DC's

The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Spotlight on … Ann Quin Tripticks (1972) *

* (restored)

 

‘For a time I was a regular presence in the slender Q-sections of my local bookstores. It was the first sentence of Ann Quin’s novel Berg that brought me there: “A man called Berg, who changed his name to Greb, came to a seaside town intending to kill his father . . .” I don’t remember where or why I read it, but I remember the ensuing search well. It lasted months. The bindings of those few Qs privileged enough to recur with any regularity—de Quincy, Queneau, Quindlen, Quinn—became familiar figures, an alliterative clique of book-backs attending to the baffling absence of any Ann Quin. I was patient, that alluring first sentence circling in my head till I knew every word, while I struggled to comprehend how a book with such a first sentence, such a seemingly iconic opening, could be so hard to find in New York City.

‘When I finally got my hands on a copy of Berg, Quin’s absence became a little more comprehensible—albeit much more unjustifiable—as I read the next two sentences: “Window blurred by out of season spray. Above the sea, overlooking the town, a body rolls upon a creaking bed: fish without fins, flat-headed, white-scaled, bound by a corridor room—dimensions rarely touched by the sun—Alistair Berg, hair-restorer, curled webbed toes, strung between heart and clock, nibbles in the half light, and laughter from the dancehall opposite.”

‘For this clearly went beyond the iconographic. This was the unpredictable churning of water, sentences uncurling their words like the jagged and fragmenting blocks of a misaligned Jacob’s ladder. I suppose I had assumed the first sentence of Berg was so strong that it needed to linger in the rest of the work, overtly implying not only the plot—which, to be fair, it does—but the tone, the rhythm, the type of sentence that could follow, like the “Once upon a time” of a fairytale. Instead, Quin’s first sentence arises only to be swallowed up in the brevity of a sharp fragment, a blip of an image that is nevertheless stylistically weighty enough to govern anything that could follow—one might expect a montage of shards. But the third sentence doesn’t follow the second. Instead it rakes this living, graceless prose over the thorny sprockets of a human presence. To read Quin, I soon learned, is to be perpetually engaged, or to be lost, a little like reading philosophy but demanding an almost opposite faculty of intelligence—to continually let go of what has been read, to let conflicting tenses and perspectives, styles and rhythms meld into the pothole texture of a raw experience, to become one with the paper-thin partition that divides Alistair’s boarding room from the room where his father sleeps: “a boat without sails, anchored to a rock, yet revolving outside its own circumference.” It’s a bumpy ride. And it doesn’t get any smoother in the novels that follow.

‘In Three, Ruth and Leon, middle-aged wife and husband, reckon with the aftermath of the recent suicide of their temporary boarder, a younger woman denoted only by the letter S. In the dialog-dense passages with which the novel opens, Quin has stripped the prose—not just of quotation marks and conventional paragraph breaks to differentiate speakers but, most unnervingly, all punctuation within each monad of speech.

‘Three, like all of Quin’s works, is an insoluble situation. It doesn’t lend itself well to processes of easy digestion. Even this recurring preoccupation with the number three, interwoven into the narrative and textual construction of all four books, only superficially unites them. It is a structural model around which the author, like S, imagines and unfolds endless variations.

‘Another variation, maybe the most indigestible: Passages alternates between the perspectives of two unnamed passengers, lovers as incompatible as a pair of dreams, as they sweep through desolate Mediterranean towns and arid countryside. A woman in search of her brother records her experience in a fractured diary, shifting from first- to third-person, only to disappear entirely into splintered glimpses through her senses.

‘Though Passages is possessed by an impossible cohabitation, Quin’s delicate architecture does not collapse. But neither can it withstand reduction nor abbreviation. Like a house of cards, nothing can be removed, nothing excerpted. It’s not the passages that matter but the passages between them.

‘An almost as inscrutable passage divides Quin’s third from her fourth book. Tripticks, published between treatments of electroshock therapy and Quin’s suicide in 1973, could hardly differ more from the spacious sparseness of Passages. A darkly comic novel with a relatively direct satirical slant, Tripticks brims with orgiastic excess.

‘Our narrator is a weak-kneed sort of antichrist, a rapist and murderer if he only had the guts. Hunted by his “No. 1 X-wife” and her “schoolboy gigolo,” he pursues a reckless, seemingly drug-affected, or at least severely psychotic path across an American landscape distorted to schizophrenic proportions. In between paranoiac fantasies and freak-outs, the narrator recalls incidents from his various lives with his three successive X-wives. Eventually, the narrator’s manic ramblings are sliced through the center by a long series of hysterical and brutally castigating letters from a long cast of past phantoms.

