“there are favorites and then there are favorites…”: my time in life and books


I’ll do authors:



a bunch more but I won’t give myself too much time to think or else this’ll become ridiculous well maybe I should mention authors, books that meant a lot to me and/ or maybe aren’t mentioned all the time (and some that probably are)….all of Faulkner but don’t often see Sanctuary talked about, which broke the Faulkner dam for me, The Sun Also Rises, which was one of the first pieces of literature I read where I sat and thought “Hmmmmm, I’m reading literature…” (and i did it with a goddamn british accent)….and I stole it from my grandma after my grandpa had died (it was his book!) and I was like where’s the fucking plot though and then read it again and again, and this coincided with my first ‘experiments’ with LSD, which weren’t really experiments except for dying of laughter and allowing me to think more clearly ( also making me think “fuck, DARE lied to us about weed and LSD….so now Im gonna do cocaine and meth and etc and in a few years I’ll be a drug addict for a while off an on…” well, I didn’t consciously think the last part but that’s what happened…it was probably in the back of my head…) and slowly writing poetry (“hmmmm, i’m gonna use a little i here because I’m so inconsequential within the scheme of things…I’m a fucking genius…”) and I had read before but at the time and for a few years after Hemingway was my man and I don’t think I’d be here if i didn’t steal that fucking book! Grandpa would’ve wanted me to….

Hunter S. Thompson, Kerouac, Bukowski, Heller, Kesey…because young druggy american boy (not a cliche at all Something Happened though!)…Dylan Thomas around that time too, stumbling into Pynchon, Joyce slowly learning to actually read…poetry getting better (well, I hope it did….No longer: “I’m genius” rather “I’m a genius…no, this sucks, I’m horrible, this is miserable I should just fucking stop this charade….” etc…)…trying my hand at prose, ranting, trouble, Exley’s A Fan’s Notes…seeing myself in Fante’s Ask the Dust and his living Bandini (I am him!, he thought…he being younger me)….Moby Dick shook me, molded me, Kafka broke the sea within…Williams, O’Hara instantly spoke to me….what’s the deal with Stevens and Ashbery, I thought, and now I carry them with me everywhere….Nabokov is sterile as fuck, I thought, and now I see the ghosts and sadness and generosity in all he does, Lolita being one of the few – to me – perfect novels (novels not being a medium where perfection is possible….and anyways the imperfect is our paradise, and the white album is better than revolver, which has not a single skipper), A Good Soldier, Under the Volcano being others off the top of my head, novels approaching perfection they are…

Beckett and Barthelme came into my life when I was afforded a few hours at the library – I would leave a sober-living facility (I was so broke I measured my money in how much gas I had in my tank….I stole that from a poem I wrote called ‘Upon not being able to like even one of your split personalities’ and a ‘famous’ poet (famous in quotations because poetry and 21st century and america) told me that nobody would ever like a poem that didn’t like itself when they could’ve just said “hey, I don’t like your poem…I especially don’t like the title…” but people get weird around poems and nobody really knows how they work- you only know when they do and it’s magic, sort of…I say sort of because it’s also difficult and exacting and exhausting to get everything working…like good sex…all sex is ‘good’…well if you cum at least, but truly wonderful and memorable sex is not just sex, not just biology, it is that too of course, but it’s also the moment, mood, there’s love (if even for a second), there’s you and then there’s not you, it’s mystical and inexplicable and so are all great things (we must skip over them in silence….and yet I keep talking) …you’re both hyper-aware and you’re dumb as fuck…you have a stupid fucking look on your face and you really are just racing to get your rock’s off (great song; in the running for best album opener ever!)) with a pass (I wasn’t being sober in sober living….a low point in life but didn’t see it at the time, I thought I was having so much fun!…I read a lot though, which surprises me now, I was always partying and fucked up but I took a book and paper and a pen with me everywhere or I wrote a lot on bar receipts, napkins…I had nice bartenders, they’re nice when they lend you a pen); I stole and later paid a small fortune (forced payment you see) for How It Is and 60 Stories….James Kelman, nobody talks about James fucking Kelman, he wrote How late it was, how late, which if you google that book title will be all in caps but Kelman didn’t put the title that way, the internet thinks it knows every fucking thing! but it won the Booker, which is supposedly a huge deal and made him sort of ‘famous’… but he’s great all around, stories, novels…and I’d say that he got famous for the wrong book sort of like Heller….not saying that How late it was, how late or Catch-22 aren’t great but Kelman’s A Disaffection and his Kieron Smith, boy and Heller’s Something Happened are in my fucking opinion their masterpieces…,

Kosinski’s Steps is a fantastic book…I could go on, I like to write about books because you can trace your life and the way your thinking contours and makes the world, it’s like music, or painting, whatever: art is art and it cuts your life into mysterious eras (“O yeah that was a hard time in my life and i was also obsessed with Eno’s Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)…) …but then again to go on like this, you need to stop writing about them and read or…you could even make your own goddamn little word machines! (and you too can have long and strange digressions and parenthesis that may or may not open or close…I refuse to look back and see).  Go and make stuff that might stick to somebody else’s arteries like Mina Loy’s Song to Joannes what with her lines: We might have given birth to a butterfly/ With the daily-news/ Printed in blood on its wings…cheers, I need to stop…seriously, stop (I just ramble…well, obviously…but then I keep adding stuff and editing….”edit!?” you don’t have to believe me, I don’t blame you).

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