Tuesday, May 20, 2014


    (Typed while listening to Secondhand Daylight by Magazine)

…where he remarked that I was the only person in the world to have the problem of Dalkey Archive Press again not scheduling the book they bought of yours 2 years ago ST. PATRICK'S DAY Dublin 1974--- who in the world gives a fuck about one more book not appearing?

I would rather be writing about Andrei Bitov’s forthcoming THE SYMMETRY TEACHER or WHY CAN THE DEAD DO SUCH GREAT THINGS? By Robert Bartlett or LA GRANDE by Juan Jose Saer.

From a letter written a few days ago to John O’Brien, owner and publisher of Dalkey Archive Press.::::in  a letter from February, 1982 to Helen and Mike Oldfield in London I mentioned  I was looking forward to the first week in  March when I would receive a copy of the Review of Contemporary Fiction which is to contain the first excerpts of ST. PATRICK'S DAY.

Finally, I have always valued our long personal and professional friendship and hope that Dalkey Archive will see this book into print  (as per the contract you signed on May 20, 2012)or is this the beginning of a certain death spiral for DA given the rather dire economic situation which  (possibly)does not allow for its publication?  The latter consideration grows out of having lived/worked through the deaths of two bookstores here in New York City and witnessed the numerous deaths of various publishing enterprises--- I hope I am very wrong.

        HOW I DIED as an author.  The limitations of the English language are immediately available in trying to understand the differences between an author, a writer, a novelist, a poet, a dramatist, a script writer, a journalist, a publicist, a critic
        I take it that an author is someone who has published a book and that book has been read by someone other than him or herself and the person he or she is sentimentally entangled with. 
        From now on I shall talk in my person as a he.
        An author has been paid by someone for that book or rather someone has paid to read that book.  Freud going against his Hippocratic Oath as a medical doctor insisted on being paid to listen to his patients and if they did not pay that would undermine their ability to get better. 
        It is my understanding a book is completed by the reader.  This step turns a writer a poet a novelist into an author.
        Of course in French this has all been teased out into incomprehensibility.
        My death as an author happened yesterday, 7 May 2014 in the morning when I read the 2014 catalogue for Dalkey Archive and discovered ST. PATRICK’S DAY Dublin 1974 is not scheduled for publication during that season.
        Two years ago on May 20, 2012 the publisher of Dalkey Archive, John O’Brien, and I signed a contract to publish ST. PATRICK’S DAY Dublin 1974.  The book was to be published within two years of that month. 
        Dalkey Archive published in hardcover in 1987 and 1992 two books of mine THE CORPSE DREAM OF N. PETKOV and GOING TO PATCHOGUE.  Northwestern University Press published a paperback version of THE CORPSE DREAM OF N. PETKOV in 2000 and in 2010  Dalkey Archive finally published a paperback version of GOING TO PATCHOGUE.  These books remain “in print.”
        Have I become a crank?
        The world is full of such people and when I used to go to the The 55  on Christopher Street I was aware this bar collected a large number of ex-winners and people into downward mobility. 
        Of course over the years the bar had been decorated by the appearance of such writers as David Markson and William Gaddis and the most memorable of personages, Jason Holliday  who as you might remember was  Shirley Clarke’s PORTRAIT OF JASON--- Jason would show you the newspaper clipping with the wonderful comment by his good friend, Ingmar Bergman, on that movie… "the most extraordinary film I've seen in my life.”
        And once I was in the Bleecker Street Cinema for a screening of PORTRAIT OF JASON in the late afternoon and discovered down front from where I was sitting, in the nearly empty theater, Jason was there admiring, LOOK at that handsome MAN on the screen, as he was saying out loud to himself.
        I will not go into the fate of Jason, up there living in the Y in Harlem, as he said, among the niggers or visiting   Jason when he was in Bellevue complaining, the niggers are stealing my drugs.
        No.  The temptation is there and must be resisted. 
        Of late I have been visiting an old friend the painter John Wesley who lives on Washington Square Park.  On the opposite corner many years before Marcel Duchamp came and played chess in his later years.  He knew and often talked about--- in the same language and thinking of T. S. Eliot---  that the vast majority of what is called art what is called writing would be and is  swept away, utterly no matter the intentions, the apparent immediate popularity or lack of attention and the most honest answer I have ever recorded was when I asked Julian Green what he looked forward to in his 90th year  and he replied, To be standing before God and to finally know exactly who I am, free of all the illusions, the little lies knowing I am going to Purgatory.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"when I asked Julian Green what he looked forward to in his 90th year and he replied, To be standing before God and to finally know exactly who I am, free of all the illusions, the little lies knowing I am going to Purgatory.”

Andre Gide sent a postcard to Green, which arrived after his (Gide's) death:
"Julien, there is no Purgatory, you can [edited] as much as you wish."