Tuesday, March 18, 2008

WAITING TO HEAR with consoling readings from ROBERT PINGET and LOUIS MARIN


"But who stuffed our heads full of these images? The people we saw in offices? Our reading matter? It must be our reading matter. If I had my life to live over again, as they say, I'd use all that reading matter to wipe myself with. I rather think I said in one of my exposes that every time I caught people reading I had them shot. It was a fantasy, it wasn't serious, but it said exactly what it meant to say. In short, even though those previous compositions weren't any use to me, I notice that I refer to them."
---from SOMEONE by Robert Pinget. Translated by Barbara Wright.

---second preface---

I hoped to transcribe the strange murmuring inside my head, inside your head, as you or I look at paintings, the "noise" that conveys a piece of a poem, a fragment of a story, a chunk from an article, an incomplete reference, the echo of a conversation, or a sudden memory. I wanted to capture the noise that exists only to soften the pain that is an integral part of the pleasure (or thrill /jouissance/) of mutely seeing forms and colors gathered on a canvas."
---from TO DESTROY PAINTING by Louis Marin. Translated by Mette Hjort. (Marin (1931-92) was director of studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris.


By now a publisher has had a manuscript of mine for two days. I have published two books, THE CORPSE DREAM OF N. PETKOV and GOING TO PATCHOGUE. Both books were reviewed across the country and I must be one of the few writers who has no complaints about the New York Times Book Review. There were also long articles in both Newsday and in the actual New York Times about GOING TO PATCHOGUE. Dalkey Archive only did the books in hardcover and they remain in print with them. Northwestern University Press did THE CORPSE DREAM OF N. PETKOV in paperback and that is available from them.

Of course there have been other books but as Kerouac said once about his own books, they are probably to be published in heaven: ST. PATRICK'S DAY, Dublin 1974, FORGET THE FUTURE, TRAVELS WITH A DAUGHTER, SATURDAY, SUNDAY and MONDAY, EMPTY AMERICAN LETTERS...and there is one I dare not even mention to myself anymore, but of course I know the title, LOSS OF DIGNITY: if you know the book LAST DIARIES by Leo Tolstoy you will have some idea as to the content and form of this book.

I have given the title THE BEGINNING AND AN END or JUST LIKE THAT or THE END OF A BEGINNING... to the book that is now off being read... I found myself describing the book in the cover letter and I mentioned the name Charles Manson... but I had the heart beaten moment when I discovered in the blurb for a recent success from this publisher also a mention of Charles Manson. This publisher does many European authors and a few American writers. This manuscript is not isolated in the United states...


Barbara Probst Solomon published the opening and the concluding pages to JUST LIKE THAT in her journal THE READING ROOM. No pages from the second part of the manuscript have been published. In this book I have been writing about what I take is now the beginning and the end of the so-called 60s... or at least the voices are from that moment or moments.


I decided to mention all of this because I wanted to write this before I heard whether this manuscript will make the transition into being a bound book.

At the moment it is beyond any suggestion of success or failure. If the manuscript is rejected anything I might say about the book takes on the burden of sour grapes.

I wanted to affirm a deeply held belief of mine: if a manuscript that has been requested is not immediately read by the person asking to see it... and I mean immediately--- a week to 10 days--- the manuscript's chance has vanished. The manuscript goes on the pile of to do and only awaits the order to be returned.

It has been my experience with Dalkey Archive and Northwestern University Press that I did hear within the week of the arrival of the manuscript at the publisher's desk. At Northwestern there was the ritual of an outside reader but the editor selected the reader who would approve the book.


I have written a book that I have not read before. There are enough books, really, in the world but as I found with THE CORPSE DREAM OF N. PETKOV and GOING TO PATCHOGUE a little room was found for them and they were read and I do believe this new little book will find a tiny corner unless the publisher retreats into the usual... and I will invite you my readers to suggest which excuse will be made by this person if it is to be returned.


Of course as Anna said, you would not know what to do if... and I tried to suggest to her that...

So we shall see.

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