Saturday, May 10, 2008
PRETEND & abstractions
You can read that there. Or you can order a print version of PRETEND I AM THERE BUT VERY LITTLE from Publishing Genius. It is $4. The next 10 people who email me that say they're going to buy it I will send $1.50 through paypal. That reduces the cost of the chapbook to $2.50. I am serious. Don't feel bad asking me for the $1.50. That would be the same or less than if I printed and sent them to people myself. I am lazy. They are nice to hold.
Last night I ordered Peter Berghoef's chapbook NEWS OF THE HAIRCUT from Greying Ghost Press. It seems like a very good adventure. They are releasing stuff by Brian Foley and Shane Jones and several others also. Tickdf.
- - - - - -
Soon I think I am going to post a review of Tao's new book. I am going to have a review that is a real review somewhere. My post on here will be about how all my favorite parts of the book are abstractions. It's true. Tao is an abstractionist in denial.
The thing with people putting supposed abstractions in 'quotes' is starting to drive me batshit.
I can't say it's not appealing to do. I caught myself doing it for a while. But this idea seems to want to have a philosophy behind it. People who do it might say that's not true. But it does.
If you are going to 'quote' abstractions, you need to put quotes around everything you say. Simple sentences do not negate abstraction.
'Jon' 'ate' 'the' 'orange.'
What is a fucking Jon? Ate it how? Like he took the whole thing into his mouth with his mouth? Didn't chew? Chewed and spat it out? The? As in 'the only orange in existence'? The only orange is St. Petersburg FL? Ate the color orange? Ate an orange tictac? The orange woman floating over his bed? 'Jon ate the orange' is way way too abstract.
In fact 'I felt sad' (which seems to be a popular sentiment) is way way more abstract than a language poem sentence like 'Courage syrup skronked the beeble.'
Why is that blabber less abstract? It's not assuming you can decipher it. 'I feel sad' is assuming you know exactly what it means. It is assuming you somehow can feel empathy with an expression so common and potentially expressible by any human ever. 'Courage syrup skronked the beeble' knows it will only ever be defined in the brain of the person who reads it. It has no implication, it has no intention, it only develops out of association. It is truly more free from abstraction than 'I feel sad' or 'I searched myself on Google and found a photo of a chocolate cake.'
'I feel sad' isn't really saying anything at all.
I will forever identify much more strongly with 'Courage syrup skronked the beeble' than 'I feel sad.' And get more out of it. And suck its dick more. And for the most part I find language poetry boring as fuck.
The best writing (I will not quote 'best') is a balance of these two camps. Abstraction and clear speech, with some teeter totter on both ends.
Here is my favorite section from COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY, which I think fits this description, and may be my favorite moment of all of Tao's lines:
"then i saw beyond the window to the tree, the house, and the street
the house and the street made mysterious binary noises
that negatively affected the tree's immense happiness
i observed this neutrally, without falling out of my chair"
Tao Lin is ghost-writing the next David Lynch movie.
Tao's book is good. Buy it.
'I' 'didn't' 'mean' 'to' 'write' 'all' 'that' 'just' 'now' 'it' 'just' 'happened'.