I don’t want to call it a blog. I’ve been down that route before and I’m not very good at keeping up with them in any kind of regular capacity.
More or less, though, this section of the site will be my blog. An informal area where I can “talk” to you about whatever is on my mind that day. It may be literary and it may not. We’ll have to see.
May 2019 – A small update on the reread project
I was updating my site today (mostly cleanup here and there and an update of my Publications section. (Publications/acceptances have been slow going so far this year but I still had a couple of new things to add.) I figured, though, that I needed a small update on my reread project for anyone who may have read my last rambling post.
In short, it goes pretty well. I am on book number eight of 24. I was running a bit behind schedule but have played catch-up this last week. I finished the six Jonathan Carroll novels and one book of Larry Levis’ poetry so far (and am currently working on Chloe Caldwell’s Women). It’s interesting how some books come to you at the perfect time in your life, right when you need them and they impact you so intensely. But to return to them years later… Well, it feels like a lot of the magic just isn’t there. I found that with these Carroll novels. I still enjoyed them, but the nostalgic remembrance was so much better than the real thing in this case.
Now Levis… That man is a genius. I get more from his poems every time that I read them. I only wish that he were still around, still working on another book for me to get lost in.
At any rate, I forge onwards (by going backwards). Caldwell now, I think Nick Flynn next perhaps.
I thank you, whoever you are, for visiting my little corner of the internet. For reading my rambling thoughts.
January, 2019 – The reread project
When I was younger, I used to reread nearly every book that I read. Part of it was financial – I simply couldn’t afford to always buy new books when I wanted to. Part of it was school work and the ability to write papers based on those books. But part of it was how in love I was with those books. I wanted to relive those moments. I wanted Cullen to meet Danny again (Bones of the Moon). I wanted to save the Lisbon sisters (The Virgin Suicides). For some of these books it was the stories, the way they weaved their intricate plots. For others, I just wanted to be lost in their words. Jeanette Winterson, Larry Levis, Nick Flynn… They could lose me in their intricate phrasings, their delicious lines.
Somewhere along the way, though, I lost the art of the reread. Part of it was financial – I could finally afford so many of the books that I wanted. Part of it was time – Having a child very quickly eats into one’s reading time very quickly (well, aside from reading Bedtime for Bear over and over). As much as I love discovering new authors, getting lost in the lines of a new poet, I felt a bit of a tug of loss. I missed my old friends.
For a few years, I have been toying with the idea of a great reread of my favorites. And I have decided that 2019 is as good a starting place as any. I have chosen 24 of my favorite books to reread in the next 365 days (hopefully accompanied with a lot of new reading alongside of it but my focus for the year is on the reread). And I figured if I document it here on my site, I will be further forced to not lose my way, to keep on keeping on with it.
I begin with Jonathan Carroll. In the summer of 1993, I pulled the hardcover of After Silence from the rack at my local public library. When I finished it, I immediately started it over. I called my girlfriend at the time and said “You have to read this book.” (It ended up being her least favorite Jonathan Carroll book but she liked it enough to become as obsessed as I was in time…) I bought a copy the first moment that I could and I have that copy to this day.
Carroll predates the big cinematic universes of today in how he wrote fiction. In much of his early novels, familiar characters pop up from one book to another – even an occasional plotline or two continuing across books. They weren’t advertised as a shared story (they are now, years later) but the seeds were there for those who read them all and oh, I read them all.
I eventually “outgrew” Jonathan Carroll, moved away from his brand of magical realism more into the realm of metatext and stark realism for awhile but I miss his magic. And so I am beginning with him. I am starting with Bones of the Moon – the first of what is now called his “Answered Prayers sextet” (a name I don’t love but it is what it is…), the introduction to his Vienna. Cullen and Danny have just met, there is only the hint of the magic that is to come, the worlds that are coming dangerously close to one another…