Thursday, December 27, 2012

City on a Hill (Keely and Steven in the park)

      She let her hands drop and as she opens her eyes notices distinctly the light atop Klickat hill flashing on, then off, on and off, on... It seems reassuring to her, its cyclic duty evoking a kind of eternity. The longevity of the thing briefly puts her problems into perspective, renders the search for Jeff less urgent. The red not bloody or passionate or evil but existing without any symbolic connection. A lone object bereft of significance. As Keely turns she sees, for the first time, his face in the light. It is truly sad, with dark halfmoon eyes and delicate lips which appear partially feminine. The coarse hooded pullover and dark courdoroys he wears are, to Keely, exotic and mature. It takes time for his question to sink into her, to weave its way through her and make its mark, but when it does she realizes how natural it is. How many times she has thought this without really thinking it. The exhaustion, the tedium. 'Tired of being human' as if there is anything else to be, as if being human is a temporary state, a minor inconvenience. She could put this off as a joke, a slip of the tongue (tired? glad you mean?) insanity, and yet it fits. It fits well. Maybe she has never put this into the same words but has tiptoed around the edge of it, brief thoughts that skirt the edges yet never dare to dive in. To admit it. Anyways we can be shamed in our own thoughts can't we? Some two voices in opposition, even our own deep desires ridiculed by some jaded cruel part of ourselves. And the thought runs through her now, releasing locks, flipping long staid switches, opening doors with the two of them staring at each other now as the mist blows and swirls between, it's as if she has been ruminating on this thought for years, as if it has been a common thing, a defining stream within her.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

25 Points: Master and Margarita

1. It's Bul-GA-kof, apparently.

2. This isn't magical realism.

3. So Satan's in the book? I wouldn't get too hung up on this fact.

4. It's more like science fiction, in the way that a lot of things happen but nothing really happens.

5. Master and Margarita was a samizdat, which makes it kind of romantic and interesting.

6. You would think the communists would spend their time banning more inflammatory works.

7. Bulgakov isn't a very flowery writer, just the straight facts: "And then Koroviev this and Andreyevich that."

8. Until, near the end of the novel, when he drops this doozy:
"Gods, Gods! How sad the evening earth! How mysterious the mysts over the bogs! Whoever has wandered over these mists, whoever suffered deeply before death, whoever flew over this earth burdened beyond human strength know it. The weary one knows it. And he leaves without regret the mists of the earth, its swamps and rivers, and yields himself with an easy heart to the hands of death, knowing that it alone can bring surcease."
9. The book is certainly religious, or has religious themes, but in a remarkable and unique way. Bulgakov's take on religion is unlike anything you have read before. It manages to be satirical and reverent, authentic and creative.

10. The book is titled after fairly minor characters.

11. People talk about the scene where Satan's party occurs but i don't get what the big deal is.

12. This cat rolls his eyes at a display of human sympathy. This part made me laugh out loud.

13. The magic powers kind of go overboard.

14. Really...the balance is off with the powers, this kind of dented the book for me.

15. The novel has two pretty big things going for it: it's depiction of the 30's Moscow literary scene, and the religion thing.

16. There are a lot of characters for a book this length. It allows a decent range of interaction but Bulgakov spends too little time on too many, so few of the characters ever really flesh out.

17. The novel has a keen eye for the layout of Moscow and Jerusalem. I've been to one city but not the other. The city I haven't been to seemed more real in the novel, frankly.

18. I bought the Mira Ginsburg translation which was taken from an edition censored by the Soviets. Discovering this was unfortunate.

19. Not that I have read that many Russians but this seemed sort of...Unrussian. It was too funny, not enough dwelling on what the characters were thinking. Not a bad thing, but different from Tolstoy and D-sky.

20. There is this writer's association in the book MASSOLIT which I want to know if it was a real thing or not. It seems an unreasonable place, read that maybe it is a satire of Moscow's writing scene...

21. The book really is about the Master's work: a retelling of Jesus' death. The Moscow scenes primarily act as a scaffold to hold the master's work up.

22. The last section may or may not be extremely beautiful, it seemed very beautiful.

23. Unsure whether I will seek out more of Bulgakov's writing before reading the unredacted version of Master and Margarita.

24. Margarita is obsessed with the Master. It's like Bulgakov was trying to portray a perfect love but it came off as creepy to me.

25. She sews him a hat. With a gold M on it...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

And in the wake of the day you will find your world, a slow flowing world

        Ben and Kelly had lived very near each other for about a year. Ben was in is his last year of college but since he had stayed on an extra year the majority of his friends had moved away to the city.  Because of this Kelly-who Ben had been dating for about six months-had become his closest and for the most part only friend. He was okay with this arrangement. They had one of the same classes in common, a chemistry class in the morning, and would sit in the front row. They would hold hands in this class. There were people in the rows behind Ben and Kelly who hated them.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Review of Sky Saw by Blake Butler

   If you read my review of Nothing Blake Butler's memoir detailing his experience with insomnia you might wonder why I even bothered with Sky Saw. I found Nothing to be overwritten, pretentious and without focus. You may think I bought Sky Saw out of masochism or a sort of desire to trash a writer who has become successful.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Literature: a horriffic, pointless, bourgeois and narcisistic waste of time .

              The question of  'why read' has bothered me for some time. In school we were mercilessly encouraged to read, it was sold as a mind building activity, an intellectual act, a necessary skill for a successful person.

Quick note on theNewerYork

       Just gonna throw some quick ups at this newish journal called theNewerYork. Hope to do a proper review of individual pieces in the future but for now let it be known that this is a journal with some mega chops and potential. There is roughly equal weight here given to the words and the image and the general feeling is one of constrained eclecticity. The journal is about half height, well bound and of quality manufacture. There is a sort of disclaimer at the beginning of each issue which I found humanizing, reduces the distance between the reader and these jumbled works. The writing is all over the place. I didn't recognize any names but the quality is up there. It was hard to put my finger on it but the pieces generally flowed together, stitched together, they have this sort of quality that was hard to define but connected most of them. I guess they all have this 'fuck you' bit but that is well thought out. The art is killer, some pretty freaky shit, and there is a series of full color images in the middle of the journal that both separates the journal from the pack and gives a nice break from the monochrome of text. There are also a few 'hand written' pieces included as well. There is a lot here, the thing is $10 but you get something like 80 pages? Anyways they have two issues out now and I'm jumping on this early and seeing where it goes.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Quote from 'Master and Margarita' by Mikhail Bulgakof

             "Gods, gods! How sad the evening earth! How mysterious the mists over the bogs! Whoever has wandered in these mists, whoever suffered deeply before death, whoever flew over this earth burdened beyond human strength knows it. The weary one knows it. And he leaves without regret the mists of the earth, its swamps and rivers, and yields himself with an easy heart to the hands of death, knowing that it alone can bring surcease."

(Mirra Ginsburg translation)