(read part 4, guested on Corduroy Books blog, here)
Fifth in the order of stories in Evenson’s Fugue State is ‘Desire with Digressions,’ which originally appeared in Conjunctions.
What is odd about this story, even in the rungs of odd that come before it, and surely after, is how the language herein hangs uncentered around a center.
Though in a way, on its face, this story seems to have less palpably happen than any other Evenson story in any of his books that I can recall⎯I could not help but feel even in the midst of its seven pages, a central door, a hole, a black square. Through what is essentially the narration of a man moving in orbit from his home, for a very vaguely rendered reason dealing with the blanked face of a loved one, Evenson seems to have centered, in his uncentering, the unnamable space that delineates not only his work, but the work of the truly human macabre of everyday, its inexplicable lining.
“There is,” our narrator digresses, “in every event, whether lived or told, always a hold or a gap, often more than one. If we allow ourselves to get caught in it, we find it opening onto a void that, once we have slipped into it, we can never escape” (p. 50).
This is the terror space of the dream of Winky’s found in Mulholland Drive; the Shining’s elevator bursting with blood. It is the enormous fields of red or gray color in Mark Rothko’s painting. It is the silence millisecond blips in between certain chords or percussion of true black metal. The rooms where certain kinds of men have lived with their minds before performing certain acts on other bodies. Etc.
Or it is a just a room.
Here the narrator finds himself moving in “orbit” from the story’s center, his loved, moving in a series of locked spirals that he can not bring himself to exit, and that, eventually, in the reckoning of the concept of an actual hole he must find in his terrain, his mind simply drops out of its own awareness⎯a raw spot in the narration where we can not even be sure what happened there between.
The text embodies its hole; carries its hole; is its hole.
Around the hole its strange meat: what we read around that weird terror void, the flirtation of which is what truly burns the blood⎯as it is in texts of films or other that would try to name or have that whole contained within them held that ultimately, psychically and sublimely, fail.
Like the path leading to and from the house where ‘Desire with Digressions’ begins and ends, itself a mirror both looping the narration and reflecting the innards of the story, and the hole, back into itself⎯“…I walked up the dirt road and then up the gravel road and then down the paved road until…” (46) coupled against “…walked the rest of the way up the paved road, down the gravel road, down the road. The house looked just as I had left it…” (52).
Though there may be in Fugue State more distinctive rooms, more divisive in their aiming, I can not imagine that the direct spiritual reckoning of the body and unnamed face of terror here contained could be more fully wielded⎯but with Brian Evenson, I wouldn’t put it past him.
Preorder ‘Fugue State’ here.
Next up, the 6th story, 'Dread,' which I believe will be guest posted elsewhere, and then the 7th, which is already online, if you feel like skipping ahead, at Robot Melon.