Sunday, February 17, 2013

Serving the residents of Sedona since 2013

I'm in Sedona driving John's truck around because he had shoulder surgery and vicoden and needed a laxative and parquet courts just came on satellite radio in the parking lot of walgreens.

John had too many death-defying ultimate frisbee altercations. He lives in a trailer park. His landlord is Orson Welles's daughter. 

Got home and fought my cold by ordering Jim Harrison's Letters to Yesenin, a poetry collection, which he describes as a triumphant suicide note. At first, I thought this meant that he achieved death by hand, but I suppose that would be a successful suicide note – triumph is beating death.

Been playing those ass-kicking synthesiser albums Stevie wonder cut in the 70s. Amazing!

Hadn't mentioned this to anyone, including myself, in other words I had forgotten, but now I remember that on the shuttle back from Sedona, I saw what at first glance was a wolf, tramping through the deep snow, but more slender, yet larger than a coyote with a long tail and can only reach the conclusion that what I saw was a mountain lion.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Year in reading (2012)

Jeff in Venice by Geoff Dyer (25)
His essays are better. Mentions James Turrell. Sent to Annabel with the caveat there are descriptive scenes in India of having diarrhea.

The Loser by Thomas Bernhard (23)
Pale remake of Correction — suicidal postmortem focus is music instead of architecture. Still worthy. 

Out of Sheer Rage by Geoff Dyer (18)
Dyer finding his cantankerous voice brilliantly. Contrary, self-deprecating, good thinking on the page. 

The Bushwhacked Piano by Thomas McGuane (3)
Reread every year in an attempt to write better. I quote myself: “My inability to emulate his style is hardly testament to its genius. I suppose the thing that I take away from it more than any other is Mcguane's steadfast refusal to communicate anything in a conventional fashion. It reads fresh, alien even, every time.”

Yoga for people who can't be bothered to do it by Geoff Dyer (7)
Dyer's masterpiece. 

Lady Chatterley's Lover by DH Lawrence (17)
Unnervingly erotic. Took one of my NAU's professor's breath away back in her prime.

Gringos by Charles Portis (12)
His diction is sui generis. Prose almost haunting in its comedic tone and execution. 

The Last Gentleman by Walker Percy (28)
The first 50 pages I howled, the rest of it should be literally flushed. Shocking piece of excrement.

Preparations for the Ascent by Gilbert Rogin (8)
Gem of rarefied high comedy. Does not suffer from gag fatigue.

Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West (9)
Can hardly remember reading this as I was learning a hotel job at the time, as a night custodian — what West was doing when he wrote it. Did Nathanael West preheat waffle makers for strangers? Seems unlikely.

Things I Didn't Know by Robert Hughes (27)
Ambivalent about this one. Hughes did way better things. Fatal Shore is awesome and I love what he says about art.

The Emigrants by WG Sebald (19)
A very strange, haunting treatise on what we remember.

Killing Time by Thomas Berger (13)
Phenomenal treatment of the psychopath in this fiction desecrates Capote's big effort. A depth of understanding perhaps only rivaled by Dosteoyefski.

Let me Count the Ways by Peter DeVries (22)
High comedy. Succeeds where Last Gentleman fails.

On the Road by Jack Kerouauc (15)
Moriarity's self-absorbed hipster stinks up the page and Sal is covered in the residual stench of it all, but it's a great american novel even without the brotherhood (which is ultimately moving, despite a lot of the doucheyness).

Thanatos syndrome by Walker Percy (11)
Sequel to one of the great novels of the 20th century: Love in the Ruins. Brilliant, mate.

Correction by Thomas Bernhard (1)
Punk rocker Richard Katz in Freedom exclusively reads Bernard. Doris, my old housemate, grew up in his neighborhood. Her Dad tells me that the notoriously reclusive Bernhard used to get lunch at the cafeteria of the factory that he worked.

The Collected Stories of Leonard Michaels (2)
This man has strange powers. Find him, use those powers for your idle literary intercourse.

63: Dream Palace by James Purdy (4)
Darker than Nathanael West, less comic, but overall, just as gigantic.

Julip by Jim Harrison (5)
Three novellas, three of his best.