‘Amid these cavernous admonitions, one senses the author’s own exasperation, a lethal frustration with a skewed sense of authorial self. As a writer with three books behind her, Quin seems as eager as the No 1. X-wife to blot out the memory of her previous cohort. As much as literary tradition implements artistic confines, it’s Quin herself—the Quin responsible for Berg, Three, and Passages—against whom the author of Tripticks must escape in order to write freely. In order to evade imprisonment of artistic consistency, Quin not only flees stylistically, but turns to confront her first three novels with a mocking smile and menacing snarl, acknowledging, along with her narrator as he performs an abrupt U-turn to steer his car towards the incensed trio of castrating X-wives.

‘And this perhaps, as frayed as it is, is the common thread that most interlaces Quin’s wandering works and embraces her erratic patterns. As serious as so many of her passages are, every book escapes, one way or another, from the existential weightiness toward which it tends. Quin seems perfectly capable of delivering the literary achievement of the century. Like Alistair Berg, she is near enough to kill the symbolic father, to assume his lofted position in literary tradition. And yet, at the precipice of implementing her authorial omnipotence, of reducing her works to a recognizable achievement, a radically experimental opus that could be then by subsumed under a larger literary history, Quin, like Alistair, falters.

‘Quin isn’t after the kind of power that can be touched. She seeks something subtler, a power that can be approached but never possessed, one ultimately destined to one of two failures: either Alistair is discovered before killing his father or he succeeds. In either case he loses everything he has gained. Success and failure are irrelevant to Quin. Her power, like Alistair’s, stems not from some Oedipal act, but from the deadly serious practice of child-like play.

‘Perhaps Ann Quin will never claim the presence she deserves in the Q-sections of our bookstores. Maybe she doesn’t need to. The subversive joy is there regardless, intermixed but never diluted in the monolithic violence that cannot overtake it.’ — Jesse Kohn, The Quarterly Conversation

 

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Further

Ann Quin @ Wikipedia
‘Who cares about Ann Quin?’
‘Re: Quin: An overdue study of the “experimental” novelist Ann Quin’
‘Book Of A Lifetime: Berg, By Ann Quin’
Ann Quin @ Dalkey Archive
Ann Quin @ goodreads
‘Dried stains on sheets.’
‘THE LOVE AFFAIR(S) OF ANN QUIN’
‘Dead Animals: Uncanny and Abject Imagery in Ann Quin’s Berg’
‘Ann Quin staff record’
‘Passages by Ann Quin’
‘Ann Quin – A member of a group of British avant-garde writers, …’
‘Researching Ann Quin at the Lilly Library’
‘Nonnie Williams Korteling on Ann Quin and ‘Three’’
‘Ann Quin’s Night-time Ink, A Postscript’
”Designing its own shadow’ : reading Ann Quin’

 

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Extras


The Speaking Machine


Joseph Darlington: The British Experimental Novelists of the 1960s

 

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Berg, the installation

‘To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of Ann Quin’s brilliant debut novel, CINECITY and artist/production designer Anna Deamer present a film set installation for an imaginary screen version of Berg. A boarding house in out of season Brighton is the background for this strange, disturbing and darkly comic drama. Published in 1964, Berg – described by writer Lee Rourke as ‘the best novel ever set in Brighton’ – established Ann Quin’s reputation as one of the most original, contemporary British writers. She wrote three further novels but remains one of the best-kept secrets of British literature. She died in 1973, drowned in the sea off Brighton, aged 37.

‘The immersive environment is complemented by music and sound design from Barry Adamson who has created soundtracks for David Lynch’s Lost Highway, Carol Morley’s Dreams of a Life and many others. He is a current member of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds having re-joined the band in 2013. The ‘Berg suite’ has been produced in collaboration with Paul Kendall who engineered Barry Adamson’s first solo album, Moss Side Story, the soundtrack to a non-existent film noir.’ — Cinecity

 










 

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Correspondence

 

___________________
Every Cripple Has His Own Way of Walking
by Ann Quin

 

