Escape from Elba
Exiles of the New York Times
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pugetopolis
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« Reply #1425 on: April 04, 2008, 03:20:35 PM »



The Fart and the Fury
—for William Faulkner

"Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow—
I fart in this shitty place from day to day…
Down to the last stinky turd of recorded time,
And all my diarhea has flushed me clean in
This place of shitty death. Out, out, stinky fart!
Life's but an endless toilet, a poor plunger
That struts and frets its hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: a Rotor-Rooter
Child-idiot, full of farts and fury…
Signifying nothing."

http://www.mcsr.olemiss.edu/~egjbp/faulkner/faux.html


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pugetopolis
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« Reply #1426 on: April 04, 2008, 03:21:20 PM »



Sanctuary
—for William Faulkner

I was dead—deader than a doornail. The orchestra was playing Nearer, My God, To Thee. A drunk whore in a red dress came in the door unsteadily, “Whoopee,” she said, “so long, Red. You’ll be in hell before I can even reach Little Rock!!!”

“Shhhhhh!!!” voices said. “Clump clump clump!!!” feet went. They were already surging and clamoring and dancing away. “Gangway!!! Gangway!!!” a couple of soiled young men shouted—hauling in suitcases full of gin. Over it all the rich blare of a cornet—it was thundering and raining outside…

“C’mon folks!!!” Miss Reba cried out—wiping the tears and snot from her face. “R-e-e-e-e-e-d-d-d-d-d!!!” the whore in the red dress cried out weeping—pushing everybody aside to get a look at me. There I was laid out in my coffin—with a bullet hole in my forehead. It was still oozing formaldehyde a little bit—with a little tinge of scarlet.

“He looks so pretty,” Temple Drake said. “Oh baby, we sure enough had some good times in Miss Reba’s joint didn’t we?” That made me feel kinda good—knowing she liked me that much. We sure did have a good time in that old rickety brass-bed—Temple Drake sure had a lot of class. And she fit pretty nice—with all our vile Memphis venality. Both of us nekkid as a couple of snakes—with Popeye holding onto the bedposts and howling at the moon. All I can say is that I may be a stiff now—but oh baby I was really stiff back then!!!!

“Folks!!! Folks!!! the proprietor shouted. “Please calm down!!! There’s a bier in this room!!!”

“Beer!!! Beer???” said Miss Reba loudly. “What are you trying to do—insult me? C’mon folks—we got whiskey and gin!!! Let’s drink up to Red!!! The best Alabama boy—that gawd ever laid!!!”

The orchestra played on & on—the weeping flowed & flowed. The black male quartet were singing Sonny Boy—they were all in vaudeville drag doing burlesque routines just for me. They knew how much Popeye loved to drive around Memphis in his big black Packard—all dressed up like a French Quarter two-bit Mardi Gras whore. It seems like only yesterday—I was Popeye’s handsome chauffeur and right-hand man. Now look at me—a poor son of bitch in a barroom speak-easy coffin…

A fight broke out by the crap table. “Get that damn corpse outta here!!!” Suddenly the bouncer showed up—and there was scuffle. Pandemonium broke out—bursts of filthy language mixed with the sad tunes of tearful old spirituals. Somebody hurled a wreath—and then another. Before long all the floral offerings were getting trampled on the dance floor—and the orchestra stopped playing. It was just awful—right in the middle of I Can’t Give You Anything But Love Baby… The band members were standing on their chairs—holding their instruments above the fray…

The bouncer, one of my best friends, whirled around with the most  unbelievable celerity—sending the troublemakers smashing into my coffin up against the wall. I could feel it teeter on the edge of the table and begin to slide. “Catch it!!!” the proprietor shouted. But it was too late. My coffin did the slow slide bounce routine down the steps of the stage—spilling me out sedately with my face on the dance floor.

“Play something!!!” bawled the proprietor, waving his arms. “Play something—play anything!!!”

There I was—down there with all the feet. Clomping and stomping and kicking around me—I could hear all their footsteps down in my cold heart. The plug of painted embalmer’s wax popped out of my forehead—like a cork in a fizzy champagne bottle.