Sylvia by Leonard Michaels (14)
A loan from H with the caveat: proceed with caution, this reminds me of one of your old relationships.

Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway (24)
Indispensable source on craft.

Masters of Atlantis by Charles Portis (6)
I turned to this first, post-breakup. Emotionally, the tone was spot-on. Dad loved it: “What a bunch of derelicts.” Funny.

Panama by Thomas McGuane (10)
A text, I realize, I borrow heavily from in my novella. So good. Rather weird.

The Houseguest by Thomas Berger (29)
Avoid this ugly novel. So misanthropic.

Memoirs by Tennessee Williams (20)
Full of gems like these: “The kitchen door banged open and past me sailed a meatloaf, missing my head by inches. Then came a bowl of succotash, once again missing its target, then the salad, even a silex of coffee. I was so drunk that these missiles did not alarm me. And when the kitchen door banged shut and Frankie charged off in the car, I picked the meat loaf up off the tiles and ate it with as much gusto as if it had been served me on a golden platter.”

Rediscovery of North America by Barry Lopez (16)
What Columbus did in the Americas is too incomprehensible even for terrible fictions.

The Great Leader by Jim Harrison (21)
Hell, it's Jim, read it.

Turn of the Screw by Henry James (26)

Mile Marker Zero by Jim Harrison (30)
An interesting history clouded by the author's titillations of sleaze and frankly sucky voice.

Furiously bedridden from too much whisky and dancing!

Fran Gibson was right! Johnny Franzen's Freedom is a masterful achievement, page after page I read it for the sheer pleasure of sumptuous storytelling. Not only did I not make the bed, I currently don't lie in it. Ate a party pizza, which I haven't bought since college. Had a craving to enjoy a ridiculously overmatched red wine with it, but alas, this never came to fruition. We're in the middle of a big snow.  Was partying rather aggressively the morning of my sister's 50th birthday. I'm still unemployed, for the most part, but I'm finishing my novella and my life is undergoing a reversal of magnificent personal splendor unheard of in this modern age.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Museum Club

Timtam was a bit irked that I didn't word her up on a recent potentially frightening excursion to see a guy whose big hit was 'Up against the wall, redneck mother' at Flagstaff's legendary Museum Club. She thought it would be fairly amusing to see me in this heavy dude culture environment. Kitchens promised to pay for half my ticket because I was letting him park his motorcycle in my driveway overnight. He made me wear my trucker cap, as he was generally concerned for my welfare amongst a bar full of badasses and thought the cap would conceal my wussiness. Well everything was fine and a fear of being mistaken for Ned Beatty in Deliverance only came over me once and that is when Kitchens suggested the possibility.

I flashed my horseshoe leather cuff at Timtam subsequently and said of course I looked tremendously gay, but I assimilated myself well amongst the high desert cowboy angel riffraff. She nodded campily. Below is a not-staged assemblage of Kitchens' trinkets in his office where we were before the show that i thought might be worthwhile from a genealogical perspective (note the gopher paw reaching for the toothbrush).

Meanwhile at the show (which was fairly average, great venue though and we had fun) Kitchens and I argue over the significance of Frank Zappa, for whatever reason. Argument ends as the lyrics he quotes from Zappa are pure juvenilia, but I resign myself to the fact that in the context of a good art rock band, provided the Mothers are good (I am guessing they sort of are), silly lyrics are fine. I don't love all of Beefheart's arrangements, but the goofy lyrics are mostly brilliant. After that, we argued over what is a jamband. I was being a little shirty and I threw out the Talking Heads (we were pretty trashed). Kitchens said no way. But then I said James Brown and he still argued. I have yet to look for any Talking Heads jams, but they went Afrikkan at one point.

Girl that was out with Kitchens and I turned to me at one point and said, "you look like a NASCAR driver!" I was like huh? And she said okay, how about a will ferrell movie about NASCAR.

Sparks Fan Club: Flagstaff Chapter

I sent Stewart a text at 8.29pm because I am always listening to Sparks on Saturday nights. I wrote, "I like listening to Sparks" with a smiley face emoticon. He replies, "Weird coincidence. I'm just looking at Sparks website!"

Didn't tell Stewart this, but this is what I was thinking: word up my brother!