Now we start again

     Well, it’s been a while but I’ve finally posted Chapters Nineteen and Twenty of Beaver Teeth over on the right there, for anyone interested, and I’ve revamped this blog and sort of learned how to work this new format and I’m returning to the older blog format where I can post Beaver Teeth stuff over on the right and return to more frequent postings ala a normal blog.  Not that it’ll ever be normal, because I get into these stuck areas where I don’t post for months because I’m worried about something or other.  Lately it’s been the progress of Beaver Teeth.  I’ve been working on this novel since the early Nineties of the lamented last century and there are some twenty chapters to go, but the re-writing has become more burdensome and necessary as I actually confront what I’ve got myself into.

     But, on the other hand (where is that other hand and what is it doing?) I’ve finally reached some conclusions and I’m finally moving ahead.  I’m happier, that’s for sure.  Thanks to everyone who reads this blog for the patience.

     Erin, the guy who theoretically manages this blog for me, is going to get the posts we’re still missing up if I nag him enough.  At least the old ones are back, listed as Manila, for reasons no one needs to know.

     One thing missing is the ability for anyone to post pictures directly to the comments and I’ll try  to figure this out pretty soon.

     First, we’re going camping for a week.

14 thoughts on “Now we start again

  1. I’m also sympathetic with the rewriting. I had not only started marketing my novel but had started work on another book when it became apparent that more work on the first book was needed. I’ve now completely rethought the first couple of chapters and have started the grueling process of turning those ideas into prose. I’ve been saying that writing a novel is like trying to swim from Dover to Coney Island. You spend most of your time alone and at sea. And yet I still want to write more of them.


  2. Phil:

    Another ‘day’ in our life of beginning. According to how I read in the Book of Beginning that is from where a ‘day’ (yom) manifests, from beginning. And, when you remove the middle-letter (vav: the tense-shifter, the letter of connectivity, the letter of consecutive referential meaning), with the first and last letter (yod and mem) staying the same, it is where the sea or ocean (yam) of possibilities comes from.

    Of late, I have been on a vector—almost but not quite a binge or a bender, but a re-immersion for sure, of reading writings by and about our dear Yiddish humorist from Prague. In particular, the journals and notebooks, the letters, and the shorter writings. I had mentioned “Investigations of Dog” in a recent (hopefully soon to be recovered) post and in conjunction with a quotation from Elias Canetti about what a ‘dog’ the writer is.

    There are resonances of those readings in what I have recently posted (and hopefully soon to be recovered) here. A Moebius of writing-reading: the resonances and those postings occurred before the current readings; in fact, it was the resonances that brought forth the readings.

    And there have been other resonances in these readings of late; in one of them, I ‘heard’ your story “Precipice of Angels”. Which is not to posit or suppose or even be concerned with so-called ‘influence’. Rather it is to say that the resonance brought forth another reading of your story. There is a difference of invention and control in the narrative, of ‘how the story works’, that is, I think, outstanding among your published writings.

    Your writer’s attention is otherwise, especially with Beaver Teeth, I know, as you struggle with the angel of writing and with the necessary angels of your better writing self. But may I invite any comment you care to offer on the writing of “Precipice of Angels”?

    –Same Old Panza

  3. Phil, Len:

    Two from the recent resonant readings of F.K., for your struggle with the necessary angel of re-write.

    Diary, August 20, 1911

    “Is it so difficult, and can an outsider understand that you experience a story within yourself form its beginning, from the speck in the distance, up to the approaching locomotive of steel, coal, and steam, and you don’t abandon it even then but want to be pursued by it and have time for it, and so you are pursued by it, and of your own momentum you run before it wherever it may impel and wherever you may lure it?”

    Letter to Max Brod, early April 1918

    “When we write something, we have not coughed up the moon, whose origins might then be investigated. Rather, we have moved to the moon with everything we have…The only separation that can be made, the separation from the homeland, has already taken place…Any criticism that deals in the concepts of authenticity and inauthenticity and seeks to find in the work the will and feelings of an author who isn’t present–any such criticism seems to me to make no sense and follows only from the critic’s also having lost his homeland.”

