Friday, June 12, 2009

On the edge of turning 38, this is what I think…

I could use a lot more sleep. And time.

I’d like a new job, please.

I have less patience for people than I used to have, and I never had much.

I’m not 40 yet, but when I do turn 40 I will probably be happy that I’m not 50. 40 is the new 30, or so they tell me. I never felt 30 when I was 30, or 33, or 37. I feel 15 most of the time—only smarter and better looking.

I’m really digging this band Fishtank Ensemble.

I have a lot of shit to do. I have many, many ideas, all of which are brewing and trying to turn into something more than silly ideas. But ideas are important. Really, what else is there? Everything else is empty, insipid, untrustworthy. Ideas are make us special. Otherwise, we’re just meat and bone.

Last night I stayed awake too late reading Pulp by Charles Bukowski. It’s not his best novel (that would be either Factotum or Women) but it is a lot of fun and I reread it yesterday for a reason that will not disclose here. Anyway, I like it a lot and, in a way, it’s my favorite of his books. Bukowski is a young man’s writer, or so I used to think (I know young women who like him as well, and a few not so young women for that matter). I moved past ol’ Buk a while back but I thought that—aside from my private reasons—I might give him a look as I approached the end of another fucking year of my life. He’s still a lot of fun and, oddly, holds up better than I thought. The writing is sparse, certainly nothing the MFA crowd would celebrate, but there’s an immediacy there that is quite refreshing from time to time, especially when you usually read books that play with narration and thwart convention and do all that so-called (post)modernist jazz. I carried Bukowski in my backpack along with David Huerta, who writes poetry that Buk would hate. I like to think they talked all day and argued about writing, though I doubt Bukowski had much to say on the matter. He is the king of the shut-up-and-do-it school, another reason I picked him back up as that has been my philosophy as of late.

After finishing Pulp I had a problem choosing the next book. I decided on What Can I Do When Everything’s on Fire? By António Lobo Antunes. It’s big and looks serious and has that before mentioned playful, unconventional narrative thing going on that critics love and book-of-the-month types bemoan. This was chosen over the following contenders:

Ghosts by César Aira
A Light Comedy by Eduardo Mendoza
Kensington Gardens by Rodrigo Fresán
Cosmos and Pornographia by Witold Gombrowicz
Corrections by Thomas Bernhard

Most of these books are short, but I decided to give Lobo Antunes a chance, hoping that my advancing years are bringing steady concentration. I’ve found it difficult to commit to a book lately and have sought shorter, quicker reads. Pathetic. I’d like to say that I am doing so for a reason (I have my justification), but I’m just feeling lazy these last few days. Proust beckons, as does the great Musil, and I swore I’d reread Moby Dick this year and maybe start War and Peace, at long fucking last. But I also want to read The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa and finish the poetry collections by Huerta and Nicanor Parra that I flip through at night while home, snuggled with the cat and with the girl nearby. Soon I’ll be reading poetry with a dog.

On that: tomorrow Haruki arrives. I have yet to meet the little guy, though Cassandra has shown me crude pictures snatched from her mobile phone. He looks small and black. I am guessing he’ll stay that way. I begin year 38 as a partial dog owner for the first time. I never really had a dog of my own, always lived with the ones my mother or roommates owned, so this ought to be interesting. I’m thinking it is the closest I will ever come to having a newborn in my home. It’s an exciting time. I look forward to quiet nights reading or watching movies with the little guy snoozing while Gato reclaims his nocturnal territory and the thugs of RP assert their interpretation of what it is to be hard.

To quote ol’ Xtop: Good times ahoy.

Otherwise there is no news worth mentioning. I graduate in a week, which ought to be fun. I am squeezing as many big meals into June as I can so I can devote the rest of my time to not eating very much and living on an IV drip, maybe moving out to Colorado or New Mexico and watching tumbleweeds collect like snowdrifts.

Eating my Dada,