greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast) wrote,

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What Noisy Cats Are We.

Today is Bloomsday in Dublin. Since college, I've sworn that I will be present for at least one Bloomsday, but so far it's on that long list of things which I've sworn to do, but haven't yet done (swim with great white sharks, climb an active volcano, visit the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle in Paris, & etc.). I was last in Dublin in 1996, and at least I did make it to a number of Ulysses-related landmarks (frell, the whole city's a Ulysses-related landmark), including Martello Tower and the Forty Foot Pool at Sandycove. Anyway, because it is Bloomsday and I'm here in Atlanta and not there in Dublin:

frseeeeeeeefronnnng train somewhere whistling the strength those engines have in them like big giants and the water all rolling over and out of them all sides like the end of Loves old sweeeetsonnnng the poor men that have to be out all night from their wives and families in those roasting engines stifling it was today Im glad I burned the half of those old Freemans and Photo Bits leaving things like that lying about hes getting very careless...

Thank you, James Joyce.

Yesterday was, by all accounts, a sad waste of a day. I wanted to write. I wanted to write so badly. But there was only Sorrow and Anger and Frustration, instead. My writing career has been fashioned from this tripartite godhead, but yesterday sheheitthey were out for blood and pain, not words. So that's what they got. And I wrote nothing, other than that exceptionally silly journal entry. Pirates, indeed. What use would a proper pirate ever have of me? A quick fuck, maybe. Something to carve her or his name into. That's about it. I like to think having only one functional eye would put me in good stead, but, in more honest moments, I know better. So, yeah, yesterday was a bloody mess. I can hardly recall the details until late afternoon, when the heat and bright began to fade. I tried to nap, but my head was full of some urgency that made sleep impossible. I tried to clean house, but couldn't get past the simple futility that it will only get dirty again. I thought about a bath. I sat on the front porch a bit, watching big black carpenter ants.

Very late, after five thirty or so, I was able to read aloud to Spooky and so found the day's only productive and redeeming hours.

We finished reading Sonya Taaffe's (sovay) short-fiction and poetry collection, Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books, 2005). And now I shall do something which the constant reader will note that I hardly ever do. I'm going to praise the work of another living writer. But, please keep in mind, I'm no book reviewer, and I'm certainly not equal to the task of reviewing this book. Hence, this is not a book review. These are only some comments which I feel compelled to make.

This book is brilliant. It shines with the darkness and light of wonder and awe which I have spent the last fourteen years trying to put down on paper. Indeed, I have no trouble saying that these stories are one of the rare bits of fiction to wow me in the last decade. They hit me like Bradbury hits me, or Angela Carter, or Kathe Koja, Thomas Ligotti or Shirley Jackson. They revel in the power of myth, but in no unseemly way. They strain to contain the sheer force of their telling. In these pages, the reader will find a woman made of stars (or stars in the shape of a woman), a cynical unicorn and a reluctant virgin, an ophiomorphic plague, the place where lost ships go, a glimpse of Lot's nameless wife and an encounter with Adam's nameless and untouchable second wife, an accidental golem, a perfectly ordinary teenage boy perplexed at the coming loss of his nereid sister, drowned ghosts and terrible sacrifice, the singing head of Orpheus, and a hundred marvels more. If you still have a heart and have not forsaken wonder for the mythless drought which so many seem to mistake for adulthood, these stories will leave you breathless, as will Sonya Taaffe's astounding way with words. And all this from an author who is surely at least ten years my junior. I'd give my left hand for such language and the mind in back of it all. And I say none of these things lightly. If my writing or my opinion means anything at all to you, please, please buy this collection and devour it and be amazed. See, that's not a review. That's not a review at all. That's a reaction, and the best fiction should draw forth passionate reaction, not cold and unbiased critique. Buy this book. If it contained only "Constellations, Conjunctions" and "Kouros," it would be worth twice the price. Thank you, Sonya.

Ah, there was one other bright spot to yesterday. Well, early this morning, actually. An idea for a story occurred to me. Not a vignette, but a full-fledged short story. A sort of sequel to "From Cabinet 34, Drawer 6," which I hope I'll find the time to write at some point this summer.

Okay. I'm going to try to cajole the platypus into a little quality time, despite these things which distract me, despite the fact that it's Bloomsday and I should only be going to a pub somewhere to drink as much Guinness as I can afford. If you've the time, please have a look at the new eBay auctions. There are a couple of rarities in there, including a copy of Candles for Elizabeth and a copy of Waycross, as well as The Dry Salvages, Silk, The Five of Cups, and the first copy of the Italian translation of Threshold that I've put up. Bid or buy if you are so disposed. Thanks. The frelling bills just keep coming.

Postscript: One last bit about Singing Innocence and Experience. Few books have so succinctly managed to shatter all that silliness about genre and subgenre, these frettings over whether something is fantasy or slipstream or magical realism or horror or science fiction or what-the-hell-ever. This book deftly and justly renders such shoe-boxing absurd.

Second Postscript: Can anyone out there please tell me how some LJ users are adding those drad custom backgrounds to their journals? matociquala, perhaps? Or scarletboi?
Tags: bloomsday, joyce, sonya taaffe, sophie, writing

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