I have been inspired I think a little lately by the lack of recent click in things. I feel like I am waiting with some massive concrete clod above my head and it descends a little each morning when I wake up and things are going to start again. I don't know how the hours are gone. Six months of dogs fucking in a pile of insulation.
All day I don't know what I'm waiting for.
Last night saw Tom Waits at the Fox, he played for almost 3 hours, a wide variety of stuff from all eras of his stuff, some from Rain Dogs, some from Alice, some from most everything, it felt as if in the presence of something. I felt excited and laughed some and got burny in the back of my throat some like I wanted to cry but didn't. He did '9th and Hennepin' essentially performing spoken word to a sold out crowd and people going apeshit for it. That was impressive. I sat there thinking, books would never draw this audience, what would they do, just stand there, who could bring in this many people, not even the most famous of famous. Tom Waits makes me think there are still things left good about music. Mostly music turns me off now, funny all the years I spent obsessed, I wonder what else will turn off.
A friend and I talked the other day, 'There will never be another major artistic innovator in music, it is impossible.' There were probably other times where this was said but I honestly think now the thing is beyond dead. Innovation is not possible, and the bands that are hailed as innovators are more in the lines than ever now. It is sad a little but mostly I don't care.
Read Noy Holland's THE SPECTACLE OF THE BODY this weekend. That was some kind of experience. I had read and heard of how when she would read the 80ish page story ORBIT from this collection that whole audiences would stay and listen to every word to the end, and that it could 'change your life,' etc. Seeing your life change in act is I don't know, but I did feel very blipped in a certain way over ORBIT in particular. In that I felt more connected to it by voice and rhythm than most anything I've recently read. It sometimes felt as if I were reading the thing I've been mimicking without having seen it: certain rhythms, phrases, ideas particularly in some of the stories from my Scorch Atlas seemed as if I had studied ORBIT and tried to invest in it. This made me feel right, like I'd been somewhere or like I'd been okay. Like there was someone else. I don't know. ORBIT is pretty much pitch perfect and opening in all kinds of modes. If I were going to teach an advanced fiction class, this would be my primary example of voice, voice as story, voice as how to move the image.
There is something many of the Lish students seem to do that always strikes me, the small repetition of little phrases, such as here:
We hear her pleading with the Pope at night, blind-gigging geese at night.
The repetition of the 'at night,' I don't know, most editors would comment on this, yet in voice-building it seems to add and rhythmically it defines things, like there are little sets of colored stones around the words, I don't know, I often like it when it happens, but in lesser hands it can seem so petty, it is strange how these little repeating phrases, that seem to pop up all the time in Lish students' work, it is funny how they tend to add another layer.
Lish in his own fiction would do this to the point of bizarre often, I can remember whole pages where he was basically saying the same thing over and over with little variations, and it works somehow. Causes pattern and disturbance? Incantation?
Here's another example, particularly where the repetition goes and then breaks and where it breaks it hits even harder than if you'd said it straight:
It got to be she quit begging me for it, quit begging or sleeping or eating at all, or wanting at all like she used to want to have something cleaned or moved in the room like she used to want, or to be touched.
Holland also works in those kind of references I'd talked about before, saying place names like Macy's and specific brands that tend to hull more energy and develop a kind of colloquialism from them, a little budge. I am convinced of something by it, I have a little mannequin in my sideburns.
Anyhow, yes, ORBIT, it is a story that if you are interested in voice-driven fiction, should be read, and the rest of the collection is quite magical as well. I have a feeling I will come back to THE SPECTACLE OF THE BODY again and again in later years, however I turn out.
I'm not talking very well today, I don't want to anyway, I am gagged a little.
It is raining.
I feel weird these days at night, like there is something, or there is nothing.