“The true life is not reducible to words spoken or written, not by anyone, ever.” This appears to be a left-handed way of saying, “It’s all fiction.”
Don DeLillo continues with a more specific and even more demanding observation: “An eight-hundred-page biography is nothing more than dead conjecture…”
When I studied rhetoric at the university we had several exercises designed to develop various skills in writing. One I remember well was to write detailed instructions so that anyone could read them and flawlessly perform the task described. My essay was called “Scratching the Grasshopper” and it dealt with the very Southern California effort of paddling a surfboard out beyond the shore break.
Continue reading “It’s All Fiction” →
Reading James Joyce is difficult and often injurious to your mental health and the same thing can be said for reading Joyce’s friend and one-time secretary, Samuel Beckett. In fact, sometimes Beckett is almost too obscure. The way I see it, Joyce gives us way, way too much to absorb and understand, whereas Beckett often gives us so little that we’re lost in the void. Or to put it another way, with Beckett there is often no there there (but the lack of there is so profound).
How many times have you read Waiting For Godot? How many times have you seen it performed (at college, on Broadway, in your wind-blasted backyard)? It’s a powerful experience and sometimes it’s hard to explain why. My favorite part is where Estragon snarls: Are you feeling Lucky … punk!
Continue reading “Samuel Beckett and Friends” →
Do you like to read in a dark room with a pleasant fire in the fireplace and a favorite reading lamp while scrunching into the deep cushions of an oversized chair you bought at an estate auction that came with a lifetime supply of antimacassars? Or do you like to take a sling chair down to the beach and soak in the salt and sun while reading a great book and trying at the same time not to get oily fingerprints on each page as it is turned?
Continue reading “Winter Reading” →