I could hear the hearse and Packards with their engines warming up in the parking lot—it was time to get the show on the road. A nondescript line of taxis, roadsters, sedans with lowered shades would join us—as we made our way thru downtown Memphis and out to the cemetery. I was ready for a little peace and quiet—Miss Reba, Minnie, Temple, Popeye, Miss Myrtle, Miss Lorraine, Uncle Bud and the rest. They were sad to see me go—but I was glad to get rid them.

http://www.mcsr.olemiss.edu/~egjbp/faulkner/faux.html


« Last Edit: April 04, 2008, 03:32:04 PM by pugetopolis » Logged

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madupont
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« Reply #1427 on: April 16, 2008, 09:12:24 PM »

"The other English masters carried themselves as if they too were intimates of Hemingway, and also of Shakespeare and Hawthorne and Donne. These men seemed to us a kind of chivalric order. Even boys without bookish hopes aped their careless style of dress and the ritual swordplay of their speech. And at the headmaster’s monthly teas I was struck by the way other masters floated at the fringe of their circle, as if warming themselves at a fire.

How did they command such deference—English teachers? Compared to the men who taught physics or biology, what did they really know of the world? It seemed to me, and not only to me, that they knew exactly what was most worth knowing. Unlike our math and science teachers, who modestly stuck to their subjects, they tended to be polymaths. Adept as they were at dissection, they would never leave a poem or a novel strewn about in pieces like some butchered frog reeking of formaldehyde. They’d stitch it back together with history and psychology, philosophy, religion, and even, on occasion, science. Without pandering to your presumed desire to identify with the hero of a story, they made you feel that what mattered to the writer had consequence for you, too.

Say you’ve just read Faulkner’s “Barn Burning.” Like the son in the story, you’ve sensed the faults in your father’s character. Thinking about them makes you uncomfortable; left alone, you’d probably close the book and move on to other thoughts. But instead you are taken in hand by a tall, brooding man with a distinguished limp who involves you and a roomful of other boys in the consideration of what it means to be a son. The loyalty that is your duty and your worth and your problem. The goodness of loyalty and its difficulties and snares, how loyalty might also become betrayal—of the self and the world outside the circle of blood.

You’ve never had this conversation before, not with anyone. And even as it’s happening you understand that just as your father’s troubles with the world—emotional frailty, self-doubt, incomplete honesty—will not lead him to set it on fire, your own loyalty will never be the stuff of tragedy. You will not turn bravely and painfully from your father as the boy in the story does, but forsake him without regret. And as you accept that separation, it seems to happen; your father’s sad, fleshy face grows vague, and you blink it away and look up to where your master leans against his desk, one hand in a coat pocket, the other rubbing his bum knee as he listens desolately to the clever bore behind you saying something about bird imagery.



There was a tradition at my school by which one boy was granted a private audience with each visiting writer. We contended for this honor by submitting a piece of our own work, poetry if the guest was a poet, fiction if a novelist. The writer chose the winner a week or so before arriving. The winner had his poem or story published in the school newspaper, and, later, a photograph of him walking the headmaster’s garden with the visiting writer.

By custom, only sixth formers, boys in their final year, were allowed to compete. That meant I had spent the last three years looking on helplessly as boy after boy was plucked from the crowd of suitors and invited to stroll between the headmaster’s prize roses in the blessed and blessing presence of literature itself, to speak of deep matters and receive counsel, and afterward be able to say, You liked By Love Possessed? You’re kidding. I mean, Jesus, you ought to hear Mary McCarthy on the subject of Cozzens . . .

It was hard to bear, especially when the winning manuscript came from the hand of someone you didn’t like, or, worse, from a boy who wasn’t even known to be a contender—though this had happened just once in my years of waiting in the wings, when an apparent Philistine named Hurst won an audience with Edmund Wilson for a series of satirical odes in Latin. But all the other winners came, predictably enough, from the same stockpond: boys who aced their English classes and submitted work to the school lit mag and hung around with other book-drunk boys.

The writers didn’t know us, so no one could accuse them of playing favorites, but that didn’t stop us from disputing their choices. How could Robert Penn Warren prefer Kit Morton’s plain dying-grandmother story to Lance Leavitt’s stream-of-consciousness monologue from the viewpoint of a condemned man smoking his last cigarette while pouring daringly profane contempt over the judgment of a world that punishes you for one measly murder while ignoring the murder of millions? It didn’t seem right that Lance, who defied the decorums of language and bourgeois morality, should have to look on while Robert Penn Warren walked the garden with a sentimentalist like Kit (whose story, through its vulgar nakedness of feeling, had moved me to secret tears).

