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Showing posts from July, 2011

the revised me, other artists, and you

i'm still here, too, although it feels odd to unfair not to be blogging about floods in Seoul, chaos in Yemen, mass murderers, unemployment, dire warnings, debt ceilings here, or defaults there.

well, i've linked to this one before, but if you want to feel happy to be alive, i offer up Cassendre Xavier's "Happy To Be Alive."

i suppose that i'm more "too tired to be alive," which is not the same as tired of living.

and it has nothing to do with the hiccups and giggles with my analyst or anyone else.

another way to get a lift out of life is to view the photography of Abeer Hoque.

have a great weekend, wonderful reader!

bolano, ebooks, tweets, etc.

I'm engrossed in Bolano, Roberto, again--polished off the second section being serialized by The Paris Review (197)and then jumped right into The Skating Rink, which I'm finding pleasantly suspenseful. I'm also enjoying how this slimmer novel resonates with Bolano's other work. We meet alternating narrators, a broken poet, South Americans in exile, the murdered and the forlorn, and a rich sadness that can be absurdly comical, and thus radically destabilizing, all at once. Or, you could say Bolano can write scenes that perfectly create the feeling of simultaneous laughter and tears.

(I believe I first read about Bolano's writing being described this way in a review either in Harpers Magazine or The New Yorker, and I apologize for being unable to pin it down. This wonderful website of Bolano articles appeared when I tried to search for the original quotation.)

At a slight tangent, it seems fitting that I received my form-letter rejection from The Paris Review last n…

The Adventures of Augie March

Before I drove up to Philly, in bed but awake at 7 a.m., I shoved down the last ten pages of The Adventures of Augie March, and I can tell you the last word was America even if it would be ridiculous to suggest this novel could be the last word on America.

In fact, it's not, and although I know that from reading James Atlas's biography and other sources, Bellow ended his life in favor of Augie's active spirit as opposed to the hopelessness and fatalism of the much shorter Seize the Day, it still seems that you don't have to live through the Great Depression or the current situation to recognize that by the numbers, the protagonist's life in Seize the Day much more accurately depicts life for many more Americans than the adventures of Augie. (Still, we could consider that's not the point at all, and that while both inform, it is Augie March that better entertains.)

And for the slim majority of Americans that do live their whole lives floating well above surface,…

Fante criticism but no fiction

Well, I've been blogging on Saving Bookstores (and buying more than I should, too), but I wanted to come clean and be sure that everyone knows that I purchased the John Fante straight from the Evil Bezos himself on Friday. This was after I discovered that my otherwise wonderful university library had books of John Fante criticism but none of his novels.

Please thank Allen Ginsberg if this first thought is in fact the best one:

The parasites suck the host dry and then live to gloat about it in the stacks!

(I should come clean and admit that I checked out both books of criticism and have enjoyed some of the essays so far. In fact, if you count comp and business writing as separate strands of college English, then for some time now, I've been swinging from far more than two sides of the departmental plate.)

Well, I've read The Road to Los Angeles and Ask the Dust, so I ordered Dreams from Bunker Hill and The Brotherhood of the Grape.

If you want to learn more about John Fante…

prizewinners die broke?

Well, I doubt that's invariably true, but the gold stickers on the wall haven't lifted me away from run-down townhouse living on the poorer side of university town, South Carolina. The optimistic angle could be that the final days of living on Mom's couch have been avoided so far (Et tu, Kerouac, Exley, et al). To be frank, I have a feeling that sobriety and fear will keep me working and dull enough to support myself for many more years.

It ain't exactly the Nobel or Pulitzer, but I suppose an Indy regional prize is better than nothing at all.