The house was old. They were older. The sisters. They celebrated Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. Cried at her funeral. At least if they hadn’t actually seen these events they witnessed it all in the newspapers. The house full of newspapers. Paper bags within paper bags. Letters. Photographs. Pieces of brocade. Satin. Ribbons. Lockets. Hair. Broken spectacles. Medicine bottles. Empty. Foreign coins. Trunks. Cases. Cake. Biscuit tins. And mice. The child never knew whether it was the mice or one of her aunts wheezing in the long nights. Or maybe just the wind from the sea. The downs. Whistling in the chimney. Other nights she knew it was Aunt Molly battling with her asthma. Or Aunt Sally sucking tea from a saucer. And the bed creaked in the room below. As grandma turned over. Back again. From the waist up. Did she have legs? The child thought of them. Thought she saw them like sticks under the sheet. About to thrust up. With barnacles and millions of half-dead fish clinging. The old woman’s flesh. Scaly. Her eyes like someone just risen from the ocean bed. But then she was grandma. And all grandmothers must look like that. Confined to an enormous bed. Yet not so enormous. For she filled all parts. At all times. As she filled the house with her demands. Commands. In her little girl’s voice. When not eating. Not sleeping. Whined for the bedpan. Another cup of tea. And if Aunt Sally stopped making kitchen noises then she whined for the bedpan again and accused her younger sister of indulging in forty winks. For the house belonged to grandma. Every item down to the shrimp pink corset and purple dress Aunt Sally wore had been billed to grandma. She after all had been married. And no one now would point out she had stolen Aunt Molly’s intended. That a long time ago. And he who had made the mistake by proposing in a letter from India to the wrong sister had long since departed. They lived as best. The three. In the worst. Through thick and thin. They lived their roles. Respected. Detested. Each other’s virtues. Little vices. Whims. And waited for the day the child’s father would pay a visit. That day would surely be tomorrow. If not tomorrow then the next day. When Nicholas Montague. Monty to them all. Would tread the path. Into the house. Receive their love. And tell them of his travels. Successes. Though Aunt Molly would look past him. As if she recognised in his shadow some remembered dream. Go on sorting out little bundles of letters. Comb her long white hair. Thin. So thin it was more of a veil covering her head. Face of crushed carnation that sprouted from the black bent root of velvet. The child would look past him too. Perhaps. At the portrait. For comparison. While Aunt Sally clucked around him. Teeth clicking. Little bird eyes upon the nephew who could do no wrong. If he did a wrong in others’ eyes then he did it because there was no alternative.

The days grew into each and out of each night. With the habits. Dreams. Tales of days gone by. The horse-drawn buses. Dinner. Tennis parties. Musical evenings. Picnic outings with cousins by the Thames. Sunday strolls in Kew Gardens. And the Crystal Palace. For the child these stories merged with those of The Goose Girl. The Snow Queen. And Cinderella. Each of these she was. Saw her aunts as grown ancient but with a wave of the magic wand they would change into beautiful queens with quick queenly steps. She felt sure her father would have this wand. Transform the old castle on the hill. The old ladies. Herself. Into a magical world where they would all live together happily ever after.

Weeks. Months. Years. Came. Went. After hours of anticipation. The child saw the calendar only in the mirror. She was still not taller than Aunt Sally. She thought the day would never come when she would be. Though she forgot this problem when she didn’t have to bend to peer through the keyhole at Aunt Molly. Whole morning spent on the landing. Watching her aunt go through the never-changing rituals. Always the child hoped that some morning. Some time the white-hair apparition would do something different. Or maybe not do anything at all. Lie motionless in her black velvet. This the child hoped for more than anything. The door then would surely magically open. The room at last hers to explore. There were the corners. Dimensions. She never saw from her one-eyed viewing. Then there were the cupboards. Drawers. These must be filled with all kinds of mysterious things. Boxes her aunt bent over. But never brought out whatever lay there. Her hands shook. Hovered over something. Then the lid closed and her aunt locked the box. Held the box. Nursed it in her lap. Her lips moved. Drawn in. The child tiptoed along the landing where the wind mocked the carpet. Played with the carpet on the stairs. Down into the kitchen the child crept to make Aunt Sally jump in the larder. Oh you wicked child you’ll be the death of me yet here take this into your grandma her tongue’s hanging out for a cup of tea quick now and I’ll give you a piece of bread and butter pudding.

The child took the tray. Tried not to spill the tea into the saucer. If she did before reaching grandma’s door then the lions would eat her up. But they were preferable to the lioness with the little lion’s growl that greeted her offering. So there you are well bring it over here that’s right now care – ach child you’re so clumsy and what’s your Aunt Sally doing taking another nap I suppose well don’t stand there child like an imbecile just like your . . .

Her mouth filled with cake. Tea. Denture coping. Body manoeuvres. Just her eyes. Waterlogged. Stared at the child. Her head moved in time to the munching. Sipping. Swallowing. Plump ringed fingers filled the space between eiderdown. The small hole that presumed to be a mouth. The child held her breath against the smells. Urine. Stale food. And medicines. She counted the flies on the limp strips of sticky yellow near the curtained windows. Listened to cupboards. Drawers being opened. Closed. In the room upstairs. Unable to hold her breath any longer she rushed out. From grandma’s munching. Grinding. Into the kitchen where Aunt Sally hardly bent over the oven. Drew the baking tin out. Blinked in the warmth. Her own warm approval. Pleasure. Ah it looks a good one this time. She tested with a knife. The two of them bent over this treasure of golden brown. With little smiles. Hands of assurance. They ate. Hardly two mouthfuls when the child begged her aunt to sing. Sing anything. But you know all I know is Little Brown Jug. Well sing that then. The child clapped her hands. Licked the sticky remains from around her mouth. And felt even the wind under the back door sounded friendly now. Plants in the outhouse nodded in their full row of participation. Clouds danced lightly on the brow of the hill. Poppies and blue flowers bowed in acknowledgement towards the house. And the child knew if the sea was nearer that too would chuckle in the warm conspiracy. Sing sing Auntie and do that little dance you do. Ah you little devil I haven’t got all day to play with you so get along with you now go and play in the garden. The child laughed. Made to hug her aunt. Made all kinds of promises. Pretended to cry. Tickled her. Until the demanded song burst out and her aunt skipped one. Two. Three oops there now you’ll be the death of me oh my oh dear little brown jug don’t I love theeeee there I’m worn out and there’s your grandma calling. Off she went muttering. Dress dusted the floor. Caught in the door as she wiped the tail ends of pudding from the corners of her moustached upper lip.