I’m not exaggerating the importance to us of these trophy meetings. We cared. And I cared as much as anyone, because I not only read writers, I read about writers. I knew that Maupassant, whose stories I loved, had been taken up when young by Flaubert and Turgenev; Faulkner by Sherwood Anderson; Hemingway by Fitzgerald and Pound and Gertrude Stein. All these writers were welcomed by other writers. It seemed to follow that you needed such a welcome, yet before this could happen you somehow, anyhow, had to meet the writer who was to welcome you. My idea of how this worked wasn’t low or even practical. I never thought about making connections. My aspirations were mystical. I wanted to receive the laying on of hands that had written living stories and poems, hands that had touched the hands of other writers. I wanted to be anointed."

This is one of the candidates in my ongoing search for the Wolfe,or Wolff, some other variation of the name, who wrote the unremembered title of a book that I was reading in the same period that I read,Crosby's,The Black Sun; as well as a book about #9 rue Git-Le-Coeur , which is where William Burroughs, Gregory Corso, and Allen Ginsberg lived from 1958 - 1963, which was known as The Beat Hotel,writen by Barry Miles; and some Balzac or was it Flaubert?

All of these had to do with Paris, except for the that other Woolf who went to school at Princeton and described it to recognition!

The above sounds a bit like it but I'm still not sure.

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madupont
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« Reply #1428 on: April 16, 2008, 09:52:14 PM »

It's Geoffrey Wolff. And guess what he did write:
Geoffrey Wolff's "Black Sun: The Brief Transit and Violent Eclipse of Harry Crosby," as well as:

The Last Club, which is what the schoolboys in the English class are going for.
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« Reply #1429 on: April 20, 2008, 11:22:44 AM »

Anyone here read anything by Michael Dibdin?  I am reading Dead Lagoon, one of his Aurelio Zen mysteries.  Even if like me you are not a real fan of this genre, Dibdin writes extremely well.
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qpowellx
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« Reply #1430 on: April 26, 2008, 10:45:20 AM »

Fellows, take a look at  WhatIsStephenHarperReading.ca

Q
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madupont
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« Reply #1431 on: April 30, 2008, 01:43:45 AM »

That was quite a trip, Q
After perusing the entire scroll and considering the reader's selections, I wondered which of them moved you?

I tell you, Bonjour Tristesse immediately took me back to reading it when it came out and how appropo it was to that period of time in my own life, as I'd been staying with my friend Lucienne from Algiers then.
She had lived in Nice for a short period before leaving for North Africa and the way she described things, that followed immediately after the war as the allied forces occupied Algiers, had pretty much that flavor of Sagan's heroine( not that there was anything heroic about her) dealing with growing up in an entirely different world than it had been before the war.

The other piece that made me feel sorry for our reader presenting his/her reviews was Strindberg's, Miss Julie. I'm actually kind of convinced this is a he sending off these books with his review-reports; so, when "he" said that he felt deprived of the privilege of what it must be like to see this play enacted, I most definitely felt sorry for him because it is unimaginable to not perceive the nuances in human responses and reactions to a passion of this kind.   It is too variable, off the page, with the variety of people who interpret what they are reading; we see it everyday in a place like this with forums covering many areas.

When he gets around to and finally has the opportunity to see this play performed, it will literally stun him.

Do you recall a poster named hegemony who used to read with us, at nytimes.com., when we were still reading Toni Morrison?  It's been preying on my mind because she has the answer to something that has come up in another forum area entirely.
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« Reply #1432 on: April 30, 2008, 02:15:02 AM »

Sort of reminded me of Bennett's "The Uncommon Reader,"  although the resemblance is purely coincidental.  Martel began his campaign in April 2007 and Bennett's book was published in the UK in September 2007.

Interesting coincidence, though.

