Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The feeling you get

The feeling you get from wanting to flesh out hundreds of pages of words until they make a certain amount of sense to you is of turning your back, forcefully, sensually and in some cases regretfully on what living is, which is hearts and mistakes, cavities and unmade beds. When you turn the aforementioned into words, you tend to perfect them with more lavish imperfections, or tone them down with more subtle parsings. Sometimes I mistake it all for adolescence but that's when Big Brother Super Ego has the upper hand.

Nothing quite brings you round to the glorious irrationality of your decision to play with words than reading the letters of writers.

In this case the letters of one of my favorite living writers, Samuel R. Delany, appropriately called 1984, the year the bulk of them were written and a deliberate homage to Orwell's timeless dystopia. Just got it in the mail today from a small bookseller somewhere out there in the bookseller cyberspace.

Published by the unusual small press Voyant Publications that apparently has a website only in Chinese. Flipped through only a few of the letters but it was humbling to read sentences along the lines of, although I shamelessly paraphrase and even, to some degree, invent: "Today I wrote for fifteen hours, drank coffee, went out walking looking for fun and then came back and wrote this letter around dawn. . .meanwhile the tax man is hounding me and all I have to eat is week-old chow mein I filched from the downstairs neighbor. . ."

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