Today I finished The Crying of Lot 49. There are a few recent posts here about the themes of communication, miracle, and entropy, and of the imagery of the muted horn.
Also read today: “How to Hear a Stutter” by Adam Giannelli in the latest Kenyon Review. A few lines really stood out. I won’t say which ones, so as not to influence the way they might strike you.
Over the next few days, I’ll be posting some short pieces from years ago, many of which where published at online journals that no longer exist. I have been thinking for a long time about the compromise of communication, the give and take we enter with the things we have to say and the truth of how and when we might be heard.
I saw a quote from George Saunders today from the Paris Review and I have questions:
“To write a decent story is such a huge and unlikely accomplishment that we shouldn’t care how long it takes. How much time would you be willing to spend to create something that lasts forever?”
What constitutes forever? There are probably hundreds of thousands of decent stories that will never be published. Are they immortal? There are tens of thousands of good stories that will never grace the pages of a print journal or a beautifully crafted electronic magazine. Tens of thousands of very good stories shuffle off to the same fate. Great ones, too. Kafka died with no reason to assume the apotheosis of his work.
In the main, though, Saunders is right. It can be hard to remember because we’re all mostly dealing with the local and specific.
I read this line in Lot 49 today, which seems to get right to the point:
The illustrations were woodcuts, executed with that crude haste to see the finished product that marks the amateur.
And so there you have it.