More specifically concerning: fiction
A Footnote (20.07.2002)
20 July 2002, around 13.39.
In what later became a notorious media event, librarian Marvin S________ was found to be breeding bookworms in the library’s basement. When questioned by authorities, Mr S________ declared: It is for the cause of science; and if I am permitted to advance the light of understanding even one inch against the dark of ignorance, my […]
19 November 2002, around 16.33.
Dear C, In response to your application ‘to be treated like a living, breathing human being for a change, and not some benumbed automaton’ we regret to inform you that all such positions are filled at the present time. This is by no means a reflection of your qualifications to be human. We have simply […]
7 December 2002, around 11.20.
In the year were children born, were wars waged, and markets opened. In the year were ships sunk, were markets falling, were deserts crossed, was oil spilt more freely than wine. In the year were plagues driven through towns and cities, were roads built, were bridges burnt; in that year, too, were pestilences common and […]
12 February 2003, around 9.27.
‘Without a doubt, this, this is the place to be!’ she cried, throwing wide her arms to embrace the magnanimous hillside replete with trees and grasses and charming little shrubs. Alphonse, somewhat bewildered, looked at her and cleared his throat. ‘Yes, well, if you say so, my dear. But I don’t think young Herbert would […]
Part the First
21 February 2003, around 8.23.
Breakfast that morning consisted of lumpy porridge, dry toast and watery tea. They sat around a large rough table, taking special care not to spill gruel onto the linens. Except for the scrape and click of silverware, they made very little noise. Young Herbert cleared his throat. Everyone stopped eating, their spoons hovering in the […]
3 March 2003, around 20.13.
As the orchestra is warming up and the actors are completing their pre-show gargling, there is doubtless time for an introduction. Just as every story needs a preface, a truly erudite narrative simply cannot do without an introduction. The introduction gives some pompous literary windbag the chance to rattle on at length about aspects of […]
Part the Second
7 March 2003, around 8.56.
Gazing through the frilly lace curtains at the filigree of frost upon the desiccated vines in the xystus, Muriel frowned slightly. Shaking her head, she turned to Rosemund and said, ‘We leave today, as we planned; they said they’d come this afternoon to fetch us. I suppose we should get out the dust-cloths and pack […]
The Nineteenth Part
11 March 2003, around 9.00.
‘Utopia can never exist, as well we know,’ she said, half-turning at the door to look at him for the last time, ‘and I will never see you again. I am sorry I cannot love you and, for your sake as well as mine, I think it best that we part now. I would not […]
Part the Fourth
19 March 2003, around 22.24.
Elspeth, half-hidden by delphiniums, peered gravely at the butter knife Richard was attempting to spirit away in the interior pocket of his much-worn jacket. ‘That’s wicked, Richard,’ she intoned. At this unexpected remonstrance, he started and the errant butter knife clattered onto the floor. The company looked up. The clock ticked in the hallway. Young […]
the Third Day
3 April 2003, around 20.49.
It was the third day, I think—it has been so long, you see, I have almost forgotten. This forgetfulness comes from habit, I suppose—days numbered to the umpteenth power ratcheting one to the next, the turning of the mechanism grown monotonous, something simply there but scarcely noticed. Not like at first, when each day seemed […]
Part the Fifth
25 April 2003, around 12.48.
Zealously denying the accusations, Richard waxed eloquent in his own defense. Words of unimaginable beauty, wit and intelligence poured forth from his rosy lips as he flaunted the erudition acquired by years of wearing navy blue jackets at elegant institutions at the expense of some unnamed patron. The company at the table listened attentively, their […]
An unusual occurence (1)
8 May 2003, around 8.02.
in which characters from a well-known gothic novel encounter difficulties.
The Fourteenth Part
12 May 2003, around 8.05.
On the edge of a distant district, down an obscure boulevard, he kept a small studio crammed with charming antiques and valuable paintings. Though he did not much like to talk about it, he was extremely talented both at the exact replication of important pieces of art and the stealthy exchange of his copies for […]
The Thirteenth Part
14 May 2003, around 8.08.
Xanthochroi, svelte from their xerophagy, were uninterested in xenagogical activities. Xeniality was by no means widespread; nor, it should be added, was geniality. Rather, the denizens wandered to and fro, up stairs and down, content to busy themselves only with themselves, giving never a thought to anything else. Thus were they deeply enraptured with their […]
The Twentieth Part
28 June 2003, around 8.42.
Philosophically speaking, one can wander up and down a great many stairs in a train station without ever finding the lavatory…
Part the Sixth
9 July 2003, around 8.46.
Heroically, Elspeth persevered, as her Aunt Maude had always encouraged her to do. (This was the same Aunt Maude who had fallen in love with a dead Russian novelist and, whenever the radio happened to play Rachmaninov, would shake her head sadly, saying with a gentle smile, ‘oh… the Russians,’ before wandering to the kitchen […]
23 November 2003, around 18.04.
… or, an introduction to the history of classical scholarship1 The imminent schollrs of the 6/10 century — including the fatuous Scaliwag who eateded Easelbus, and the imperspicuous Käseböh who collected Athenians and fatted xviii chiliads — are now seldom dead but by kabbalists.The text is believed to be corrupt, the manuscript tradition poor, and […]
25 December 2008, around 0.05.
A short story I like: They have a small bedroom. The bed is small, but they are not fat and they love each other. She sleeps with her knees neatly inside his knees and when they get up they do not get in each other’s way. She says, ‘Put on the shirt with the blue […]
hope against hope (1)
22 June 2012, around 18.24.
in which nothing much is said, especially about Hope Mirrlees.
it would do beautifully
21 July 2013, around 5.05.
The inconstant reader. … I reminded him how often we had talked about my travels on the five continents and sixteen seas, and my inability to stay very long in one place. Although I was living peacefully in Pollensa, there was not guarantee it would be permanent. —Álvaro Mutis (Triptych on Sea and Land, p. […]
the art of ‘truthiness’
21 October 2015, around 19.12.
Well, if I forked over the cover price for nonfiction, I consider it my business. While it’s great she [Vivian Gornick] owned up to her deceits, it’s hard to lend credence to any after-the-fact confession, especially one as vague or self-justifying as this one. It’s as if after lunch the deli guy quipped, ‘I put […]
notes on X
24 October 2015, around 14.07.
At the time my partner was infatuated – ‘in love’ – with X—. We had left the city two years before and were only just settling into the rhythms of life in a smaller town, with its limited pleasures and circumscribed acquaintance, when I became aware of my partner’s feelings. Or, rather, when I was […]
23 November 2020, around 11.06.
It was around the time I was reading the first or second of a series of translations of Beowulf and I mentioned it in passing in an email. My correspondent replied that they thought they should probably read more fiction, but it was hard to find the time. This response surprised, not because I thought […]