October 25th, 2001


a reader's manifesto

I'm reading "A Reader's Manifesto" by B. R. Myers. He claims that many of today's critically acclaimed authors-- Don Delillo, Annie Proulx, Cormac McCarthy-- are actually horrible writers. It's funny because he's so cranky about bad writing. This is from the part where he goes off on "All The Pretty Horses" by McCarthy:


As a fan of movie westerns, I refuse to quibble with the myth that a wild landscape can bestow epic significance on the lives of its inhabitants. But novels tolerate epic language only in moderation. To record with the same somber majesty every aspect of a cowboy's life, from a knife fight to his lunchtime burrito, is to create what can only be described as kitsch. Here we learn that out west even a hangover is something special.

[They] walked off in separate directions through the chaparral to stand spraddlelegged clutching their knees and vomiting. The browsing horses jerked their heads up. It was no sound they'd ever heard before. In the gray twilight those retchings seemed to echo like the calls of some rude provisional species loosed upon that waste. Something imperfect and malformed lodged in the heart of being. A thing smirking deep in the eyes of grace itself like a gorgon in an autumn pool. (All the Pretty Horses)

It is a rare passage that can make you look up, wherever you may be, and wonder if you are being subjected to a diabolically thorough Candid Camera prank. I can just go along with the idea that horses might mistake human retching for the call of wild animals. But "wild animals" isn't epic enough: McCarthy must blow smoke about some rude provisional species, as if your average quadruped had impeccable table manners and a pension plan. Then he switches from the horses' perspective to the narrator's, though just what something imperfect and malformed refers to is unclear. The last half sentence only deepens the confusion. Is the thing smirking deep in the eyes of grace the same thing that is lodged in the heart of being? And what is a gorgon doing in a pool? Or is it peering into it? And why an autumn pool? I doubt if McCarthy can explain any of this; he probably just likes the way it sounds...



I avoid work by writing a journal entry

i think i have some weird addictions. this journal is a good example. why am i doing this when i have real stuff to be doing? i have a todo list! you know things have hit a crisis point when i have a todo list. "#1: finish todo list"

but i feel that as a future artist of some reknown, i must record my thoughts so that students of my work will have some insight into the vast and complex vagaries of my ouevre.

a. and i met yesterday, at the embarcadero docks. we sat on a bench facing the bay bridge. she has the kind of red hair that lights up like fire when it's in the sunlight. there were birds picking through garbage at the far end of the dock. she gave me a travel scrabble set as a going away present.

we talked for a while about where we saw ourselves, what expectations we had. i was honest about not feeling like i'm in love, though it hurt to be honest. i don't know if i've ever been in love... i think that's really depressing and i try not to dwell on it. there is no definite conclusion but we are going to try to be dating casually, or friends with benefits or whatever you want to call it. i have decried such things before but consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. (in other words, it's all theory till it's personal. as morrissey put it, "i've seen this happen, in other people's lives / and now it's happening in mine") i am too entangled in a. to willingly let her go... i'm glad she's coming to richie hawtin on friday. also we're going to ride in critical mass. it's halloween mass, which accordingly to a. is the wildest one of all.

fuck! i still have no costume. julieb was telling me i should be a toaster. dana had a kleenex box costume that i definitely would have stolen if i could have gotten out of her apt. without her noticing.

do you ever try to have deep thoughts? i feel this need whenever i smoke a cigarette. somehow, i've come to think of cigarette time as a space for philisophical musing and contemplation of the issues of our time. unfortunately i am not really a deep thinker. i try to jog my mind by doing sentence completions:

"One thing I've noticed about society is..."


"When talking about human nature you have to remember..."

but I never come up with anything better than "one thing I've noticed about society is... I'm hungry" or "when talking about human nature you have to remember... cigarettes taste like ass"

what does it take to be deep? you have to see patterns in the evidence. all patterns in my life would indicate that i am a lazy bastard who needs to get off this journal and go do work. if you catch me lounging again before i have finished the tasks below, please whack me on the side of my head. not that hard!

1. share pictures (they are here... however since almost no one in the pictures actually reads this, it is not permissible to immediately cross this off the list)
2. start laundry
3. start mixtapes
4. start packing (scope out boxes)
5. buy richie hawtin tix
6. email copies of itinerary to family

ok that's not so bad. move out