1 ago. 2005

I came up with some theories while completing the Monk Fake Book. (Yes, it's done!) One is that references or allusions can be obscure so long as the underlying feeling is clear. Another, proper names can give a particular texture to writing. A third: although I had no idea when I started what any of the texts would be about, I ended up using material that I already had, that was already available to me. Thus the process of writing was one of realizing that I had certain phrases, images, what have you, already at my disposal. Finally, writing for me is gathering up clusters of feeling.


I was reading a Harukami novel on the plane to SF in which none of the characters had proper names. Nevertheless, there were many proper names in the novel itself--names of writers and actors and musicians, pop culture references galore. This displacement of the referential had a peculiar effect. An effect, precisely, of displacement. The world of cultural references seemed real in a way that the world of the characters themselves was not. It's like a painting of library shelves in which the titles of the books on the shelves are legible. One could go out and get these same books and acquire the "contents" of the painting. Yet one can't meet the girl in the painting, or know what she's thinking as she reads a book on the chair.

3 comentarios:

Tony dijo...

Re: Your comments above the asterisk, please see the Coolidge poem on my blog.

Jonathan dijo...

I like the poem. Which part of my comment reminded you of it?

Tony dijo...

The first part. In that particular poem (as in much of CC's work), each line evokes a feeling, even though the references don't really cohere. When the poem is finished we can't say what it's "about." However, the specificity of some of his references, taken alone, by themselves (out of context?) are very clear--the emotion evoked is often unclear, but undeniably there. Coolidge seems to operate both obscurely and clearly in both vectors you mention.


Proper name usage is a cornerstone of the new sincerity, which isn't new, of course. Paul Goodman via Frank O'Hara is our reference point. Be on the look out for the following works of new sincerity:

Lune Book by Joseph Massey

Here's to You by Mister-Robinson