Books and stuff

Well, just books actually. What the stuff is isn't clear. The excerpts are there to remind me that there is such a thing as transcendence.

Read since spring 1996 or so (most recent first) :


We defended the city as best we could. The arrows of the Comanches came in clouds. The war clubs of the Comanches clattered on the soft, yellow pavements. There were earthworks along the Boulevard Mark Clark and the hedges had been laced with sparkling wire. People were trying to understand. I spoke to Sylvia. "Do you think this is a good life?" The table held apples, books, long-playing records. She looked up. "No."

                                     "The Indian Uprising", Donald Barthelme


"OH I wish there were some words in the world that were not the words I always hear!" Snow White exclaimed loudly. We regarded each other sitting around the breakfast table with its big cardboard boxes of "Fear", "Chix", and "Rats". Words in the world that were not the words she always heard? What words could those be? "Fish slime", Howard said, but he was a visitor, and rather crude too, and we instantly regretted that we had lent him a sleeping bag, and took it away from him, and took away his bowl too, and the Chix that were in it, and the milk on top of the Chix, and his spoon and napkin and chair, and began pelting him with boxes, to indicate that his welcome had been used up.

                                     Snow White, Donald Barthelme


So I spoke up now too. A little. Coming round to meet him from the other side. Lighting up the spook house with the ineffable and sublime. We're not just these bruises in the winding sheets, I told him, and the proof of a life and an identity ain't only X rays and dental records. There's good deeds, I told him in my rabbi mode, and almost mentioned that I'd fucked old Shelley that morning but said something instead about the wonderful memories we make for the people who love us and whom we love. What's a few yards of gnarled toenail compared to that?

                                     The Rabbi of Lud, Stanley Elkin


Often, as I trudged home, my cigarette case empty, my face burning in the auroral breeze as if I had just removed theatrical makeup, every step sending a throb of pain echoing through my head, I would inspect my puny little bliss from this side and that, and marvel, and pity myself, and feel despondent and afraid. The summit of lovemaking was for me but a bleak knoll with a relentless view.

                                     The Eye, Vladimir Nabokov


The distinction between children and adults, while probably useful for some purposes, is at bottom a specious one, I feel. There are only individual egos, crazy for love.

                                     "Me and Miss Mandible", Donald Barthelme


"Well, ladies and gentlemen," he says, "there is no astrology, there's no black magic and no white, no ESP, no UFO's. Mars is uninhabited. The dead are dead and buried. Meat won't kill you and Krebiozen won't cure you and we'll all be out of the picture before the forests disappear or the water dries up. Your handwriting doesn't indicate your character and there is no God. All there is--" He looks over at Pepper Steep's sister asleep in her chair and wants to cry. He wishes he had something with which to cover her to keep her warm, something to put over her shoulders. Somehow Jack Patterson's fart still hangs in the air-- "are the strange displacements of the ordinary."

                                     The Dick Gibson Show, Stanley Elkin


When the sky moves, fields move under it. I feel, on my perch, that I've lost my years. It's as though I were living at last in my eyes, as I have always dreamed of doing, and I think then I know why I've come here: to see, and so to go out against new things - oh god how easily - like air in a breeze. It's true these are moments - foolish moments, ecstasy on a tree stump - when I'm all but gone, scattered I like to think like seed, for I'm the sort now in the fool's position of having love left over which I'd like to lose; what good is it now to me, candy ungiven after Halloween?

                                     "In the Heart of the Heart of the Country", William Gass