(cont.)

 

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Book

Ann Quin Tripticks
Dalkey Archive Press

‘As innovative and abrasive as the very best of William Burroughs, Ann Quin’s Tripticks offers a scattered account of the narrator’s flight across a surreal American landscape, pursued by his “No. 1 X-wife” and her new lover. This masterpiece of pre-punk aesthetics critiques the hypocrisy and consumerism of modern culture while spoofing the “typical” maladjusted family, which in this case includes a father who made his money in ballpoint pens and a mother whose life revolves around her overpampered, all-demanding poodle. Stylistically, this is Quin’s most daring work, prefiguring the formal inventiveness of Kathy Acker.’ — Dalkey Archive Press

 

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Excerpt

I have many names. Many faces. At the moment my No. 1 X-wife and her schoolboy gigolo are following a particularity of flesh attired in a grey suit and button-down Brooks Brothers shirt. Time checked 14.04 hours Central Standard Time. 73 degrees outside. Area 158, 693 square miles, of which 1,890 square miles are water. Natural endowments are included in 20 million acres of public reservations.

All outdoor sports are possible. Deep sea sleeping, and angling for small game are favourite pastimes. The man who doesn’t reckon his pleasures on a silver platter is a fish that walks by night. Batman’s the name, reform’s the game. Farm out the elite, the Ruff-puffs, stinking thinking, temper tantrums, strong winds, captivating experiences, Burn Down Peyton Place, and inhale deeply stretched time with red eyes.

Eyes that fall away to 282 feet below sea level. I am hunted by bear, mountain lion, elk and deer. Duck, pheasant, rabbit, dove and quail. He at first feels a little like George Custer at Little Big Horn. The enemy is all around and awesome. The road ahead is going to be difficult there will be some nervous Nellies and some will become frustrated and bothered and break ranks under the strain, and there will be blood, irony dwarfs and dragons, skyrockets fired to celebrate orgasm’s efficiency. Suicide in a scented Sodom. Soul on acid. Hero angelic, domestic and cosmic on a journey with God on my side and the BrownieTroop.

Meanwhile I eat a toasted cheese hamburger, and dwell on five days of unconfined feasts of roasted pig. A miracle for a man who has nothing to lose. True your family adventures may not match those of ancient Greece, but you’re equipped to make history and why shouldn’t you be, we’ve worked hard to make it that way, we took no short cuts, spared no expense, watched no clock. If you come filled with dreams it may happen that your dream changes about every 15 minutes. The most is yet to come. 3,000 miles of strawberry ice cream. Lips are frenchfries teasing cole slaw fingers. My belly a Golden Poppy and the Motto is I Have Yet To Find It. Or as posted to my 3 X-wives. Ranked according to value vehicles food allied products fabricated metal machinery stone clay glass lumber and apparel.

White gold her hair one of my faces married (I displayed at that time a droopy Stephen Crane moustache and shiny eyes fixed on some wild interior vision). A bevy of stars, many now fallen. Reproductions a gristmill wine press and the reservoir with its undershot waterwheel, a restored chapel and adjoining wing of seven rooms she has taken over with the fourth husband of my No. 2 wife. Under the rough hewn redwood timbers they were lashed together with rawhide. Open during daylight hours an unusual arrangement of garden pools. Hours subject to change in summer. No dogs, with the exception of seeing-eye dogs, are allowed. Cats are permitted to stay overnight provided they are on a leash. A naturalist is on duty. As members of the 89-person party died, those remaining resorted to cannibalism. Only 47 were rescued. Picnicking. Campsites near the original area. Where I waited. Cement sand gravel and a gun. Full of booze and passion for justice he sees himself as a law and ardour candidate. His politics are symbolized by the itchy trigger finger, and his judicial philosophy is summed up in a tidy homily, `You can’t serve papers on a rat’. For months he terrorized the young women, and he was quickly dubbed the `Phantom Rapist’. He left typewritten notes at the scenes of his crimes. A strategy he called `working the system’.

