self-regard is rooted in breakfast
Also, have at last been able to sift back through the June entries in my favorite weblogs: Typewriter Erotica (found by Juliet a couple of weeks ago) is probably old hat to many, but if it is new hat to you, go put it on.
Also, have read some good books on airplanes:
Illuminations, Walter Benjamin. I had read a few of the essays before, but never the book in its entirety, and they are just so damn good. It isn't often that you find a critic's mind conjoined with a poet's soul. "Unpacking My Library" couldn't fail to make an impression, given that I just spent $700 to ship my books to Tucson.
I am unpacking my library. Yes, I am. The books are not yet on the shelves, not yet touched by the mild boredom of order. I cannot march up and down their ranks to pass them in review before a friendly audience. You need not fear any of that. Instead, I must ask you to join me in the disorder of crates that have been wrenched open, the air saturated with the dust of wood, the floor covered with torn paper, to join me among piles of volumes that are seeing daylight again after two years of darkness, so that you may be ready to share with me a bit of the moodit is certainly not an elegiac mood but, rather, one of anticipationwhich these books arouse in a genuine collector.
...one of the finest memories of a collector is the moment when he rescued a book to which he might never have given a thought, much less a wishful look, because he found it lonely and abandoned on the market place and bought it to give it its freedomthe way the prince bought the beautiful slave girl in The Arabian Nights. To a book collector, you see, the true freedom of all books is somewhere on his shelves.
I imagine that back then, before the modern glut of in-print works and fearsome distribution engine, books as objects were far more important; but to an extent it still holds. The essays on Kafka are also great (Kafka's world is a prehistoric world, Benjamin says, not even out of the swamp), and I would guess that the same goes for Proust, though I can't be sure since in the 3-4 years that I have owned Swann's Way I have yet to go beyond page 5.
Snow White, Donald Barthelme. I liberated this one from Justin and Julia's yard sale and was a little unsure about it, as I'd only read Barthelme's stories before: could he keep the magic going through an entire (albeit short) novel? Oh yes he can. I kept laughing out loud and unnerving people on the plane.
Clem you are down-right anti-erotic, in those blue jeans and chaps! Artificial insemination would be more interesting. And why are there no in-flight movies in shower stalls, as there are in commercial aircraft? Why can't I watch Ignace Paderewski in Moonlight Sonata, through a fine mist? That was a picture. And he was president of Poland, too. That must have been interesting. Everything in life is interesting except Clem's idea of sexual congress, his Western confusion between the concept, 'pleasure,' and the concept, 'increasing the size of the herd.'
The President looked out of his window. He was not very happy. "I worry about Bill, Hubert, Henry, Kevin, Edward, Clem, Dan and their lover, Snow White. I sense that all is not well with them. Now, looking out over this green lawn, and these fine rosebushes, and into the night and the yellow buildings, and the falling Dow-Jones index and the screams of the poor, I am concerned. I have many important things to worry about, but I worry about Bill and the boys too. Because I am the President. Finally. The President of the whole fucking country. And they are Americans, Bill, Hubert, Henry, Kevin, Edward, Clem, Dan and Snow White. They are Americans. My Americans."
True History of the Kelly Gang, Peter Carey. Carey just doesn't disappoint. This one was a little like Blood Meridian, except it had characters. It also featured the immortal phrase "steep and dangerous routes known only to thieves and wombats."
This is just procrastination here. I am afraid of going back to the book. Last night I went back and read the latest draft for the first time since April and there are just so many things wrong with itI can't believe it won me anything.