Thursday, January 06, 2005

Thursday Palaver

Time to get back on the horse, club monkeys.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

“the static sane side outside to another outside saneside” or Where is Everybody?

Hey, where is everybody? I wasn't going to do any of these cross-posts from my site anymore, but it seems that there's no life here. I'm probably way behind everyone else on my reading (had to read some of those Christmas books), but here are some thoughts on what I've read recently:


I read from The Recognitions out loud last night. I'm not sure why I even started to, because doing so usually annoys my wife. There's something about vocalizing that's revealing, particularly rhythm and the sounds of the words. I vividly recall reading Ralph Ellison's Juneteenth, which demands, absolutely commands its reader to mimic the voices in the book and read it as if it were a play and you are an actor (but then again, all the world's a stage). I did this compulsively, reading out-loud to my wife as I sat in the passenger seat on our trip that year to Chicago. The cadence and the emotion of the novel became clear and I don't think it would have been the same otherwise.

But I wouldn't have expected the same with The Recognitions. It's dense, there are a lot of big words and only occasionally a segue, switching from scene to scene like in a film. But as luck would have it, I decided to read aloud just as Wyatt is returning home to his father and we are hearing his thoughts, like a deranged man (that he may be).

Try this paragraph on for size [399]:

Above, another blue day, (upstairs) the room papered with green capped pink-faced dogs, and the button drawer, only apparitions move to perfection, there! Pray the Lord to keep you from lying, there, O spectral stabat mater may I go out and play the violin outside to the town wearing its sinside inside and not a soul in sight. Church bells inspissated the air, dropping it in sharp fragments. He sat down in his place at table, excused by the falling weights of the bells, and motionless when they had done. There, old vicary, congratulate my refuge, the saneside outside sheltering the insane inside: to present the static sane side outside to another outside saneside, to be esteemed for that outsane side while all the while the insanside attacks your outsane side as though we weren't both playing the same game, and gone down Summer Street (singing unchristian songs) the inane sinside, pocketing a cool million wearing the shoutside outside and doubtside inside, the vileside inside and the violinside outside skipping dancing and foretelling things too come all ye faithful, of thine own give we back to thee.

This is a lot more alliterative than most passages in the book, but I think I happened on something here and it will inform the rest of my reading.

I am a very fast typist, but the above was a difficult paragraph to type out. But fun to read. It's cheating unless you read it out loud. It seems to be the only way to appreciate it.