Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Could the Gone Lawn Get Any Goner?

The lawn’s still as gone as gone can get, maybe goner; but the late summer blooms surrounding my Missouri country cottage more than compensate. Some few last words, like rosebuds, on Gone Lawn 8.

In Angela Genusa’s The Baby, what ultimately gets delivered is language, speech, even more to the point, hearsay. And what a weird delivery. We have the fact of the baby before the womb in which it will be carried to term. But why pursue purchase of a womb if the baby’s already arrived, healthy and beautiful, especially its crafted lips from which speech will issue in time? Is that what the priest means by “a difficult time;” the time in which her baby is speechless, incapable of the wordplay to come? Language/communication is an expensive and risky business in this story: morticians are its hucksterish gatekeepers, and a rather crude priest, its mediator.

In sound and image The Baby would be a stylish bit of animated Edward Gorey grotesquerie. If I were to watch it repeatedly perhaps I would feel more certain as to why when the priest answers at the end, it’s “joyously.” Is it because he’s left the operating room with the uterus, and finally has a womb of his own? Or is it because of the simple message he’s about to deliver--a word he knows in a language he can understand? Or is the joy impish or worse, derived because he’s perpetrating a deceit, making a deliberate slur of two rather more affirmative words: Good buy…?

Or is he indeed a man of his word, just one’s that genuinely happy to be the harbinger of a poignantly bitter rejection?

In Kristina Marie Darling’s excerpt from Melancholia a woman is reminiscing about her love affair with a phantom, and I, with respect, am going to recuse myself from writing about this one. The subject hits a nerve and I find myself reflexively recoiling at her words; unfair to her, so I won’t belabor it.

  Recusal: a perfect way to end my musings on Gone Lawn 8.

It was such a delight to be included in this collection. I am pleased with my story Philosophies of Access, and expect the pleasure to be abiding. Reading the other far-flung writers gathered here by guest-editor Edmond Caldwell made me a better reader just when I needed to be. It has been wonderful spending a portion of summer 2012, the lion’s share of the literary portion, with Gone Lawn 8. Thank you, writers and readers, all.   

Monday, August 13, 2012

Gone Lawn, By Night

Ekeing out a few more passionate responses to Gone Lawn 8

Forgive me for turning j/j hastain’s very serious epistlotory confession into a metaphysical game of What’s My Line? but the foregrounding of the line breaks pushed me there of their own accord.

And the mystery guest who signs in? 

Why, Joan of Arc, with her camber and coil, more fascinating than Brecht, Shaw or Anouilh ever made her.

David Hadbawnik’s homage to Spaulding Grey. 

 Eerie how on the mark he gets it. But why would he want to? Makes me terribly curious about The White Album as a whole.

 Is it a collection of impersonations of white men in all their varieties of whiteness?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Damn If The Lawn Still Ain't Gone

[I hate it that I’m off my Monday night WW,SW posting shedule. But, I wasn’t slacking, promise!]

Additional musings about Gone Lawn 8

Derek Owens’ The Paralyzing Perfume of Beauty reads like an aggrieved catalog of précis of academic panels at a literary conference convened in a vaudevillian speakeasy, the sad-sack clowns and hoochie-coochie girls slouching the titles of the XIV circles of hell across the proscenium, pronouncing the next deranged scenes: Part farcical sketch comedies, part Robbe-Grillet films, but with all the usual genuine scores to settle and longstanding axes to grind.

It’s a testament to why literary artists really should not be warehoused in the academy; tenure, or the pursuit of it, as a Huis Clos prison. Like all those New Yorkers who’ve long ago outgrown their rent-controlled apartments, but can’t give up the bargain! Owens hasn’t yet popped the bubble with his fine quill, but he is elaborating it. I’m rooting for him.

Neila Mezynski Warriors II excerpted from Warriors
I do love a verbal puzzle, a juicy one, at that! These sheets of hers, the wide eyed, white eyed homophonic sheets. Surely they’re screens and pages. Humboldt and Nabokov, Lolita and the butterflies, all there, atmospherically pinned to them.
But what’s the “disbelieving” on her writing instructor’s lips? What does he refuse to believe? What belief does he withhold? A belief in her? In her abilities to turn the tools and instruments—the plow canvas word piano, violin, trombone into the desired result, the word soufflé? To help her not look at the world as a whore, as so many writing students do, hoping as the ultimate goal for their “pains” to prostitute the juice of our words for the 3-book deal at Random House?
The line down the middle; in my perception it’s horizontal, delineating the blank lower half, the bare bottom. It takes nerve, audacity even, to leave important things unsaid and hope that they’ll be somehow conveyed in the speechlessness. Untrammeled by formalistic restraint, my wonderful dictionary suggests about audaciousness.
Wyoming, John Wayne and Clint, suggestive of the chaparral, a kind of badlands, the landscape in which the work of writing is conducted. The character of writers is what she’s getting at—we too are warriors. Hers is a great compliment. But that last word—soft. Is it archaic? A starred general’s command to the troops? As in linger?

Frances Kruk’s Thirst. Never read anything like it, so despairing when Martha cannot eat, when she cannot summon the saliva to masticate, her dinner turning to rocks in her mouth, so slyly suggestive of whetstone if one chews along. Martha is the drought.
Kruk inventories human diminishment, cellularly, in all senses, cells of the body, the living spaces we house our bodies in, in the face of relentless sensorial overload, the toxins pouring through that television, the overwhelming horror show, the steady diet of animal fat, life’s potential pillaged and wasted (the greasy baby is screaming!), turning to the cigarette of all things for relief.  Oh how we are capable of hating our desiccating selves. We can’t soak our hypersensitivity away, there’s no balm, there’s no safe way. We just record the weirdness, our mothers’ ashtrays bumping along the wall, coming our way, like it or not.
Falling leaves in July; (geese flying north too)

I’ll skip writing about that fly Madeson chick’s Philosophies of Access for now. But I know what you all are thinking. 
Martha McCollough, Two Birds, Inseparable Friends
More next Monday night, lawn willing!