1. From The Wall Street Journal: Nobody needs to buy a book,” says Jane Friedman, CEO of Open Road, which promotes its titles via EarlyBirdBooks.com. “You have to make it appealing, and one of the best ways to do that is price.”
2. A writing Life, again, as I had written such a life for the Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook of 2002, at the invitation of George Garrett, now dead, as soon I will be, no doubt, the only fate we can be sure of.
BUT IN THE MIDST OF THIS SOME BOOKS THAT SEEM TO BE ALIVE FOR ME IN THE MOMENT…. The year of books for me: Wolfgang Hilbig’s “I” published by Seagull Books but the absence of any new books of translations of Thomas Bernhard was again a lost year though Douglas Robertson at http://shirtysleeves.blogspot.com is making available unauthorized translations of TB and I have enjoyed the letters of TB to his publisher and a translation of UNGENACH and while not at the level of CORRECTION of EXTINCTION … still takes us to GARGOYLES of fond memory. In so many ways Thomas Bernhard and Louis Ferdinand Celine… make remote every contemporary American writer… none that I know of come close to these two and I include myself in this… yet the writing continues as does the reading.
I have finally discovered or renewed my acquaintance with Elemire Zolla whose THE ECLIPSE OF THE INTELLECTUAL has now been joined by THE WRITER AND THE SHAMAN A Morphology of the American Indian because to go west as I am doing this month is to always go toward the American Indian… which is probably of the higher sort of cliché…D.H. LAWRENCE… CAMILO JOSE CELA, even J.M.G. LeCLezio---all of the more famous… The American Indian is both always present and always absent…
(The phrase Native American has a slight condescending tone to it: anything that is official academic speak is patronizing in some offensive way…
For me the best novel about the American West remains Cela’s CHRIST VERSUS ARIZONA… none other comes close sadly, not even William Eastlake or LeClezio’s books who at least for me lost his way after TERRA AMATA…but I must not know what I am talking about as he did not get the Nobel Prize for TERRA AMATA but for what I thought the wrong turn…
YET, Patrick Modiano is a worthy Nobel Prize winner and we are blessed with many of his books into English: OUT OF THE DARK which moves from Paris to London in the 60s reverberated for me as he was able to describe at least in the London part of the book the world I knew there and in Dublin; the casual meetings with the rich, the famous, people in on something or other and open to meeting people like his narrator and I so identify with that narrator… it is embarrassing in some way… and my ST PATRICK’S DAY when it appears might be another proof via the descriptions of London and Dublin and dare I say New York City… a mingling among. a messing about with… now no longer possible for too many sad and obvious reasons. Here is a bit from Modiano describing one of those typical figures who moved through our lives in retrospect, dramatically, reflectively and as the real cliché word would have it: unforgettable until of course forgotten but suddenly remembered by a McGonigle or here by Modiano:
“He kept girls much younger than he was, and he put them up in apartments like the one in Chepstows (sic. There is no S) Villas. He came to see them in the afternoon, and, without undressing, with no preliminaries, ordering them to turn their back to him, he took them very quickly, as coldly and mechanically as if he was brushing his teeth. Then he would play a game of chess with them on a little chessboard he always carried with him in his black suitcase.
NOTE: my wife as a 15 year old girl was living in Chepstow Villas many years later in the Estonian Center attached in some way to the Estonian Embassy, a legacy of unrecognized conquest of Estonia by the Soviet Union following World War Two, with her mother when a call came announcing the death of her father back in the USA where he was an itinerant Lutheran minister attending to the needs one of his congregations in Baltimore to which he traveled from their home in Edison, New Jersey, twice a month…
and I too walked by that street, year after year, when I would go in January to London to visit the Oldfields who lived in Ladbroke Grove but to walk by this street and then along the Portobello Road always remembering the upstairs flat where I stayed when I had come over from Dublin to go to a ball at Clivden... though Profumo and poor Christine Keeler were but a scent in the swimming pool where I went swimming with Antonia Peck, now dead, a suicide--- and Caroline Fleming Bowder who wrote two novels and now writes plays which seem to be popular about people afflicted by terrible diseases …
2. My two books remain in print: THE CORPSE DREAM OF N. PETKOV (In paper from Northwestern University Press/hardcover from Dalkey Archive) and GOING TO PATCHOGUE (In paper and hardcover from Dalkey Archive). I am not fully sure of their actual availability from Dalkey Archive as I have had no accounting from them for many years but they remain in printed and listed on the Dalkey Archive web page.