  4. Exactly right: you are not coughing up the moon. You are writing live from the moon, having moved there camper, dogs, and all. Which is what I intended to imply by invoking “Precipice of Angels”. I was thinking of it, to be specific, in the company of the story “First Sorrow” (as the Muir translation and the Michael Hoffman translation title it) or “First Distress” (as Stanley Corngold titles his translation).

  5. I thought I hocked up a small piece of the asteroid 3753 Cruithne, but it turned out to be just a popcorn husk. Always the bridesmaid.

    A few years ago, I posted a small humorous poem of mine on the Blog and stated that, after about 25 years, I finally thought it was finished. And Phil commented at the time in admiration because he had never known any piece of writing of his to be fully and finally finished. And he was right. It’s never done. In fact, I just rewrote the final stanza of that poem just within the last two weeks.

    I suspect that it’s much easier to be Dan Brown than somebody who gives a crap about what you write. I’m hoping though, in the end, that it will have been more satisfying to have been the other sort.

  6. Elias Canetti, in a speech he gave in Munich, January 1976, and which he titled “The Writer’s Profession”, in part said:

    “…I have called the Dichter [the writer] the keeper of metamorphoses: but he is a keeper in a further sense as well. In a world of achievement and specialization, a world that sees nothing but peaks, towards wchih one arries ina kind of linear focus that exerts all strength on the cold solitude of the peaks while scorning and blurting the adjacent things, the many, the real things, which do not offer themselves for any help towards the peaks–in a world that prohibits metamorphosis more and more because it hinders the overall goal of production, which heedlessly multiplies the means of its self-destruction while simultaneously attempting to stifle whatever earlier human qualities are still extant–in such a world, which one might label the most blinded of all worlds, it seems of cardinal significance that there are people who, nonetheless, still keep practicing the gift of metamorphosis.

    This, I think, would be the the true task of the Dichter. That gift, once universal, but now doomed to atrophy, has to be preserved by any means possible; and the Dichter, thanks to that gift, ought to keep the accesses between people open. He should be able to become anybody and everybody, even the smallest, most naive, the most powerless person. His desire for experiencing others from the inside should never be determined by the goals of which our normal, virtually official life consists; that desire has to be totally free of any aim at success or prestige, it has to be passion in itself, the passion of metamorphosis. It would require an ever open ear, but that would not be enough, for a majority of people today are scarcely able to speak, they express themselves in the phraseology of newspapers and public media and say the same things more and more without being the same. Only metamorphosis, in the extreme sense in which the word is used here, would make it possible to feel what a man is behind his words; the true existence of whatever there is of life could not be grasped in any other way. It is a mysterious process, its nature has scarcely been examined, and yet it is the only real approach to another human being. People have tried different ways of naming this process, they have spoken of empathy; for reasons I cannot now discuss, I prefer the more demanding word “metamorphosis.” But whatever name one uses, hardly anyone can dare to doubt that we are dealing with something real and very precious. In his never ending practice, in his compelling experience of all sorts of human beings, all, but particularly those who are paid the least attention, in the restless manner of this practice, not atrophied or paralyzed by any system–that is where I see the real profession of the Dichter.

    …If I now totally ignore what passes for success, if I even distrust it, then I do so because of a danger that everyone knows to exist in himself. The striving for success and success itself have a narrowing effect. The goal-oriented man on his way regards most things not serving the goal as ballast. He throws them out in order to be lighter, it cannot concern him that they are perhaps his best things; important for him is the point he attains, he swings himself higher from point to point and reckons in yards. The position is everything, it is determined externally, it is not he who creates it, he does not take part in its genesis. He sees it and aspires to it, and as useful and necessary as such efforts may be in many endeavors of life, they would be destructive for the Dichter…”

    The text of the complete speech may be read in the collection of Canetti essays “The Conscience of Words”.

    –Dicht Danger

  7. Ha! easy for them, they haven’t written, or looked at these quotes in over 2 months! Did Nick scoot off to Eze, again? Thats in the south of France, by Monte Carlo, where all you can get to eat is pizzas, NO CREPES! well if it’s summer again, does it raelly matter? 1976!…1918! 1911 now my head is starting to hurt….

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