Brief Eulogy For Federman
I am rereading Malone Dies
just to mock death a little
and boost my cancerous spirit.
I shall soon be quite dead at last
Malone tells us at the beginning
of his story.
What a superb opening
what a fabulous sentence.
With such a sentence
Malone announces his death
and at the same time delays it.
–from Federman’s blog
Raymond Federman switched tenses last week. And now I really regret not having corresponded with him in time.
I would have liked to tell him how much he inspired my work, how much I admired his imagination, and how much I believe he contributed to the field of experimental literature.
I would have liked to tell him about my experience of reading his collection of postmodern essays, Critifiction, from cover to cover in one sitting at Brennan’s coffeeshop in Columbus, Ohio — how I had only intended to flip through the book while waiting for the #2 bus, but quickly found myself locked into his consciousness — how I needed to read that particular book at that particular time — how it gave me confidence and helped me to form thoughts that I struggled to form on my own — how it made me feel connected at a time when I felt supremely alienated by a creative writing program hellbent on perpetuating conventional realism and marginalizing anyone who attempted otherwise, as if I was not alone in my desire to create unorthodox wordmagic.
I would have also liked to tell him about my experiences reading his fiction…
— how I had to stop reading Take It or Leave It after the first dozen pages because I could tell that it was too close to what I was doing, too strong, too powerful, too able to influence me (which brings to mind an anecdote about William Gibson going to see Blade Runner while he was working on Neuromancer and getting up after the opening sequence and leaving the theater because he was equal parts pissed that Ridley Scott had beat him to the punch and afraid of the potential power of influence it might have on his book).
If you are not familiar with Federman’s work, you can begin to enter his world by checking out his website and his blog. You can also find some of his work online here. And a nice compendium of material here.
He will be missed. And thanks in part to the amazing work he left behind, he will be remembered.
Tags: raymond federman