He is layin’ low, like Br’er Rabbit in his briar patch but we know he s in there. Hovering, pale and jittery, like an image that persists for a second after the set has been turned off.

I knew they scrutinized me through a two-way mirror. A matter of impatience between us. Between the sunken gardens, colonnade and the workshop. They set up their own quarantine regulations. Frozen turkeys and yoghourt delivered from the nearest Piggly Wiggly. She played the mechanical organ, he an old horse fiddle, and other games with other interesting relics. Most of their amusements, I soon realized, could be accommodated without my presence. The inertia of distant omniscient perspective. That other side of the goddamn appletree. Intimations of immortality and a need for sincerity and violence become reflections of the reality only. I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death. The attacker may be a sadist who bites slowly and intentionally, leaving well-defined teeth marks. Mainly found on the breast, neck, cheek, top of arm etc. Their degree of viciousness can vary tremendously, from the nipples being completely bitten off to one bite only, a `love nip’.

I fired three times at their flagstone barbecue pit. And emerged from an underground channel through different rock strata. The name is not Gnome. The sensible thing is to kill them off, petrol bombs you know. Napalm your Castle awaits you.

It was when hitting Highway 101 I noticed they were following. I turned off into a winding road. Without campsites rest areas picnicking trailer hookups Naturalist programme.

Their faces, glass faces behind me, twisted into grotesque shapes by the Pacific winds. Surrounded by Himalayan cedars, illuminated with 8,000 coloured Lights. I proceeded with lights extinguished for several miles, and began a journey in an atomic submarine, scientifically authentic, to view mermaids, sea serpents, and the face of my first wife’s father. Pets may be left in a kennel at the main gate, he said. This one happens to be dead, I replied. In that case we’ll arrange a funeral at once. But I didn’t want a burial performed just then. However I told him that eventually a statue in her honour would be appropriate for erection in the town park, where visitors may choose to arrive by helicopters. He seemed genuinely pleased at this idea and showed me around the grounds of his No. 1 home. In addition to the eight-room stone and frame house (a market value of $82,000 when it was appraised six years ago he confidentially told me) there were a grassy helicopter pad, a log-cabin guest house, two boathouses, a kidney-shaped swimming pool, a sauna, a trampoline and a profusion of trees and marigolds. `All this was pasture, plain pasture when we bought it, I planted those pines as little sprouts and look at them now, you have to keep them fertilized and use lots of mulch.’ A recent hailstorm had played havoc with the trees and the roof of the house. He noted aloud `I’ve got to fix that’. He bent over and picked up several broken willow branches and handed them to his chauffeur (who I felt sure secretly belonged to the Panthers). While an electric player piano blared Oklahoma he led me to the garage where there were three autos: a 1926 model T Ford 1930 Model A A new red convertible. `A copy,’ he said proudly, `of the ’29 Ford Phieton.’ He tried to start the Model T, but the motor coughed, spat and died. `Someone’s been tinkering at the choke.’ He hopped out, lifted the hood and tinkered for a minute, explaining that he used to run a bike repair shop and liked doing his own mechanical work. Then his ire was directed at his anti-smog gadget. `The car idles so fast that it automatically leaps to 30 miles an hour when I take my foot off the brake, I’ve got to be careful I don’t kill somebody,’ he said with a rueful smile `just coming out of my drive.’

He led me further into the grounds. Crocodiles, hippopotami, and snakes slipped through murky water. Along the shore, amid live, rare tropical trees, shrubs, and flowers, appeared elephants and other jungle animals. `Visitors you know will find it hard to believe that none of the animals are alive. `I felt convinced one or two were, possibly his wife’s pets. She took her poodle Bu-Bu with her everywhere. `I wish I had been an Edwardlan, `she moaned at dinner on my first visit. `When we give a dinner party as you can see the people who serve wear green jackets and white gloves, but look at the curtains they’re in shreds.’ `That naughty Bu-Bu of yours,’ her husband shouted.

After dinner he showed me the champagne plant, wine cellars and bottling rooms. This was just a hobby, he explained. He was in the ballpen industry, with eighteen plants selling a billion ballpoints a year in 96 countries, `enough to pen a letter stretching from here to Saturn’. I knew the familiar commercials: a ballpoint being buried by a bulldozer, rattled on a flamenco dancer’s boot and shot from a rifle, only to write perfectly again. He claimed that it would soon make the pencil obsolete.

I saw myself in the near future living like a modern pasha. Indulging an insatiable yen for the luxuries a Falcon jet Convair turbo-prop Jet Commander Rolls-Royce Custom Lincoln Caddy Sting Ray a houseboat and a Riva speedboat, and perhaps a thoroughbred racing stable, and two Eliza Doolittles for maids.

