the persistence of obsession?


1. Short Stories. Not sure if I have the temperament for this form. But I appreciate the discipline/the slice of lifeness/the brevity and solemnity. And the potential interconnection between several tales, like a resonance chamber. I like the ease with which a vignette can arrive on the page and linger in the memory, like a mysterious postcard from a distant ex-fling. My unifying concept is a sequence of dreamy city stories featuring, honestly what I'm most familiar with space-wise: San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, Los Angeles.

2. Lyrical Essays? I kind of think my longer, illustrated blog posts will be this: essays/meditations on books, culture, art and the personal circumstances of receiving/appreciating cultural artifacts and how they affect one's LIFE. Departing from the idea of life formed by culture. Something like Henry Miller's The Books In My Life or Sontag's Against Interpretation but with personal anecdote, asides, pictures, allusions, cross-references, etc. HERE, some forthcoming ones:

a). Essay on Story of the Eye the movie vs. Story of the Eye the book.
b) Essay on Thomas Disch
c) Dirty novels of the 60's.
d) The Brothers Karamazov as ultimate novel of late-twenties CRISES.

3. OTHER ESSAY TALES. Not sure what I want to call these. Myths? Apocryphal memoirs? Tiny textual movies? One in particular that's getting really long and out-of-hand: a lively, vivacious, somewhat dirty tale of being a straight guy with nothing but hedonistic, sex-loving gay and lesbian friends and the antics that ensue. That might sound superficial? Placating? Trite? MAYBE, but I feel like I have the anecdotal evidence to make it transcend its gossipy-sounding summary, turn it into a cultural document that presents MY generation's life and times in America's most ridiculously awesome city (San Francisco.) ALSO: another essay about the man who travels but wants NOTHING in his journey. Not girls, not ganja, not machine-guns. NOTHING.

4. WORKING NOTES FOR NOVEL, w/Working Title: Assassins. This novel so far has a bunch of segments/story-lines summarizes, some characters sketched out, but nothing fully finished or thought through. Plot thoughts so far: A man grows up with hippie parents. His mother unfortunately has an incident. Kills someone. The Man's sister flees. He is alone and is cursed by the crime of WHO the mother kills, a woman who just happens to be part of a powerful female crime syndicate. The Son grows up nursing a strange fascination-horror with things like perfume, bathrooms, parking lots, courtyards. He is taught that any woman he meets might be a part of this crime syndicate with the working title Pistis Sofia. That he is a marked man. His neurosis becomes a long poem. Then one day his poetry begins to show up at crime scenes that mimic the one his mother was involved in. He must catch the person who's trying to catch him before they catch him??? And on and on. Too much going on with this one...

That's it. Back to book peddling.

1 comment:

  1. My Dark Places is kick-ass. Really dark and unflinching but pretty hard to put down.