3. In the Fall of 2016 the University of Notre Dame Press is scheduled to publish my ST. PATRICK’S DAY (another day in Dublin). Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, Julian Rios and James McCourt have supplied blurbs for the book and the book has been awarded the Notre Dame Review Prize.
I will believe this when I have the actual book in hand. A contract has been signed. The prize money has been received and the check did not bounce… ($1000). There was no actual advance for the book and it would take hundred of thousands copies sold before I would have enough money to say get a plane ticket to Dublin. This is the reality of publication in the real world outside the fantasy world of gossip columns in the pages of Vanity Fair…
I am not complaining but the sourness is evident XXXXXX xxxxxxxxxxxxxx [[[[I moved a section from here to the end of the text so as to not confuse the reader--- few as they may be---- as I do not want to dismissed as supping solely upon sour grapes]]]] xxxxxxxxxx
I am glad that Dalkey Archive has survived the severing of its ties to the University of Illinois and is now located in Texas with an office in Dublin. While no longer distributed by Columbia University Press… Dalkey Archive books are available from Amazon, though not as easily accessible in the usual books stores as their current distributor is rather obscure.
And I have continued to write and have if anyone is interested a few manuscripts that could and should be published:
JUST LIKE THAT
EMPTY AMERICAN LETTERS,
I am writing WESLEY HE IS ALMOST DEAD
DIPTYCH BEFORE DYING.
YEARS AGO back when editors read books, read magazines and newspapers I had two letters from editors after I published two stories in the VILLAGE VOICE a son’s father’s day and Goodbye W.H.Auden One of those editors Kate Medina was already a prominent editor and she continues on in publishing…
For years and years I have published hundreds of reviews in the Washington Post, New York Newsday, the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times… and have never once received a note from any editor of any sort enquiring after my so-called literary work… not even after both books were reviewed in the New York Times and Going to Patchogue was even the subject of feature stories in both the New York Times and Newsday…
A NEW SECTION
Of course there is background
WHO IS NADINE GORDIMER?
WHEN AT COLUMBIA in 1972 Nadine Gordimer taught at the School of the Arts:
"The natural writer's magic could be honed by a creative writing course, but never created. "Although deadly serious about his desire to write," she (NADINE GORDIMER) commented on student Thomas McGonigle, "he also has a an equally deadly facility." But she was delighted to be proven wrong on him when decades later, she began to notice and enjoy McGonigle's essays in the Los Angeles Times Book Review. [from NO COLD KITCHEN, A Biography of Nadine Gordimer by Ronald Suresh Roberts]
I put the above on my Facebook page and then commented: BUT IT COULD BE SAID LOOK AT THAT STUPID ASSHOLE--- PILES AND PILES OF MANUSCRIPTS THAT WILL JUST HAVE TO BE THROWN OUT WHEN HE CROAKS. DIDN'T HE SEE THE WORLD WAS CHANGING--THE LATIMES IS MOSTLY CLOSED UP AS ARE THE PUBLISHERS AND I BET NOT A SINGLE YOUNG WRITER IN BROOKLYN KNOWS WHO GORDIMER IS AS ISN'T BROOKLYN THE LAST PARADISE OF THE WRITTEN WORD BUT ONLY THE DEAD KNOW BROOKLYN.
And then to really prove my own case I decided to put up what I have been working on as a way to avoid going back to finish EMPTY AMERICAN LETTERS, what might me my last book, a journey about Bulgaria, but to avoid that I have been writing out little voyages of going to Newfoundland and Mexico City with my father in 1973 after my mother died and this lead to what was here on the blog recently OVERLOOKED OBITUARY
FINALLY: If you want to read the self-censored section please write to me and I will send it as a private communication: firstname.lastname@example.org