n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


--I just got an email from fnewsmagazine that one of the artists I mentioned (Tomas Ochoa) in the September article I wrote about an Ecuadorian art museum “read my article on the web and liked it.” Not only this, but that he wants “to be in touch.” Holy crappola. I’m a superstar, I know it, I’m a superstar. Now, why would he be in touch?

--A box of books from er. The Pullman Series (The Golden Compass, The Cutting Knife, and The Amber Spyglass). Oh, thankyou thankyou thankyou, dear. I was meaning to call this next weekend anyways, and so you shall hear from me.

--I finally finished Pale Fire and despite the fact that it was a definite toughie, it was Worth It. What an odd, odd book, but it made me laugh and made fun of academia and was too smart for its own good, which makes it a winner in my book.

Basically, the novel is divided into two parts: one, a poem in four cantos, and two, the “comments” made upon the poem. The poem itself is 30 pages long, and the other 260 pages are made up of the comments, written by a man named Kinbote. The thing is that the poem is quite possibly one of the worse poems published on earth, whereas the comments are exceptional, extremely related to the situation of the poem but highly unrelated to the content of the poem, and done by a man who is brilliant and totally insane. And even better yet, both the writer of the bad poem and the writer of the comments are fictional characters of Nabokov’s crazy big brain.

If you want to read a bizarre account of creation, a twisted-into-Perfection rationale for writing fiction, and quite possibly one of the big-wordiest of novels I’ve ever read, go for this book. One of the things that bothered me a little was I couldn’t quite tell if Nabokov was belittling a man’s queer-sexuality or showing how its suppression and denial was partially the reason for his insanity. But other than that, it was complete brilliance and I love this sort of thing. That is, I do appreciate a book that makes me work for things. Griiiiiind.

I also read some of Barth’s short stories (some quoted below), which I also liked, but sometimes I felt like I agreed with his own belittling comments and just wanted him to tell a goddamn story. I liked “Lost In the Funhouse” best for this very reason – there was commentary and story both, and I just believe that narrative is beautiful in a short story. In case you’re wondering, both of these books are in line for the class I’m TA-ing in metafiction (which since many have asked before, and many will ask again: this is artwork that implies the act or process of art-making through its narrative or basic design. Adaptation is also on the syllabus and is perhaps the easiest example).

And finally on this note, I read a bit of Anne Calcagno’s stories to see if I would work okay with her on grad projects (she was my travel-writing teacher, and I’m unclear on what I ended up thinking about all that), and I very much liked her stories too. They are spartan but clear and serious; she hits the important stuff and then moves along, and I felt like she was paying attention to her words carefully. Her dialogues are funny and strange. Not that she isn’t wonderful in person, but I was surprised how a person’s speaking voice can be so different from their writing voice. I guess I should have known. Haha.

--My roomie is coming home from Hong Kong tomorrow. Yay LL. I have to go buy eggs so I can make a cake for her.
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