Monday, August 29, 2011

Queer Luck

My friend Ed wrote to me Saturday morning and asked the opaque melody of dreams. I pondered that later as I drove to a book sale at Locist Grove, enjoying the frenetic activity on River Road, dozens of triathelets training on the penultimate day ahead of the Iron Man, a high school cross country tournament at the river's edge and a group of South Asians playing cricket. Hindsight informs me that I shouldn't have been watching the cricketeers and , instead, the cyclists running that fool's gauntlet of the wealthy from the East End. I made it to the sale and began my haul. I noticed that my memory now contains certain shoals which are rather alien. I can still recall most of the books I bought before, but often, as of late, I don't necessarily compute our additions. It is fair to mention as well, that I can't really recall the location and circumstances of many of the books acquired over the years. The sale had a surfeit of Iris Murdoch Penguins and I scooped up a stack. Related as such was the biography of Iris by Peter J. Conradi which I bought as well.

the rest of the weekend saw me complete The Life of Thomas More which I fear was undermined by the brilliance of Wolf Hall. Ackroyd was left in a vacuum by comparison, a dispassionate, nearly autistic, listing of More's deeds, crimes and writings. I did say crimes though discussions and ambiguity abound.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Poor Mister More

The Life of Thomas More has unfolded midway as of this evening. I've reached midpoint and I find it curious that Peter Ackroyd devoted as much effort and space as he did to More's childhood and early service in London's municipal government. It is a testament to the late Fifteenth Century, but other than meager scarps of cross-reference More led an undocumented life until his ascendancy into the Star Chamber and the confidences of Wolsey and Henry VIII. The exception to this is, of course, his friendship with Erasmus. I read Stefan Zweig's biography of Erasmus a few years ago and I recall both More and Luther appearing to be straw men, as such. Wasn't Zweig working from memory at the time, maybe in Brazil? I don't know. Maybe I'm confusing him with Auerbach and Mimesis?

Remaining Engaged

There have been no 100 page evenings this week. I am scratching away at both Lonesome Dove and The Life of Thomas More. I was told about another Western this week, Butcher's Crossing by John Williams, the author of Stoner. I will explore that one.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Not even developments in Tripoli can shake me from a minor funk. The origins of this remain clouded. Since my last post I completed Against Nature by J.K. Huysmans and then The Fall by Albert Camus. Both are very French explorations of defining the character of a just life. The mechanics of each are rather distinct and don't afford much overlap.

Another disparate pair has ascended into view since then. I picked up Peter Ackroyd's biography of Thomas More on Friday and then found myself drifting into the orbit of Lonesome Dove yesterday. Yeah, I know. That second one is a bizarre development.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Unhanding the Exotic

Morning found me pondering The Finkler Question. I had also dreamt of David Gilmour but I think such extraneous.

I have completed Lights Out for the Territory, Bartleby and Co. by Enrique Vila-Matas and Geroges Perec's collected nonfiction Species of Spaces and Other Pieces. The latter pair were birthday gifts to myself.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

An Excavation

During a former life, Rick Kennedy often urged me to the "will to coherence," as I age a little less than gracefully, I sense a being bereft. Writing is a trial for me now. I lack the bile to riff and spit. I will forever be exiled from Jamesean sentences, that will always be an awareness.

Yesterday I completed Light Out For The Territory and I must admit to being overripe per Mr. Sinclair. 1000 pages in a few weeks will sate most curiosity. The recent unrest underscored a number of his pithy observations. It would only be gauche to elaborate. A few hefty challenges remain in my inbox. I have suffered a few problems with Our Mutual Friend, namely the obvious nod to being paid by the line. Having familiars address each other with full names fifteen times in a conversation is a personal issue for me. No, I don't tweet nor have i sent more than a half dozen text messages in my life.

Vollmann's Argall represents a different challenge. The page itself can hardly contain the erudition which erupts. It is unfair to compare, but John Sayles' A Moment In The Sun, for all its breadth, was essentially a rather linear tale with structured emotional overlap. Vollmann, conversely, interrogates the reader, the Western historical tradition and the foundations of narrative ethos. His postmodernism (horror, horror) doesn't strike one as continental, instead, it recalls Pynchon, in the sense of while challenging/questioning the Imagined Communities of the Homeric Project, one should always seek out a pint for one's trouble.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Being 41

Having weathered the birthday gauntlet, I am still engrossed with the hefty efforts; Vollmann's Argall, Dickens' Friends Sinclair Out In The Territory have proved laborious. Engaging, without a doubt, but still an effort is required. I am thus apprehensive as the Premiere League is supposed to begin this weekend and my reading will no doubt suffer over the weekends for the 10 months.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

The Strength To Give

Having spent last weekend with Iain Sinclair, I feel comforted by his presence in the world. Rumination is a dying art. While walking with my wife Thursday night, I proffered the obvious, walking in London is quite distinct from walking in Southern Indiana. That is understood. The tidal collective remains the association, the pollination. the seepage as concepts are engendered and coupled via our own experiences. That is why Lee. J. Cobb and Jean-Baptiste Lully remain important to me. Going to Meijer or Target destroys that. There can't be a tradition there. Why would you NEED to buy more shit you don't need?

Sinclair is a human cross-reference. The fact that he's good friend with Peter Ackroyd reduces everything to a maximum of two levels of association. Cull any cluster of pages in his books and stare at the citations of Aki Kurismaki, Geroges Perec, Peter Fleming and James Ellroy. Such is a true blessing to that nerd, myself.