Under Cover(s) of Night

I’ve discussed reading with a wide net, and dragooning oneself through works which antagonize patience or pleasure, but I haven’t talked yet about, “the others.”

These are the neutral, gray shades of party-goers whom fill the gaps between strangers and had-your-first-beer-with‘s, or got-hopelessly-twisted-up-in-hammock-together-until-okay-this-isn’t-funny-anymore-and-think-I-definitely-just-heard-something-snarling-or-rattling-from-those-feijoa-trees. You haven’t a handful of words to share with these in-betweens, but you’re not weary either: they were invited by your drunk and/or bite-mark-scarred friend, so they must be alright, right?

Enter, in my case, The Crimson Petal and the White. Enter The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle; enter short-story collections generally, whose cologne – F o r m – is way too often worn with intent on the outside, on the clothes themselves, and when so smacks more of gawking manual for undergrads, of portfolio for publishers or some Trust, than of really having something to say.

Faber and Murakami do, they do, though they write a bit like neither they nor their readers have lifespans of only seven or eight decades on average, the first two in psychological, emotional, and intellectual embryo, the last two possibly reverting back. Or Faber & Co. write, in other words, like the party’s never gonna end. Which isn’t unuseful or meritless, and can act as an antibody when existential thoughts turn self-referentially pathological. But one must be cognizant of the kind of company one provides too, the need to interact and not just monologue all night.

I get it, Murakami, Toru Okada’s pretty much really simply just an ordinary, normal guy, a clean slate, nothing special. Hit me with this hammer again. Have him say one more time how clear his schedule, have him throw on another pot of coffee or spaghetti. I’m an atheist to this God of Monotony for whom he is slave, and only more noodles and naps in afternoon can sway me.

And I get it, Michel. Sex is primally unpalatable, gooey, coarse, and otherwise icky at times despite how wonderful and rapturous, and yes it’s euphemized, as is prostitution, and it’s true we don’t consider enough or ever the realities of this work for the worker in the before and after and not just the during.

Luckily for these authors and more like them, but also for me, I have fields more patience in the hour or two before bed when the world is dark and silent and for lack of scheduled obligations, and my mind likewise, all considered. The springs I lay my spine across might as well line a mattress in a solitary cabin somewhere, high in a tree, even, a tree cabin. At this hour or altitude, it is because there is little time to waist that there is little time to waist. Spaghetti on, my friend. Fuck like there’s no tomorrow or yesterday.

The wasp of Day doesn’t defend this hour against reading as if its nest from a child’s lacrosse stick; the “white dot of consciousness” doesn’t “jump about like a wild flea from one thing to the next”, as Rushdie so perfectly describes in Midnight’s Children my brain these past two alcohol-free months of a planned twelve.

I do think we should write, all of us, what we want – and write for us before anyone else, even if not before any thing else. I’m writing this, aren’t I? And you’ve probably located in me too a taste for diatribe and the palaverous. It’s true: when I’m writing I often have one tire on the shoulder, coughing up dust.

I’m well aware my own quirks and how they might frustrate you, and I’m working on it, just not too hard; I’m trying to go a little easier on myself these days, if I can.

I’m hoping you can treat me with the politeness you would a stranger at a party of a mutual friend, and you have some wine in hand this late at night, this bookend on this side of the sun. Let’s relinquish ourselves, as stars blink across the black kitchen glass, to being benevolent by proximity, to not getting hung up on ennui, this habitual clustering which would approach intolerable if we hadn’t any wine. Well, if you hadn’t, anyway. I’m still looking for a means to kill the flea, or slow him, at least, – to wind down the bird to a more liberal toddle.

Hey, you wouldn’t happen to have any weed…?