I think that music can be a fairly solid litmus test for people. Do you have a favorite song lyric or lyrics? The kind of phrase you try to live by or one that's just downright goofy but makes you feel good?
What was the first thing you can remember reading that gave you a clue as to who you really are?
A Confederacy of Dunces by Joseph Kennedy Toole. I remember; I was 12 or 13. That felt like the first formative and humane experience I had with a story. And in that same year I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time, which made me feel fully intellectually engaged, and viscerally moved. Great question… Thank you.
My secret project, a.k.a. A Big Thing, is not a secret anymore. I now own & operate a nonprofit publishing company. My first title, The Complete Works of Marvin K. Mooney–a novel by Christopher Higgs–is available in paperback, ebook & audiobook forms. Special presale prices, limited edition cover. Click here to look & maybe order.
Immediately I am struck by the ease of fulfilling digital orders (ebook/audiobook) vs. print orders (book object). To give the person what they bought via the former: one email. To give the person what they bought via the latter: packing, post office, fingers crossed. I really didn’t need to warm any more to digital storytelling, but now I’m just hot for it. That said: a beautiful tactile thing is a beautiful tactile thing. I’m evenly spread.
Reading: I finished Closer by Dennis Cooper this morning. The last fifty pages are just these brutal, crystalline things. What is really astonishing is how Dennis managed to not only capture the myriad voices, but how he places them next to each other and in each other in a way that suggests a unifying, much larger body that breathes and sleeps and welts like all of us do, under certain kinds of pressure. The last sentence in particular will stay with me for awhile.
What was easy to convey was that something about the past ten years had been unsustainable. But the truth—that an entire ideology had been unsustainable—is one that we have not yet grasped. And that is why so many journalists, economists, intellectuals and financiers now scramble to churn out books that for the most part read like the memoirs of people trying to make themselves feel less stupid. The current financial system was constructed to make us all feel stupid, and in the process of building it the architects allowed themselves to become stupid as well. That ignorance begat infantilization, which bred cowardice and systemic moral decay. The only sustainable way out is to reacquaint ourselves and our fellow citizens with the wisdom of asking stupid questions.
Watching: Enjoyed A Single Man. A very sensual film, and best in its sensuality, and least compelling in its mandatory narrative. Very happy that Tom Ford is directing, and excited to see what he shapes next.
Novel: Digging there in a moment.
World of Flesh: In the last week alone I’ve met and hung with Nick Antosca, Ned Vizzini, Sabra Embury & Kevin Sampsell and his formidable posse. Increasingly I’m convinced that this sprawling community of artists w/literary bent is the kindest, most wonderful group of people on earth. So: torrential kudos to all those listed.
Reading: Closer by Dennis Cooper. Dennis is a friend of mine, and I’ve only read God Jr. Correcting this. Halfway through Closer, and it’s a stunningly compact text. There are these logical leaps, held in fantasy, throughout that are just wowing me. I don’t think I can respect Dennis more than I already do, but here’s a toast–to heaping! (clink) Also, still and unstill with Finnegans Wake. This is a year of improved reading: I want to read more and better, and I’ve been doing that so far. I wrote my first considerable review. That felt great.
Watching: Last movie to become a landmark was The Thin Red Line. Now I’ve got Malick to catch up on. Malick seems to truly be a philosopher king: studied under Cavell at Harvard, graduated summa cum laude, went on to study as a Rhodes Scholar and almost get a doctorate–apparently he got into it with his advisor about the content of his thesis (the concept of the world in Kierkegaard, Heidegger & Wittgenstein–this is a thesis I want to read). (!!!) So, yes, a philosopher king; a film director. What I wouldn’t give to see that mind at work on set.
Novel: Over 20,000 words. I cannot grasp it.
EDIT: And a couple of people at different publishing companies have asked about Interim, my first novel. It’s nice to feel solicited.
Days Ahead: So much. A Big Thing will be announced this month. Someone told me that you can watch The Secret Life on Hulu. That will be handy for ‘Huh?’ conversations.
The great dam is about to be lifted away, into air.