Friday, August 29, 2014

the prize awarded to a dancing girl

It's not as if the books I've been reading are lackluster; Graham Greene is always good and The Heart of the Matter is satisfyingly grim, Chekhov is always a pleasure (and The Shooting Party, Chekhov's only novel, a book typically written off as "lightweight juvenilia," is actually a pretty dandy crime novel that--while certainly not being Chekhovian in the sense of Chekhov's mature works--is funny and Gogolian and worth a read), and I like Angela Thirkell's Barsetshire novels the more of them I read. No, it's just been busy and frankly August has been a damned stressful month this year. Despite the birthday cake.

I continue, despite the damnable heat and the damnable life and deaths, to work on my latest project, Antosha in Prague. The title story is nearly complete, I think, despite the way my prose seems in the last year to have expanded into a digressive crawl that takes me forever to get from one plot point to the next. I write and I write and I write and my protagonist manages to stand up, maybe, and put a hand in his pocket. I have become possessed by Henry James, maybe. Which isn't so bad. Though that's probably going too far, the Henry James claim. Still, there's a lot of good stuff in this story but I hope to have the "Kafka" section complete in the next day or so. There's just one final event to relate, but relating it will entail discussing Christian versus Jewish ideas of confession of sin, and church bells and birds must be invoked, as well as out-of-tune fiddle music on a bridge, and that sort of thing. So I have some way to go before I'm done with this story and I can go on to the other tales that will make up this book. After I finish writing this collection, I may not work on anything new for a while. I am exhausted, and I should make an effort to sell some of the other novels I've got lying around the house, right?

Other people out there have been doing some fine blogging work. See my sidebar for recommendations. Pykk is having an argument with a dead poet, very exciting. I keep looking for places to jump into the conversation, but neither she nor the dead poet need my assistance, so I remain on the sidelines holding my breath. Marly Youmans' latest book is about to be born, and that's also exciting.

Today is the feast of the martyrdom of John the Baptist. Remember that we are all called to witness our faith, if we have any. Keep the faith, children, and play nice. No loving God demands that you kill for Him. If anyone tells you differently, he is either gravely mistaken or a damned liar.


  1. Good closure.

    And thanks for the horn toot!

    Also, luck with Antosha and happy birthday to you--guys with extra initials always get where they're going, eventually. If you're going Jamesian, it may take a little longer. (But remember that William James asked his brother, "Why do it?" Or something like that. And he definitely called the late books "crustaceous." XD)

  2. I made a post here a few minutes ago but I think it's vanished. Anyway, I was going to point out that the town of Goulburn held the Second Daniel Daniehy Oration last weekend, so his reputation is looking better than the reputations of most dead politicians, no matter what I say about his poems. "The ‘man in the red bandana,’ journalist, author, former rugby international and passionate republican, Peter FitzSimons will deliver the lecture. Mr FitzSimons is passionate about Australia becoming a republic, something he shares with Deniehy." Seventy dollars for a ticket got you one three-course meal "and commemorative booklet."

    1. (Quote, unquote, the Goulburn Post, July 9th, "Fitzy reflects on republican hero.")