A recent afternoon in his life. Man Friday helps him into his Pierre Cardin jacket. The Rolls is waiting. Three lissom girls are already in the back seat. He wanders across the lawn to pet his two tame ocelots. `Tell my wife that I’ll be back tomorrow.’ The Rolls is crunching along the gravel driveway when someone runs from the house and shouts, `Urgent call from New York.’ Twenty minutes later he is finally airborne in his twin engine falcon jet.

I tentatively asked him about his earnings. `Now you’re prying into my personal business,’ was his angry retort. `Just say it’s between 50 cents and 5 million dollars.’ Then he went on about a fund he was creating to provide huge public cocktail parties with free food and drink for anyone who wants to attend. `This would be a real nice way to be remembered,’ he said. There had to be a hitch — the parties would not start till after his death, and he wants to enjoy them too. So, for every party, he has arranged with a local funeral home to have his remains wheeled out in a big silver casket. `They will stay at the party until the last guest has gone.’ As he told me all this he had the strangest gleam in his eyes, it was like he couldn’t wait to die and get on with the fun.

His study was built in the shape of a wine barrel. He showed me photographs of his daughter in graduation drag. Of her as a plump baby, naked on a crocodile skin. And photos of his home town pharmacy ice cream parlour bank drugstore dentist’s office general store an old oil rig early locomotive box-car handcar and caboose hotel saloon and other enterprises.

I became the caricature of the surly inarticulate `man, like I mean’, as I caught sight of his daughter, my first wife to be, chewing gum in the memorial garden of camelias, roses and flowering shrubs. A maze symbolizing the various paths offered in life. At its centre a small stone summerhouse with a highly finished interior signifying the hastiness of judgment on the basis of outward appearances.

`That’s the orchard over there a fine sight to see you know,’ he said, `the Cherry Picking Festival is held in June and the public is invited to pick their own fruit, and over there well we have the Marine Corps Supply Depot — there we go you know my grandmother or was it my great grandfather was Celtic see that fireplace well its modelled after a Scottish war lord’s and this well it’s a miniature Railway an authentic replica you know of an oldtime coal-burning engine and that well that’s a photo of the world’s largest jet-missile rocket test centre and has a 22-mile runway — not open to visitors of course.’

I made the appropriate gestures, remarks, while thinking of his daughter’s petrified face imprinted on fossilized leaves. Vital secrets of her own wondering aloud while shopping by Rolls. I was curious to know if she was a member, like her mother, of the D.R. (Daughters of the Revolution). I doubted it. Her speciality would be wooden heads, tightly leather-wrapped. At the moment, her father reported, she was preoccupied with lizards, which she says `look like man in certain stages’.

Later at a health resort under hot-water geysers we made it for the first time in the mineral springs and mineralized mud baths. My mouth searching for hers by means of siphon pipes. And later that same day I got a strange blow-job in a parking lot, it was 35 degrees outside, by a weird woman, two days later I was still weak at the knees and couldn’t think about it. Now I could try and ease my way out of this by saying I didn’t ask questions, just stated my personality smart, well-educated Lack of respect for authority ambitious lack of spiritual and moral deep concern for social fibre problems lack of responsibility good values, character lack of manners communicate lack of dialogue with elders independent thinker values ill-defined poised personality lack of good study habits vocal, will speak up lack of love for fellow men mature, prepared for lack of self-respect life too impetuous versatile, able too introspective intellectually curious too introspective well-groomed nothing missing care about community

read for pleasure consider myself informed sense of humour is important enjoy discussing ideas my best work is done when I’m not working I am dominant relationship with my family is fucked up I am sophisticated considered attractive interested in marriage liberal regarding sex more of a dove than a hawk my date should be psychologically weaker I am optimistic Pot and pop-pills are morally right I drink regularly

On the other hand I am interested in some of the factors which may, or may not, effect my psychological feelings. For this reason I have hand exercise springs REMEMBER Hold the hand spring in a closed position throughout the `thinking’ period. Place your check mark on the line, not in between lines

THIS NOT THIS X X

_________ _________ ___________ ___________

Do Not Omit any Scales for Any Concept Yesterday Good ________ ________ ________ Bad large large unpleasant pleasant light heavy cold hot active passive rough smooth

My Mood Now

small large passive active hot cold bad good heavy light pleasant unpleasant

Fantasy Profile

Organized Dreamer Athletic Sexy Confident Aggressive Subtle Natural Practical Well-dressed Healthy Introverted Passionate Thrifty Quiet Nervous Funny Warm Paternal Extroverted Serious Impulsive Talkative Trusting Active Intelligent Kind Content Maternal Cheerful Creative Self-controlled Cautious Do-it-yourself Altruistic Emotional Reflective Jealous Obsessive Wholesome

Common Interests

Pets Jazz Psychology Parties Walking Photography Lectures Scientific E.S.P. Medicine journals Stock Market Stereo Movies Antiques equipment Yoga Astrology Acting Humanities Foreign travel Modern lit. Dancing Sugar buns Discotheques Portable lawns Ethics Pop Art and unusual work-it-yourself devices

