2008年6月1日日曜日

ALL BODIES ARE MUTILATED / It's enough that I am collecting what I love

Inspired by the Fiction Prompt over at Koreanish, I have conducted my own water-witching expedition amongst my books and found seven passages that, as will likely inevitably happen, ended up flowing together into a strange yet cohesive meditation. In this case, one pondering violence and artistry, blood and bloodlessness, girls in trouble and men choking on self-loathing. None of this is really all that surprising. A lot of it is more beautiful than I remembered.


Even among those recognized as masters there are perceptible differences of accomplishment, though at a level so high that comparisons tend to take the form of arguments concerning the nature of beauty. Yet it may happen that one master stands out from the others by virtue of some scarcely to be defined yet immediately apparent quality, as our history demonstrates again and again; and as is the case at present, in the disquieting instance of Heinrich Graum.

For it is indeed of him I wish to speak, this troubled spirit who has risen up in our midst with his perilous and disturbing gift; and if I have seemed to hesitate, to linger over other matters, it is because the very nature of his art throws all into question and requires one to approach him obliquely, almost warily.

Steven Millhauser, “The New Automaton Theatre,” in
The Knife Thrower and Other Stories


I can’t feel anything she said. You could see the ghost of bone beneath all the dripping red. What if I ruined her finger? What if she couldn’t ever use it again? She’d break up with me, she icily informed me. I Didn’t Do It On Purpose! I was crying and she was telling me to shut up. She had no patience. She wasn’t crying. Two coyotes crossed the road and we almost ran them over. They were tan like the dry ground, they looked just like dogs, with soft bits of tongue slipping out of their mouths.

Michelle Tea, The Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption
of One Girl in America


To employ once again Nenami’s favorite metaphor, the ticket gate is like the gate of the enormous prison of society. The men, convicts serving a life sentence of penal servitude, come through the gate and, together with the invalids who have come to meet them, return home to their isolation wards. These, however, were two wives who dreaded their husbands’ release from prison. Each time the train pulled in, they felt a cold shiver of fear in their hearts. Whose husband would arrive first?

Kawabata Yasunari, “The Rainy Station,” in
Palm-of-the-Hand Stories
,
Lane Dunlop, trans.


“You know, what’s so dreadful about dying is that you are completely on your own”; and it struck me, as my automaton knees went up and down, that I simply did not know a thing about my darling’s mind and that quite possibly, behind the awful juvenile clichés, there was in her a garden and a twilight, and a palace gate—dim and adorable regions which happened to be lucidly and absolutely forbidden to me, in my polluted rags and miserable convulsions; for I often noticed that living as we did, she and I, in a world of total evil, we would become strangely embarrassed whenever I tried to discuss something she and an older friend, she and a parent, she and a real healthy sweetheart, I and Annabel, Lolita and a sublime, purified, deified Harold Haze, might have discussed—an abstract idea, a painting, stippled Hopkins or shorn Baudelaire, God or Shakespeare, anything of a genuine kind. Good will! She would mail her vulnerability in trite brashness and boredom, whereas I, using for my desperately detached comments an artificial tone of voice that set my own last teeth on edge, provoked my audience to such outbursts of rudeness as made any further conversation impossible, oh my poor, bruised child.

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

前田があたしに二重顎を寄せてきた。顔の産毛が逆立った。

—今晩、五万でどうだ。

一瞬、考えた。五万円。別れた男に買ってやったヴィトンの手帳の値段。あたし、こうやって腐ってくんだろうか。

(プリン食べた。三個も食べた。食—べた、食べた)

室井佑月、『ピス』にある短編、「ぎんの雨」

Bush’s mind: The Cardinal’s exit should have scared Bush but only served to reify this man’s conviction that enemies were living all around him. Now, these enemies included both his own family, as he had known before, and the Pope. Bush had always recognized that his sons wanted, through inheritance, to take away the money he was earning in his presidency. I, said Bush, must preserve the economy.

As he was thinking, a young novice entered the black-hung chamber.

“Tell my daughter that I want to see her at midnight, when all the light has failed.”

REPORT TONIGHT OF ANOTHER MURDER OF A YOUNG GIRL. ALL YOUNG GIRLS, PLEASE STAY AT HOME. IF YOU MUST GO OUT, KNOW THAT YOU DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK.

(Pictures of a man, not recognizable, extracting a dead girl’s eye, then cutting off her left leg.)

THE POLICE ARE CONFOUNDED…SEVEN KILLINGS IN TWO WEEKS…NO CLUES…ONE YOUNG GIRL AFTER ANOTHER…THERE’S MORE TO THIS THAN JUST A MANIAC…

ALL BODIES ARE MUTILATED

Kathy Acker, My Mother: Demonology, A Novel

With ordinary treasures, what counts is the power to get them; with relics of the past, what counts is the collector's taste and his wholehearted love of them. But even compiling a catalogue does not quite set to rest Ouyang Xiu's anxieties about the future of his collection. He consoles himself in a fabricated dialogue:
Someone mocked me saying: “If a collection is large, then it will be hard to keep intact. After being assembled for a long time, it is bound to be scattered. Why are you bothering to be so painstaking?”

I replied: “It's enough that I am collecting what I love and that I will enjoy growing old among them.”

Judith Zeitlin, Historian of the Strange: Pu Songling and the
Chinese Classical Tale

3 件のコメント:

alexanderchee.net さんのコメント...

I love being a tag over here!

thesecretingredientiswater さんのコメント...

B,
this is very cool, the divining idea. Have you checked out www.seenreading.com? She sees people with noses in books, on the TO subway. Notes the book, marches to the bookstore, picks a page, then makes a story connecting a passage from the book (e.g. Stephen King's Misery). Nice book-spotting, plus a texture of public transit that I, for one, find very intriguing...
amck

BeRightBack さんのコメント...

Anne-

I actually followed that link from your blog! Yes, very cool. It reminds me of riding the Japanese rail system and spying on people's reading habits -- difficult to do because of the prevalence of book covers! I got good at spotting Battle Royale readers, though, because the book is so thick and the fluorescent green of the inner back and front covers were a give away. It seemed surprisingly popular amongst women of the OL/young mother demographic, a fact that I haven't really been able to get my head around properly yet.