This Lapwing Runs Away With the Shell on His Head
We saw Radiohead in concert last night, and while the fog blew off the hills and veiled the stage lights I was marveling that anyone could keep making music for so long, carrying the same sensibility through different styles with absolute surefootednessI don’t know if there’s been a comparable winning streak since Miles Davis. I had very highfalutin thoughts, as with the Shostakovich concerts last year, about a life’s work, the progressive manipulation of forms, the careful laying down of flagstones until a road is built, so that even if the road leads to your grave it remains for others to walk on. Those were the feelings; but the whole point is that the feelings are ephemeral and can only be justified by written expression, if you can do it in time, if your drafter’s eye is true enough.
Pica wanted me to explain why 90 percent of the posts these days are hers, and of course it’s nothing to do with her and everything with me. I haven’t quite finished shopping Approaching Zero around, but it’s gone past fifty-something agents by now and the odds of its publication are looking very long. (I haven’t yet tried the small presses, on the assumption that they have even less capital to happily flush down the toilet, although one never knows.) At any rate, that bookwhether flawed, whether overreaching, whether cloying or pedantic in partwas the principal thing I had to say, and without that centerpiece there seems less and less point in continuing to serve up side dishes here.
There are many, many websites out there written by people more dedicated than me to literary criticism and its ancillary pursuitsthat stuff is my job now, more or less, and when I get home from campus it’s the last thing I want to do in my spare time. My own life might feel epic or tragic at points, but most often it’s neither, and on my rare excursions through old entries I flinch at my own attempts to make it so. I know that some people did enjoy those entries, but I guess I’m aspect-blind to that quality just now. So I don’t know. Pica has more of an intellectual project than I do, in the sense of some definite questions that she’s trying to answer through monologue and dialogue; I’ve got Hamburger Helper without the beef. I always pictured this website as a prolegomenon to the thing I was really going to write. I’m not taking a poll here or anything, I’ve just lost the thread.