 

 

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p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi, David. I didn’t know about that film you linked to. What a great premise for a movie. I think I might even watch the whole thing somehow. Thank you! ** Jamie, Monday? Okey-doke, I’ll mark my calendar. Stuff’s okay with me. Sort of random, which I’m enjoying or at least okay with. Banned, my blog? Christ, it must be those pesky escorts and slaves. Where was the train taking you? Tunnels, yeah, don’t know why, but yeah. Well, enjoy everything meaning whatever the things that collect into everything turn out to be, and I look forward to missives whenever the signals allow. Broken window shade love, Dennis. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Of course please create an internet passage to your ‘Nocturama’ review when the waves become partable. I did see your ‘Dunkirk’ Facebook post. Made theoretical sense. I definitely am not going to see ‘Dunkirk’ in a theater. I’ll try to avoid it on a plane, but that’ll depend on its competition. Curious to read about your cynicism via that review. Everyone, Steve Erickson is in the house with these words: ‘Here’s my latest review, on PERSON TO PERSON. It’s an American indie film that left me feeling very cynical and downbeat about the state of such movies.’ ** Kyler, No, thank you. I’m a tunnel fan or lover too, duh. What a lovely Mary Martin anecdote. I can total picture that. And smell it too, ha ha. Good day to ya! ** S., Thanks, yeah, it’s a cool thing. You’re a lucky gay. There was a tunnel near where I grew up, and it was grungy and long, but if you crawled through it, and my friends and I did sometimes, you would end up in this kind of gully, and on one side of the gully was the fence of the backyard of a house where some family had a severely mentally challenged daughter whom they would chain to a swing set during the day, and she would freak out when she saw us at the fence and scream and go wild and stuff, and she was legendary in the neighborhood as ‘the crazy lady’, which is a horrifying and cruel characterization, but I was, like, 7 years ago, but that’s no excuse either. ** _Black_Acrylic, I’m so happy to have made you happy, Ben. ** Misanthrope, Oh, you do, do you? You artsy-fart. Ha ha, kidding. I’m glad to hear your friend/colleague is improving, but that coma has got to go, I hope as quickly as possible. Another hug. ** MANCY, Hi, S! Hi, pal! Your comment just made that whole thing worthwhile. Yes! What’s up? What’s going? ** H, Hi. I’m excited about the event, yeah, but, as for the actual performance, I just feel nervous. The event is completely free, no charge. I don’t believe there’s a website for it. The venue is Matthew Barney’s studio where he makes his art works, which just gets coopted and reorganized for events occasionally. I think you just show up and get in, as far as I know. I think it’s going to be pretty worth seeing if you’re free and want to check it out. ** Right. I picked up a book off a shelf by Ann Quin the other day and started reading and remembered how fantastic her work is and decided to restore this formerly dead post about one of her novels. I hope its effect is a good one. See you tomorrow.

9 Comments

  1. Hi!

    First of all, thank you so much for today’s post! I haven’t heard about Ann Quin before and I found both the excerpt from Tripticks and (especially) ‘Every Cripple Has His Own Way of Walking’ absolutely fascinating. I’ll ask my brother to look around for her books in his frequently-visited bookstores in Amsterdam.

    Anita’s visit was awesome. We finally had the time to sit and talk everything we had on our minds through and we indulged in our passion for what we call “free-style” – it’s basically us role-playing our own characters we also write about. We came up with this… acting thing because we have so many ideas for and with our characters, and not enough time to write all of them and I grew to love it possibly even more than writing together. So I had a lot of fun.
    How about you? What’s happening over there? I hope you’re well and everything’s been lovely!!

  2. Great to see Quin’s work getting attention! The most recent issue of Music and Literature has some wonderful essays and responses to Quin’s work, including a structurally fascinating essay on Passages by Jesse Kohn. I’m also really looking forward to The Unmapped Country, a collection that’ll be out early next year. I read an excerpt from her unfinished novel that had been excerpted in anthology on British experimental writers, and I’m curious to see if the editor (Jennifer Hodgson) has been able to dig up more.

  3. If you like twinks in their early 20s with dark hair, DUNKIRK might appeal to your libido more than your cinephilia. Seriously, every single soldier in the film looks like that, to the point where I had trouble telling them apart. A friend of mine commented on it on Facebook yesterday, and I was so relieved someone else had the same reaction. I replied “Weren’t there any blondes or redheads in 1940s England?”

    I won’t have my computer back till next Tuesday. This is seriously wreaking havoc on my work as a critic, not to mention my general reliance on Internet access. (I’m typing this from the office where I’m working on film programming.)

