Lonny Nilson

{LMC}: A Letter to Padgett Powell, From the Famed Autodidact Lonny Nilsson

Ed: You can read a PDF of this interview, here, so you can better participate. Buy NY Tyrant.

Man, Powell, you are a redneck savant.

Powell, I’m writing to you about your interview with a Jacob, Jacob White. You know, you can say he’s a Jacob, because there’s a many Jacobs in the world, just as there are a many pitbulls that’ll kill your littler dogs, as you so say. But can we correctly say you’re a Padgett? I’m not so sure. I mean, you are a Padgett, don’t get me wrong, but to say so seems a mite disingenuous, as though I were to say you are a three-headed rattlesnake: You’re probably more the three-headed rattlesnake.

Powell, I called myself a famed autodidact in the title of this letter because you put a pressure on me, in your skills. You put a pressure on all of us. You’re a writer in the mold of writers who do things other than write—a practical mode, this is. In the shadow of your many voices, many minds and many habits, I call myself an autodidact, and I do try—but crafts seem to wither at my touch, you know, as though I’m a wrecking ball come to break things down rather than put them together, and I can’t hardly overcome my big iron-spherical nature. But hey.

Powell, we don’t send half-enough letters these days, and at the beginning of this compilation-of-many-sorts you are in, this New York Tyrant 8, sort of diverse in that way you are diverse, there’s a letter unsent from the great West Virginian Breece D’J Pancake to his mother, in which he dreams double-layered about a strange kind of deathless yet skeleton-haunted world. If a letter, even unsent, is good enough for Pancake, it’s better than me, and hopefully better for me, than to continue trying to fish and hunt and roof in your image and keep hooking my buddies, jamming my gun, falling through the ceiling like the paralyzed man on his pallet in Mark, sans rope and pulleys.


Literary Magazine Club / 8 Comments
October 19th, 2010 / 2:00 pm