How goes the writing of your own book?
« Last Edit: April 30, 2008, 02:16:44 AM by Lhoffman » Logged
qpowellx
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« Reply #1433 on: April 30, 2008, 10:20:50 AM »

Dupont and Hoffman.  Thanks for looking.  I was moved by the motivation for the reading list.  The prime minister's cold response to the arts and arts funding while he goes about the mechanics of governing is a frightening thing and a writer's attempt to run interference and effect a change of attitude, knowing full well how ineffective he may be.  Each book though sends a different message. I thought the list is a fine one.  I felt in tune in that there are only one or two that I have not read.  I was particularly moved for some reason by Marcus Aurelius.  What of that, I wonder.
Hoffman;  My book, this rewrite is  done. Now if I can get my characters to shut up and let me just end it, I would be happier!   I am now combing through the 366  pages before getting it off for editing.I use a lot of semi colons, I discovered. what of that, I wonder.

I'd love to hear from Hegemony again.
 
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madupont
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« Reply #1434 on: April 30, 2008, 11:32:12 AM »

A friend of mine, from the old Western Europe forum at nytimes, went up to live with her for awhile, to get a foothold in Nova Scotia for various reasons, after living on the reservation on both the New York and Canadian sides of the St. Lawrence, which is historically some of her home territory as she refers to herself as metis, Iroquois on her father's side, French on her mother's. 

Hegemony, who was quite brilliant in her analytic skills re: Constitutional Law,etc. also would be absent from the American History forum for lengths of time because she was involved in medical work in Africa among HIV and AIDS sufferers. One day we had a three way conversation in an out of the way corner like non-fiction with Red (whom I don't know if you remember?); he lives further south of you down in Florida, an expert in African-American literature and music (on a par with any musician that I've known),fond of quoting Stanley Crouch, and who later because of some registration mix up at the nytimes changed from  Red, a fairly common nickname within the community, to the cybernym Blue.

What we were discussing was an accident during French medical research in Africa that jumped the level between species when the epizootic viral count broke through, similar to what we understand now about the risks of Asian (or, Avian) bird flu.

It was of course what led to the widespread rumor that supposedly spread out of California and for which Rev.Jeremiah Wright is now taking
the heat, rather than the congresswomen who first spoke up. (The federal gov't.,however, was not remiss to start its own rumor that Haitians in particular were people whose immigrant status had to be limited by all means. This is particularly critical at present with Food riots occurring there.

I did have an opportunity to see a film, and cannot recall at this late date whether it was documentary from Sundance channel, or some other like PBS or even HBO, which bore out and covered the incident of which hegemony had first informed us of the lab accident in which animal test subjects had broken out  in critically primitive conditions for keeping them under observation. Sometimes I can research these documentaries but they more usually slip through the cracks; at other times, I just get lucky. But it is a long shot.

Marcus Aurelius comes in handy at a time like that.
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thebizneverloses
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« Reply #1435 on: May 03, 2008, 06:24:03 PM »

Fellows, take a look at  WhatIsStephenHarperReading.ca

Q

I actually just logged on to post this. It's quite amusing. Harper may not quite be Bush, but I still doubt that he finds, say, "Waiting for Godot" interesting. (I should add I'm Canadian and I have never voted for Harper)
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Lhoffman
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« Reply #1436 on: May 03, 2008, 06:54:22 PM »

It is an entertaining site.  I also bought the Bush book the day it came out.  And I like it.  Over the years I've known many Tyrone Browns.  Usually it is forgotton how much more effective humour and patience can be than chemical therapy.
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qpowellx
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« Reply #1437 on: May 04, 2008, 10:27:15 AM »

The Bush book is probably the only one the prime minister may read.  I'd love to be a fly on the wall.  Quill
 
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qpowellx
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« Reply #1438 on: May 04, 2008, 10:28:23 AM »

I'm going to run out and buy it. I have a gift card from Christmas that I forgot. Q
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Lhoffman
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« Reply #1439 on: May 04, 2008, 11:29:35 AM »

The Bush book is probably the only one the prime minister may read.  I'd love to be a fly on the wall.  Quill
 

 Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

The criticism I have seen of this book is related to stereotyping regarding boys and reading.  But the truth is, many boys (even quite smart ones) are reluctant readers.  And so often they are kinetic learners who see themselves as conquerers with endless new worlds to explore.  Maurice Sendak explored this years ago in "Where the Wild Things Are."

(I also quite liked the illustrations....quite joyful and robust.)
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