Steve Almond, by way of elegy, offers up a reprint of a piece from his book Not That You Asked. “Heart Radical: The Strange, True Flight of Airships.”
So that’s what Airships was about for me: coming out of hiding as an emotionalist. Realizing that, amid the vanities and elisions of the Southern literary tradition, there was a deep, Christian possibility: that confession might actually cure, that love might act as a revolutionary force, that the chaos of one’s past and present, if fully experienced, might portend some glowing future.
Rumpus: Beyond the masturbation issues, Milo Burke is a real sad sack. He keeps fucking up, and he’s very aware of it, and yet he is trying. He’s not giving up on life.
Lipsyte: That’s right. I think you’ve got it. He’s got problems, but he’s definitely putting in the effort. It’s just not clear where the effort should be directed. He’s in over his head.
Also^2, Elizabeth Bastos shares the Last Book [She] Loved, which is The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (WARNING: review includes spoilers).
P.S. If this actually ever happens, I’m getting out a gun, Hannah-style.
P.P.S. Here’s Barry editing himself.
If Gary Lutz does it–and he says he does–I don’t know how he does. In an interview with Michael Kimball, Lutz says, “Maybe part of the explanation of why I write the way I write has to do with the way I sometimes read. I sometimes read a book from back to front, sentence by sentence-a practice that, as one might imagine, can give a completely different disposition to a book.” I’ve been trying to read Barry Hannah’s slim marvel, “Ray,” back to front. Sentence by sentence. It won’t work. A book like “Ray” has a certain velocity, speed, force. You’d think that because most sentences here are jewels, are the sharpest of diamonds, that one could isolate them and pick them apart from the bone outward. But it’s become clear to me that Hannah’s sentences sing precisely because they are deeply embedded in a system of voice which, however fragmented the narrative structure of “Ray,” is a system, and therefore, to my mind, necessary.
December 17th, 2009 / 1:48 pm
(for previous installments in this series, click here)
WORK DISCUSSED THIS WEEK: “Two Boys” by Lorrie Moore & “Water Liars by Barry Hannah
Tuesday, 9/29 – “Two Boys.” I’m not a huge Lorrie Moore fan. I don’t dislike her, but I’ve had Birds of America taught to me several times and it just never…grabs me. I think the best experience I’ve had reading Moore was in David Gates’s lit seminar at New School when I was an MFA student. And even at that, what I mostly remember is David’s enthusiasm for “People Like That Are the Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk.” That, and a single line from the story that’s always struck me as incredibly beautiful and haunting. A blood clot discovered in a baby’s diaper is described as looking like “a tiny mouse heart packed in snow.” Beyond that, I’m content to know she’s out there in the world, making some people very happy. Good for her; good for them.
But a couple summers ago I was teaching a non-credit writing class at the Gotham Writers Workshop, and I was trying to find a way to spice things up.
Geronimo Rex, pg. 142, first full graph:
Other nights Fleece explained to me how he had declared himself–he was going to be a doctor and study how “one suffers in the meat.” “I was always a meatball,” he said. “I’m going to be the best doctor Mississippi ever produced. They’ll bring in some whore whose boyfriend has shot her in the cunt pointblank with a shotgun and alongside her her boyfriend also, who thought he commited suicide putting the last shot into his navel, and I’ll put on my mask, wave my hands with some instruments, and bring them back Romeo and Juliet.”