“Rousseau was categorically convinced of the existence of vampires.” –David Markson

Henri Rousseau, "War"

So I’ve been thinking a lot on naive art, a term people don’t use no more, and how it relates to writing. Rousseau is talked at a lot in Markson’s This is not a novel, the main character of which is named Writer. It’s hard to tell though, which one he’s talking about — Henri or Jean-Jacques — unless of course you know who Le Douanier was. It’s interesting too to think on the distinction(s) between folk art, outsider art, primitive art, and the art of children or the mentally ill. Because there is a difference apparently according to Anatole Jakovsky and other people at least there was, the differences some of them anyway being that naive artists produce a color palette which is harmonious if different from that of the usual whatever. The compositions are balanced and interesting, even inspired, but not executed as people are taught in art school. I don’t buy this.


Excerpts & Random / 16 Comments
November 2nd, 2010 / 10:40 pm

Joseph Young’s NAME

I posted this video for the line, “You gotta pay your dues before you pay the rent,” but watching it now and digging it, I’m struck by how the whole thing applies to Joseph Young’s new novel, NAME. Not the tone or the shots from Lollapalooza, but all those crowd scenes juxtaposed with Mark Ibold looking all lonely has its parallels. So just watch that video but listen to Bauhaus and right there you’ve made the movie adaptation of Joe’s book.

Dues paid, Joe wrote NAME last month to pay next month’s rent. You can buy the book for a donation of at least $10 to this cause. Well, hell, that’s cool, and pretty cheap for a 25,000 word novel. That it was written in a matter of weeks, to me, makes it even better. Look what this guy can do. READ MORE >

Author Spotlight / 18 Comments
August 16th, 2010 / 10:49 am

Second Sex and Death

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Magnum Photos
Simone de Beauvoir, Paris, 1945

A good article titled  “The Second ‘Second Sex'” about translation, specifically of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, in The Chronicle of Higher Ed. Have you translated? What are your problems/concerns with translating?

Another interesting one in The Chronicle about vampires and dead people in general: “All the Dead Are Vampires.”

A + B = C. de Beauvoir plus dead people = A Very Easy Death. I haven’t read this memoir of de Beauvoir’s mother’s death in a long time, but I remember it being a powerful meditation on death. Describing her mother’s fears after a fall in the bathroom that breaks her femur, de Beauvoir writes, READ MORE >

Random / 6 Comments
June 24th, 2010 / 9:33 am