Monday, December 31, 2007

Some End of the Year Debris


Stories. Most people need stories; they need to fabricate fictions to give some order to their lives, or they need stories to fill the holes of their misapprehensions. Creating stories allows one to be the hero of his own myth and god of his own reality.
For me, stories are no way of living; stories are only good for books.

Love can inspire us to be more compassionate and enlightened; but it is also amazing how memories of a failed romance can drag us down into such petty shit. Cf. From an Occult Diary, A. Strindberg

What is the color of "beaver"?

Wandering around the web and grabbing snippets to feed my imagination.

What is “psychogeography”? The jacket flap defines it as a “meditation on the vexed relationship between psyche and place,” and any number of well-spectacled young Ph.D.’s in sociology or urban studies will talk to you of Situationists and leave you with the bar tab. At its writerly best, though, psychogeography seems simpler to me: it is clear and vivid nonfiction writing with a sense of the past and an eye for the present that takes us close to the street. I mean “street” both literally, as in the color of the paving stones and the font of the signage and the shape of the sidewalk, and figuratively, as in the multitudes that pass by, the movers and shakers, the loiterers and bystanders, the beggars and mimes. (A bartender might mix one part local historian, one part flâneur, one part novelist, one part raconteur. Call the resulting cocktail a Peter Ackroyd or a John Berger, a Rebecca Solnit or an Iain Sinclair.)


Hunter Thompson once said that satire became impossible when reality itself was too twisted and I fear that’s become the case.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Museums of Disasters, II

picture from this site:

Museum of genetic catastrophe

“I understand that the idea of bringing something dead back to life is fundamentally frightening,” he went on. “It’s a power that science has come to possess and it makes us queasy, and it should. But there are many viruses that are more dangerous than these—more infectious, far riskier to work with, and less potentially useful.’’

Museum of an extinct race

"The man [Dervis Korkut] so determined to protect a Jewish book was a scion of a prosperus, highly regarded family of Muslim intellectuals, famous for producing judges of Islamic law. He studied theology at Istanbul University and Near Eastern Languages at the Sorbonne. He spoke at least ten languages and served as the Bosnian National Museum’s chief librarian."

Friday, December 21, 2007


Inferno, by August Strindberg, from this site

"I had been reading the lovely little pamphlet "The Delight of Dying" and it had made me long to leave this world. To reconnoitre the borderland bewteen life and death I would lie down on my bed, uncork a bottle of cyanide of potassium and allow its deadly fumes to escape into the room. He would draw near, that old Readper, so mild and so seductive, but at the last moment someone always appeared or something always happened to cut me short. The waiter would enter on some errand, a wasp would fly at the window."
-August Strindberg Inferno

But if you are in the mood for something really absurd:

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

downturned randomness

It has been a week of feeling sad and defeated, but those feelings can only go on for so long. Sometimes I even feel like I want to stop writing; but I can never stop thinking.

One step positive step in the world: Absinthe, it's back!

Mostly, it seemed to him, they didn’t like the monkey.

“I had the image of a spider monkey beating on a skull with femur bones,” Mr. Winters said. But he said that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau thought the label “implied that there are hallucinogenic, mind-altering or psychotropic qualities” to the product.

“I said, ‘You get all that just from looking at a monkey?’”

I heard a review of this novella on NPR while we were driving back from Mendocino the weekend after Thanksgiving. The reviewer glowed so much about the story, it intrigued me enough to consider reading it.

Last Night at the Lobster, by Stewart O’Nan

The novel contains nuanced portraits of the tensions between the workers, Manny’s rueful confusion over an affair — now over — with a waitress and his profound sadness as his work of the past several years comes to an abrupt end.

The novel’s most dramatic plot points include a vomiting toddler, a slashed leather jacket and a power failure as a snowstorm rages outside. “It is a very quiet piece,” Mr. O’Nan said. “But I think it gets a lot of life into it, considering it’s only 140 pages or so.”