What I’ve attempted here is an explanation of sorts. A Charles Foster Kane, so to speak, scrawling what I hoped for on the front of what I’ve done in case something’s lost between those spaces. I’m not sure. In short, two things were published this year for which I will be held responsible. I’m not sure about these things, and so I write in perhaps a circuitous manner to become more sure, though I doubt that’s anywhere close to happening. I live of late in a Beckettian sink and I’ve tended to just let the proverbial chips fall and observe their spins and gestures. That is all.
They both began as frustrated growths on the back of my first novel. Marcel, the story collection, written as an attempt to bend the form a bit and shed the autobiographical; and Postures, a last ditch and last nod to personal concerns before contending with something like history, perhaps. I wrote one over years and revised as each story took shape and found hospice before its last scribbles. I wrote the other in a stretch of months after reading Cèline and Exley in close consort and needing to respond in turn.
Marcel was published by a nascent press with broad ambition and small press élan. Their comforts are complete and human, and with that book’s release I’ve committed needed parricide against the parental First Novel and spread my guts that much clearer across the workshop floor.
Postures is the eighth in Publication Studio’s Fellow Travelers Series and I find myself in the company of past heroes like Marlow and Killian, Jeppesen et al, as my second novel is wrapped up with independent means and given to the coffee’d hands of whomsoever.
A process, if there’s been one, has been abject failure through and through. What I like is to focus on some absence, some missed note from the canon that lets me revel a bit in my ineptitude before scrawling indiscernible static through some pages. I think of writing and writers as a largely precious bunch from whom I’ve run, and the writing I’ve managed seems more for the janitorial staff of any clinic than it is the grand haughty reams of history.
I am a ghoul and a failure, and these are what’s offered
through my ramblings, little else. I think of Vito Acconci’s lived admonition that we leave the printed word for the performative and eventually architectural, but miss the memo entirely. I want to fail amid the pages and ambitious louts for all time. I love the writer as loser, the Kate Zambreno notion of writers past as an army of possible heroines to prattle at when the television won’t wash out all things contemporary. I love the Beckettian dog in the digital world without a clue. I wrote these texts for them. I lived within the texts because I couldn’t breathe at readings where all seemed satisfied to talk and talk. All I could manage were boyish mumbles and bratty chants from back where nobody could look.
It’s an unfortunately particular stance to take, and yet it matters: the book in its perpetual last breaths continues to snivel at mattering and so I stick with it, half pulled to the grave and half pulling the dying Novel for one last round of bowls of cereal and television. I do these things and say them what’s more and nothing much will come of it. I feel the failure of history to live up to its father’s bloated goad, and therein find the pages I need to write.
I consider the Lish school and the advent of the sentence
and his consecution and it helps; but even still a hero sought is another lost year when it comes to this piddling avocation. Heroes and idols must be strung up in so many words inside the mind and rules and regulations duly dashed. I’d advocate for the simultaneous digitization and destruction of every great artwork until the Louvre’s masterpieces were replaced with middle schoolers’ bored empty lines. I’m into movement, and sought it in the writing I guess. I’m into moving forward, but accelerationism also bores me—I cannot stand the hashtag. I think the future of something can’t necessarily be found in the previous incarnations of said something. I’m not sure.
So failure bubbled up and I trusted it and wrote these books. One filled with short hometowny rambling and attempted experimentation; the other a longer narrative toward the end of required narrativizing of mine own lived lives. They are corny and weak, ambling and occasionally flexible, and they exist for your perusal.
Intermittently the bits from the novel became available online as various Erasure(s). My goal I guess was to publish the whole thing through simple freeing streams and thus avoid the papered book, but this was foolish. Marcel‘s fragments were available here and there more toward the shipments to the printer as half-assed tries at personal enrichment or something. When I sat and wrote I was talking and not listening, trying to pin down a self-within-a-self that might talk back and tell me where I’d hid my keys or the remote or my better nature. Any of this is just as true as not—I just wrote and ruined it and let all appear as it was.
I don’t think of writers, or their ilk, when I think of writing. I think of begrimed old videos I’ve seen in dreary classrooms projected over the eyeballs of tired undergraduates. I think of all that human vying and ambition and its meeting place with every good day’s work by those who never thought to make a life of note taking. I wrote the way I wrote because I can’t do better and I’m just as flagrantly ambitious as the arm-raising finish liner. I accept my trying I guess. There’s an honesty in it maybe. Someone somewhere, a digitized Lord Crunkington III, in the annals of the Internet, once said: @postcrunk: there is no good or bad art, just honest art and insincere art, and my tendency is to agree and take my leave.