AS I WROTE EARLIER TODAY ON FACEBOOK: TODAY, ST. PATRICK'S DAY another day in Dublin is officially published by the University of Notre Dame Press. 50 years ago today, on the Feast of the Assumption as my sister Mary Ann McGonigle reminded me, I broke my knee during the Peace Corps training at Occidental College to go to Turkey to teach English. My life really changed back then. Later today on the blog abcofreading.blogspot.com I will try to tease out the connections between today then and now shadowed as today is by knowing that the woman who went to Turkey a few weeks from today 50 years ago and who was probably the best volunteer in the project is dying in a hospice uptown from where I am sitting on East First Street in Manhattan.
As I was writing these lines I felt very important, very much in the present moment and filled with whatever it is that allows me to sum up the world in a few sentences with my own individual experiences at the center of that place.
The reality is quite different as beyond a few people no one in the billions of inhabitants are aware of these two moments.
The publication of ST. PATRICK’S DAY another day in Dublin has gone un-mentioned in the usual organs of review: Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal and Kirkus. This is not unusual as the book has been published by a university press and as such is a bit away from the something or other… the press has done what it can: copies have been sent to a list of suggested possible reviewers, been sent to the usual newspapers but it is likely these copies are on its way to The Strand Book Store or an equivalent where it will be sold to that shop for few pennies on the dollar…
An August 15 book is simply old news to the newspapers and as such has a SELL BY stamp as prominent as the A in The Scarlet Letter. The remaining two weeks of August will confirm my supposition or…
It is probably no accident that these lines are beginning to echo the man in Krapp’s Last Tape.
Additionally at the moment there has been no definite news from any of the individuals or magazines as to what may result… but according to the publicity person three small journals have expressed some interest in seeing copies of the book but now most of these journals have large digital adjunct to the printed version and I am agnostic as to what it means to be published digitally… being “dated” as I am: it is print I crave… but how old-fashion of me! A relic
OF COURSE I am echoing the Pascalian fearful silences of the empty spaces. But more immediately I am echoing the narrator who is often confused with the author in George Garett’s POISON PEN where in talking about the job of a creative writing professor is to prepare students for bad reviews but for what is more likely: the Silence.
However in this writing I am now in the afternoon and in a few hours I will be on the playing field opposite the swimming pool at Occidental College. The Turkish languge classes have finished for the day …maybe there was a lecture on Turkish history …it is possible I looked at a page in the ARTUAD ANTHOLOGY which City Lights had published and which I bought at the suggestion of Jim Kari who had heard about it as UCLA and who lived down the hall in the dorm and came from Hermosa Beach …duplicating that moment I opened the book and these lines: THERE’S AN ANGUISH There’s an acid and turbid anguish---powerful as a knife---whose quartering is as heavy as earth….(my eye skipped down to the bottom of the page): It consumes only what belongs to it, it is born of if its own asphyxiation.
I don’t think I would have looked again at LIFE AGAINST DEATH…remember that? by Norman O. Brown… an attempt against the living death then being sold in America at the moment and of course it was very very popular and now forgotten… the Artaud lead me many years later to David Rattray who had translated some of the Artaud texts and who helped a piece of my writing FORGET THE FUTURE into BOMB… http://bombmagazine.org/article/1375/an-ending.
Of course for the sake of “my” book I hope this credit will allow BOMB to note ST PATRICK’S DAY another day in Dublin arrival though I will believe it when I see it. Mention of Artaud and how long ago was their publishing: an ancient, I do believe!
TO CUT TO… I am sitting on the edge of the pool with my leg in the water… I must have fainted for a moment when someone stepped on my foot to block my passing the ball on the soccer field and now it hurts and hurts and that night it will swell up and a day later there will be surgery and recovery in Northern Wisconsin where my parents are living in exile from New York… at the end of October I will go to Dublin and in the spring I will visit those from the Peace Corps who are now teaching in Istanbul, Ankara, Bafra, Eskisehir and I will look for them again in the fall after having been in Bulgaria though some will have been thrown out Turkey for drugs and I will go back to Sofia and marry Lilia and eventually she and I will return to Dublin where I will continues to see the surgeon about my knee now mostly healed .and have to go over to London, to the American airbase at Ruislip to get a physical for the draft. A Scottish boy is also waiting for his physical and hoping he will not be rejected, as he so wants to leave Scotland…
The Peace Corps volunteer I saw in Eskisehir is now dying in a hospice where the pain is controlled, mostly, as she told me last.
If I remember correctly, Artaud went mad on one of his voyages to/from Mexico and was taken off the ship to be institutionalized in Ireland for a while.
I thought of Artaud years later when in Rodez to take the train for Paris after visiting Hannah Green and John Wesley in Conques… but all of that is for another time …now there is the waiting for the silence