    A friend of mine recently criticized my reviews for being filled with heavy-handed politics. He said that I constantly complain about the woke generation, but I’m writing the exact same thing. I really don’t see it that way at all. I think I’m responded to the content of the films I’m reviewing, and if I overtly express my political views, it’s always limited to 2 or 3 sentences. For instance, my NOCTURAMA review does spent a lot of time talking about politics, but almost all of it consists of analyzing what the film has to say about capitalism and terrorism, not expressing my own views. I only jumped on a soapbox in two places: to note that HSBC has a history of real-life corruption, Bonello was right to pick it as a target and interested spectators should google this, and at the end to suggest that the film is a cautionary tale re: the far left’s embrace of violence (a la the widespread opinion that punching Nazis is totally awesome.) When I reviewed a genuinely apolitical film, like THIS TIME TOMORROW (the review comes out next week), I never talked about politics. But we live in times when cinema is soaked in politics, and writing the kind of auteurist formal analysis my friend prefers seems like writing some kind of weird and alienated missive from an ivory tower right now (although I do value formal analysis and wish I was better at it.)

  4. I still have Berg on my wishlist from a previous Spotlight so I should really get on this Ann Quin train, it’s clear. Which of these novels would you say is the best place to start?

    I had another good driving lesson yesterday and even though my braking’s still not 100%, there’s still a good chance that next time I’ll be out among some proper traffic. So it’s all developing ok, and it will be a big thing for me if I can finally pass the test. There’s a chance it might be by the end of this year, we’ll see.

  5. Hey Dennis, hows things? Are you enjoying time off from the intense editing? That reading you’re doing sounds cool. Is it going to be live on the internet or just for people at the event?
    Things are pretty cool here, work and ocean. Oh, when it comes time end of next month or sep to do the blog day on my book, should I email you some stuff to post? Is word doc and jpg’s okay? What’s the best email for you these days? I’ve been reading Kim Gordon’s book–did you ever check it out? Lots of love, Axo

  6. When I initially looked at ‘Tunnel’ I was thinking in terms of your stacks (as opposed to the more narrative literary gif pieces) but soon decided it belonged with the latter – it flows and has directions. It’s like a really focused, intense short story.
    Your gif work really stimulates this feeling I sometimes get from art that I wish I could see it with my eyes closed, or better yet from outside of my physical body (if that makes sense).
    I still have AQ’s name on my list from the earlier version of this post, need to find some.
    Things here okay, mostly busy with the mind numbing boredom of the day job, but started working on a potential new zine.
    Hope you are better than great.

  7. Dennis, Hahaha, yeah…no, I wasn’t being critical as much as just pondering. This particular stack actually got me to thinking about other configurations. Maybe that’s a good thing? It was something inherent in the tunneling that made me start thinking about other possibilities for the individual GIFs. I think that, in this case, it’s probably a good thing. Or maybe not.

    Thanks about my friend. So far, no news. And everyone’s saying no news is good news. And I’m thinking, “Really?” But maybe they’re right. Seems she’s doing better, though.

    So this might be interesting to you. It’s a long story that I’ll make short. When I was with my last bf in DE, I substituted K-12. At one of the high schools was this very talented, smart black student named Jullion, who also happened to be the only out kid -as far as I know- in all of DE. He kind of took to me and we became sort of friends. You know, he’d come to me and talk about being gay and all that stuff. Nothing sexual, of course, not one bit. I had no interest in him and he had none in me. I’d given him my AIM, in case he wanted to chat online after school sometime about things, etc.

    So one night I’m on, and Jullion actually AIMs me. My bf walks in, accuses me of cheating with this student, kicks me out, and the rest is history.

    Jullion and I became friends on FB years ago. Really nice guy. He works for the State Department now and was even sent to the Far East by Obama with a group of young people in an ambassadorial role a couple years ago.

    Anyway, he lives in DC now. I wished him a happy birthday the other day, and he responded to get in touch so we could tell each other what we’re up to, etc. I did. We’re gonna meet next Saturday in DC for lunch or something, just to catch up. I don’t know, I think it’s pretty neat. Really nice guy who’s done really well for himself. I’m glad I knew him then and know him now.

    So what’s kind of funny about it all is that my ex befriended me on FB a few years back. I didn’t realize it for a while, but I had a message from him from before he messaged me. I read it, and he mentions Jullion again. I’m like, dude, you’re fucking crazy, that never happened, what’s wrong with you? He finally replied that the person who’d convinced him that I’d cheated with this student had claimed to be really close friends with me still…but my ex noticed that the guy isn’t even friends with me on FB. I’m like, duh, I don’t know anyone from over there. He kind of apologized for it all and then told me his mother had died. (Oh, and then asked me to come over to DE for sex. I ignored him.)

    So yeah, weird story. But one of those where you’re just kind of pissed that someone sullied what was a very innocent friendship but also happy that that part of your life is way over.

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