Thursday, April 22, 2010

April's On The Out

Panic in the air, a spice from the place where tax money goes, where hospital bills accrue, where lengthy introductions to bad people are made.

A T.S. Eliot April saturated with panic-spice.

Bad air, hazy, raw around the edges, and going from hot to cold within hours and people are having trouble breathing. Everyone is asthmatic and pale, encumbered by neuron storms of private worry and fret.

I climb the red hill beyond my house and mentally map the quadrants of the city spreading out before me. The view of the docks, and the Bayview and Hunter's Point is strangely gorgeous. The slow crawl of freight ships, permanently anchored it seems. I wondered: what if a freight ship was painted orange? What if the freeways were painted blue? What if they hung heraldic banners from the tops of the white cranes? All these wonders, not real now are being piecemeal inserted into the novel which will be a realist science fiction erotic shaggy dog story.

Distraction. I need to go somewhere and use this map there. Tropical countries paint their cities crazy pastels because no one cares. The verandas and porticoes of Vietnam look lovely in a South American jungle town.

I'm 230 pages into the novel and will have to go back endlessly and tweak and improve and slash and burn. It will be a monumental task of humility which I look forward to. I keep sending stories out and receiving promising rejections. I keep writing rambling asides for The Rumpus but so far this year has been like last year but with more rough spots. What will happen to make it different and more smooth?

By accident I got How To Read And Why by Harold Bloom, the notorious, lauded while at the same time loathed literary critic whose read EVERYTHING and thinks, interestingly enough that our country is a Gnostic one, not a Christian one.

I basically skimmed the whole book last night, which resulted in the fact that now I need to read some more things that I don't have and don't now have the time to read: like The Charterhouse Of Parma by Stendhal and the entirety of Leaves Of Grass and Middlemarch and I need to re-read Moby Dick and the strange sequel Pierre. And oh yes, more stories by Chekhov, and by Nabokov.

But you can read forever and feel like you've never read anything. Language is a good hiding place with many hollows and tunnels and caverns. It compels more hiding. I'm not sure what we're hiding from except for the fact that things never turn out the way we thought they would as children. Disintegration feels like it starts earlier than we thought it would. But decaying things can suffer a positive sea-change too.

Oh, and for fuck's sake, it's time I read Proust.

At least Swann's Way. Now I'm of to gallivant in the sun of Friday, my last day off before my work week, before we get a new housemate and have to buy new kitchen furnishings and learn how to live on even less than we have now.

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