In March, accompanying my obsession with Aira and café writing, I started writing with a pen, in longhand into notebooks. Writing unplugged? And since the temperatures are warmer I sit in my garden each morning and write while drinking a pot of coffee from a new stoneware cup I collected on a recent trip to Louisiana. I’ve felt very little need to attend to my online writing in the last few months. In fact, I’m actively neglecting my digital persona which had become too fractured and fragmented over Tumblr, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, and a myriad of online soccer-related fora. I find, however, that I do write blog posts for Diary and for my soccer spectator blog, Footnotes, in my head while I’m doing the dishes, sweeping the floor, taking out the garbage, etc. I invent little posts and commentaries and file them away in my head, never bothering to write them down let alone post them. The world’s none the worse off for that oversight.
This morning I wrote in my garden, then I read the final chapter of César Aira’s How I Became a Nun. I would have finished reading the book last night, but I fell asleep. Tired from soccer practice which was really an informal kick-around with a few boys from my team and the other coaches. My body is still sore from the NSCAA course I took over the previous weekend. A muscle in my right leg was tweaked in such a way that it made my knee hurt. Play through the pain. The exercise is essential, especially when one wants to keep fit for those years that continue to advance, piling up and weighing a person down.
I mentioned that we went to Louisiana recently. The excuse was to visit family and to witness a spectacle staged by my sister-in-law at the New Orleans Museum of Art. My true purpose was to devote vast hours of the day to writing and reading, and that I did, rereading Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds (amongst other titles) and reading episodes from the 1922 original version of Ulysses. What I was writing was my “Bloomsday Book.” So reading Ulysses each day was essential while trying to record Rasan’s and my wanderings on Sunday the sixteenth of June, twenty-thirteen. I developed a taste for the literary life and complained to Alice that I didn’t know enough smart people. Smart here being defined as “liking the same sort of things that I like.” Smart people read translated literature, watch art films, and listen to piano jazz and are capable of talking about writers like Aira, Marías, Vila-Matas, Gombrowicz, and filmmakers like Tarkovsky, Rohmer, and Marker. In truth I’m an ignoramus about most things. Like what’s going on in the world. I follow soccer closely, but politics leaves me cold.
What color is your ivory tower?
… engaging relationship with novels that may have been missed by traditional publishers.
This morning I read Alison Flood’s post on the Guardian Books Blog “Self-published novels: where to start?” And perused some of the comments. The term self-published novel has limited usefulness, especially if you generally read books that are published by not-for-profit publishers. The bulk of what I read is by authors whose publishers are not commercial entities. The novels printed by these “art house” publishers are subsidized by grants and donations of people who think that such books are important and deserve to be disseminated.
Recently, while reading Enrique Vila-Matas’ Dublinesque I wondered why there were not more English-language novelists writing books like this. Then I wondered if it was indeed true that there were comparatively few writers penning novels in English that would attract readers of Vila-Matas. Or was it just my ignorance of what is available by English-language writers that creates the impression of scarcity in this category of literature?
Given that there were “almost 250,000 books self-published last year,” I feel confident that at least a handful of them might be novels I’d like to read. But like Alison Flood, I’m not sure how to find these rare offerings. And unlike the examples given in Flood’s post, the books I would be interested in are (most assuredly) not among the top sellers on any Amazon list.