Wednesday, December 31, 2008


[add EVER on Goodreads :)]

We watched 'The Wrestler' last night. Don't look at the trailer that is going around online. It is nothing like the actual film. I never thought Aronofsky would be able to out-fuckify 'Requiem for a Dream' in pure sad, but this one probably does it, if not for the more human feeling circumstances of the story, but just for Mickey Rourke's brutally 'on' performance, and the gritty, no-shtick feel of the shots. The texture of the film reminded me a lot of Gummo for some reason, in that just looking at certain shots and the simple movements of people on screen, or not even moving, was where the power was. One of the more worth-watching films I've seen in a long while probably, not that there's been much competition.

Also last night finished reading Vanessa Place's LA MEDUSA. I could not stop with this book, I read all 500 pages in pretty much 3 days. I'm not sure how to describe the experience of the book except that it is truly an experience. Vanessa Place has really created a text object here, one so dense and prismatic in its making that it might be impossible for anyone to ever take it all in: there's just that much. I love the encyclopedic quality of it, and the way she managed to stretch the time of the book, which as I understand it executes in a very short period, though scenes go on as if inside that time, and yet skewing it out in each section, the way books like INFINITE JEST can do, and other.

Here is part of what Silverblatt said about it:

La Medusa returns to James Joyce's Ulysees to find the inspiration for an investigation into the nature of experience. Los Angeles takes the role of Dublin. The brain and its double cortex generate the stylistic intricacies that the organs and senses do in Joyce.

It's hard book to contain in explication, but that gives an idea of its mass.

One section, where one of the main character is eating at a Mexican restaurant by himself, is one of the best executions of a scene over sections I can remember. It also really made me want to eat Mexican food, like bad. Usually I don't like when authors write about food in a way as if trying to make you taste the texture of the food, but the way she does it really works. I think this is a book of appetites, and cataloguing. There is something post-Beat in it in that way: lists (a list of strange barbies, a list of synonyms for vagina, though worked into the narrative thread somehow, a kind of shapeshifting that continually occurs in midst of the reading without managing to interrupt), and hyper consciousnesses, and combining the high with the low in these really rhythmic and syllabic and smart sentences. LA MEDUSA reminds me a lot of Lynne Tillman's AMERICAN GENIUS, which is another of my all time recent favorites.

There is also a voodoo-ish ritual scene among a family in the book that is amazing, and gets that mesh of violence and incantation and animal language that I so love.

Quite a few sections are written as in rap, which is so hard to pull off, and I'm still impressed with how well she nailed them: while I was in the bathtub with the book I actually started rapping it out loud and then couldn't stop for several pages.

Overall, a killer of a book, and one I will remember, and probably often open up to look at the pages.

Anyway, a good end to a year of reading, a close out.

I'm not big on new year consecrating, but I feel like things now are moving in a new direction for real for once. That is good to think about even if really it's just the next day.

Thanks to Gert Jonke for inspiring me 24k words into another new novel already so I have something to think about besides peas and tinkle. GEOMETRIC REGIONAL NOVEL seriously changed my writing mind.

Oh, the new issue of Tarpaulin Sky is out now, and having read about half of it now I can honestly say I haven't read one piece that I haven't been really impressed by: including Joanna Ruocco and Peter Davis. Peter Davis has more of those 'extreme honesty' poems like the ones on Lamination Colony, which makes me want a whole book of them. It has a much different version of a section of EVER in it also.

Had a small snag with the files for EVER due to Derek's cruddy Nairboi net connection working like mud, but it is clean now and on its way. Book should be here by my bday Jan 14th, which is still around for preorder.



Ken Baumann said...

'09 is going to be the most for real.

christopher higgs said...

I like how you right-adjusted your text. That's a good idea. Looks cool.

Oh, and happy new year!

Matt DeBenedictis said...

This year will be like watching enemies fall down the stairs. Like the new look and feel.


:() sirs

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that "The Wrestler" wasn't another overrated pile of shit. I was ready to cry when I saw that trailer, thinking, What the hell happened to Aronofsky that he's doing this kind of Rocky Balboa bullshit? I should have had more faith.


yeah, whoever edited that trailer is a real dick. though it may be funny when people who go thinking they are going to see rocky 6 get a hunk of existential terror in they gutz.

Maurice Burford said...

i pre-ordered your novella. your blog looks really cool lately. i am avoiding mini comas.


thank you alex you are kind

Anonymous said...

Thank Buddha for the clean connection in Krabi. Although ETA to ship is now the day after your B-day, fuck. Shiny, shiny.