I am not phased in any way by rejections anymore, if anything I like them, honestly, especially when they say things.
One of the letters said this: "... the general consensus here was that it was a thing with too many layers, layers upon layers, and the process was more of a process of peeling them away to get to the meaning. Not a bad thing in itself, of course, so long as it's part of a process of meaning... "
Process of meaning. Meaning. I don't know. Why did the dog shit into the cantaloupe in this scene? What does the dog shitting into the cantaloupe say about our lives, in this day now?
Equally: What does a guy going to a store and meeting a woman mean? What does a character realizing he has cancer mean? How directly should a layer be connected to another layer in order for the idea to be clear?
A better question: why does something in a book have to be speaking to our lives?
What if the author doesn't know and doesn't want to know?
What can be said that isn't speaking to a life in some way, outside of pure aasdhfoasydoriuaoduri gibberish?
Though I honestly have felt affected by asiodfhjasidfyoaiudyfiu more than, say, books where every action has a reaction and each move is eventually understood.
I think too many movies and Flannery O'Connor prize winning books and so on have milked the idea of text as life replication object or motive opener into something very restrictive and dangerous really, at least in certain forums.
I'm not talking about 'experimental' literature here, or making an argument against narrative, per say, but more wondering what certain types of motives and expectations are for in fiction.
Is the reader working to connect the 'meaning' bad?
Is unclear meaning, rendered well, not desired?
Layers upon layers
Recently, when Johannes Goransson read here in Atlanta, he read part of a text that said, specifically, 'NARRATIVE = DEATH,' referring to tag line for a Godard film in the poem. The other reader who read with Johannes, Chris Bundy, a more narrative-interested guy who seemed a bit edged by reading after Johannes (who wouldn't?) specifically referred to that moment before he began with his story. He asked Johannes if that's what he'd said, and Johannes agreed, adding 'I didn't say I was right.'
Chris's story then ended in several people in the narrative dying.
And yet, too, there can be things that happen, tangentially even, in stories or what have you, that have no referendum, no ulterior zoning, etc. They are words, the words themselves, as fractal moments or as ant heads in an enormous anthill, say something in a few words that open only for there, then, and are finished. And that is all they should be, to expound on them would be to beat their cheeks.
This second letter excerpt is from a friend, so I feel slightly attenuated in posting it, but I have absolutely no hard feelings, so hopefully the editors won't either, the piece that was sent was an excerpt from a larger thing that probably did not stand alone, and regardless, it doesn't matter, I am just thinking aloud here:
"For instance, when the birds become pillows, what does this really offer the reader? It's a lovely image, but what real-world parallel is there for us to come away with?"
I don't know, what does the birds becoming pillows offer? What else should be said?
Why can't a bird made into a pillow just be a bird pillow?
Why can't a forehead be slathered in bacon grease while the narrator stands in the hotel mirror with the three babies on the bed behind him, without needing to know that the narrator is undergoing chemo and feels an emotional ennui?
It is dangerous and reckless I think to think that all narratives, or even realistic or connective narratives, are ones that have a palpable link to real life, real moments, the real.
I say this completely outside my own writing, my own taste even, I think.
Like, what is really real brah?
Like, what is human n shit?
'Ulysses posted the photos of his mother's liver surgery to his blog and turned around to touch the bright blue sore on the window through which the morning had begun to splatter glue.'
I am excited about the upcoming issue of Unsaid, it seems like an answer to some of this, it has some really recent surrealist stuff from me, and I have noticed several really incredible others that will be in it: Scott Garson, Rachel B. Glaser, Peter Markus, Kristina Born (K. had sent the piece to No Colony also we were about to accept it, it is amazing, fuck). It seems like the issue will be big, like the other issues, that could be laid on an operating bed and young children sent in to see the book.
Here's something real that happened to me on Monday: In the cemetery down the street from my house the other day there was a grave that was swarmed with daisies, I mean the plot was big as a king sized bed and the daisies had grown up waist high on it, covering every inch of the plot, there were hundreds of bees.
I want my headstone to say something like 'He dun fucked up.' or 'This would be a good place to take a piss.'
That is my wish.
Seriously, I know, fuck me.
** On Tuesday I will have a big announcement **