Tuesday, September 23, 2008

my father read creepy books




... and now I have read them and become in his image also creepy and yet... and yet... somewhat lame. Would recommend Harrad first, pornographic cover nottotallywithstanding. And then Castle. And then... and then... Also, is there no end to the ways by which we must get at our parents? It is becoming positively joyful to remember him badly. Sometimes I look at my own son and think, And yet... and yet... Shan't let him read any of these. Although we own two of three, in original mass paperback glory. He disdains all of my books so far. In that way, we don't resemble one another. By my son's age, I had already taken a healthy bite out of all that was forthrightly pornographic or wrong or downright rude in my father's library.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

So I’m at this like weird dinner party in Hollywood, sitting at a little japanese tea table with Benico del Toro


So I’m at this like weird dinner party in Hollywood, sitting at a little japanese tea table with Benico del Toro and he’s telling me about this rock climbing hike he took that ended up on a mountain cliff over a sea where he finds this little cave with all these gazelle bones in it, and just then Renee Zellweger comes into our little room ( a purple room, with black and brown lights, all the rooms in the house where the party is are very small and different exotic colors, like oxblood and purloin silk, and only a couple people are in each room), and I lean over to Renee (I’ve only just met her) and she’s got this cunning little video camera attached to her wrist with a delicate silver chain like it was a charm bracelet and she is recording the party and I know she’s just there to make time with Benicio but I’m like, Hey, I’m sitting with him, I’m trading stories (even though I don’t rock-climb or hike and am not Latin, I’m that weird suburban washed out white, part orcestra conductor, part pig, with grey buttocks and lank dry hair), but I lean into Renee and press my nose against her neck and feel thir coarse fabric sweater like coat thing she’s half-wearing and I murmur, Thank you, thank you, even though it’s not her house and not her party and we just met and she must think I’m del Toro’s little gimp white chimp drug dealer or something, but she squeezes me back and moans a little back at me and then floats on her with her outlandish clotted strawberry and cream complexion and Benicion lift his chopsticks at me like guys used to raise an eyebrow and I say, whatever, man, tell me about using yoga to fit through the crevice, and did you crack the antelope bones for the tasty, hieratic marrow? after we finish eating in about four mintues (the portions are tiny, it’s not like the suburbs where you eat until you’re sick and then go... click here for full story

Monday, September 15, 2008

DFW RIP


Devestating, blanching news that David Foster Wallace died Friday, apparently a suicide. Nothing swallowing its own tail. A brilliant, mischievous, warm and cold and hot and sterile, funny and deadly serious talent, Wallace hung himself at his home in California for his wife to discover. The story refuses to provide any hand-holds for meaning, any crevices for a joke to hang. I wrote to him in November 1997 -- one of the few writers I've ever written to -- as I was blown away by Infinite Jest and had a clipping, a fragment really, of an old Smithsonian article that seemed to echo a crucial part of Infinite Jest. My letter to DFW went as follows:

"The enclosed reminded me of the wonderful first broacast of Madam Psychosis in Infinite Jest, so I have to send it on to you. I don't quite remember the source, but suspect it was from an old Smithsonian magazine about a photographer of freaks, since the reverse contained the fragment '- unfortunate freaks, living or dead, afflicted with every kind of physical oddity. Graphic as they are, they radiate a sublime beauty, and have made Joel-Peter Witkins one of the most-'"

And here is the clip I sent him (click to see full-size image):

Full disclosure: I also whined to him about what I'd written and never published. DFW wrote back in December thusly (again, click on image for full-size):


Needless to say, I was thrilled at his response. Getting up the nerve to write had been my achievement: I didn't expect a reply. As Wallace has been lionized thus far in obituaries and notices and appreciations, both for his off-the-charts brilliance and ambition, and for his warmth and graciousness, I just wanted to chime in, enthusiastically if amateurishly on the first count, and from real life on the second.

Monday, September 01, 2008

the abyss between isolation and having one ally



"Through all this ordeal his root horror had been isolation, and there are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. It may be conceded to the mathematicians that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one. That is why, in spite of a hundred disadvantages, the world will always return to monogamy." The Man Who Was Thursday, G. K. Chesterton.

Moderate strength is shown in violence, supreme strength is shown in levity.

This is one scary-ass novel, equal parts The Metamorphosis and The Third Policeman, with a little PG Wodehouse thrown in just to completely confuse you. It starts out about poetry, then moves to politics, and ends up being about divinity and metaphysics. It's an artlessly-almost-all-male book, stranger in concept than in fact, but unique.

"Bad is so bad, that we cannot but think good an accident; good is so good, that we feel certain that evil could be explained.