cold blooded old times
Thursday December 21st 2006, 7:52 am
Filed under: Miscellaneous, Truly Tags:

Am I happier when I’m miserable? At least one friend thinks I’m funnier and more interesting when I’m bitter – it’s not that much of a stretch. It’s that time of year again (usually a year-round past time, but not this year) where I contemplate The Past. Daaaaamn I have been, am, happy, in a good place, in love. Just a tiny corner wondering whether I’ve lost my edge, whether in fact I do need to be miserable to do my best work. Bah. Probably not. It’s just that time of year.

luck or skill
Sunday December 10th 2006, 10:37 pm
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Somebody called me “unworldly” yesterday. (She’s related to me by blood, and only slightly older. Names have been changed to poke savage fun at the guilty.) Let’s call her “Second Rate”, for the sake of convenience. Anyway, a while ago we had the whole series of accusations suggesting I somehow have led a charmed life. I’ve worked my fricking ass off, and suffered poverty, indignation, humiliation, and the horror of the grind beyond anything Second Rate has ever had to deal with. Lucky my ass, I’ve made my life, taken my life, but it has never been handed to me. Regrets that you didn’t “get the chance” to live abroad? Bollocks. Just ask the federal government I owe them, in exchange for MAKING that chance. I gave up on reframing or recontextualizing that one for her, sputter though I might. Suddenly, yesterday out of the blue I get “unworldly.” Self-involved, selfish, self-obsessed, manipulative, faux-naif, greedy, uses people, bad track record with women – sure. I’m fine with those. But unworldly? From a woman who believes her comfortable upper middle class existence is, what, worldly? AH. That’s it. “Unworldly” must be “irresponsible for not subscribing wholly to my petit bourgeoisie beliefs and aspirations”! I feel so much better now. Fucking blood, always gets in the way of clean and clear analyses.

Friday December 08th 2006, 7:21 am
Filed under: Miscellaneous, Truly Tags:

Expensive bottle of red wine, obtained at half-price: check. Last class of first quarter of first job taught, applause received: check. Bitch-slapping a two-volume critically acclaimed Marxist critic-cum-poet who was once a quasi idol and watched me nail it at the dinner table tonight as the resident badass at a dinner celebrating his reading this evening: check check check.

Hard to explain, and yet not. A man I met a decade ago, when I was but knee-high to a grasshopper, or some such bullshit. Young, shall we say. Him, perhaps a decade and a half older, friends with my then (older) girlfriend’s best friend’s husband. (There have been subsequent divorces, lesbianism, Buddhist monasteries, and failed tenure cases, but that, as they say, is another story.) He was Poet. He still is, of course, as well as a pseudonymous Village Voice critic occasionally. I remember, vividly, the term “sui generis” coming up over lunch, bandied about in the midst of some hardcore Hegel/Marxist literary theory, and whilst I was just barely keeping up with the latter, not actually knowing what the former meant. Which, in hindsight, as I was studying Latin at the time, is inexcusable. I put it in the category of embarassments that began in 1st grade when I pronounced “para-dig-em” as it clearly should be pronounced.

Anyhow, he came, he saw, he read. He’s hot shit, delightfully smart, and all in all a pleasure to be around. Plus, a decade? Fuckin’ ‘ell, how did that happen. But his fearsome intelligence, and command of literary and political theory, has been inspirational slash irritational for quite a while now. So, to command the attention of a dinner table of 9 at the end of the meal, however briefly, while expounding on old shit at the British Library and new non-developments in English law, at a table occupied by 1 painter, 2 English professors (plus myself – Boo ya), and 3 poet/writers (including a New Yorker editor! soon to be ex, but dayamn) and whoever the hell the others were….well….this is precisely what my memory has the poet doing. What I wanted to be doing. Never quite an idol in the unadulterated sense, as, thank god, I met him too late for that sort of worship to happen. But can I just say, world of me and maybe 2 or 3, that I feel GOOOOOOOOOD. Not because what I was saying was that noticeably brilliant. But because I can be the guy who works on old shit who has smart shit to say about now shit. I can be a specialist and a generalist. And yes, I’m an academic, but I always have aspired to being something much more significant, and yet much more irrelevant: a true Intellectual. (and young and charismatic whilst at it.) OK, enough ego. Happy fucking Thursday, people. It has been a good day. Any of you who have had brain surgery recently, or are facing exploratory diagnostic surgery anytime soon, I love you lots and lots and send rainbows in your general direction. Plus New York readers who read the New Yorker. I love you. Off to watch pre-downloaded crap telly. Don’t tell the poet.