This Spanish novelist has died at 61 (my age). I see that Spanish literary facebook is lamenting her loss. I can't really say anything because, well, my opinion doesn't count for much. Later on I will comment, when the loss is not so fresh.
Thursday, November 25, 2021
Herbie and I were going to travel someplace. We were sitting in an auditorium waiting for our names to be called.
Later, a bunch of people were taking taxis up and down the street. At one point we stopped for coffee. At the coffee shop, a woman who didn't speak Spanish (we were in a Spanish speaking country) stepped behind the counter to make her own coffee at the espresso machine. I told her in English not to do this. The employees were trying to get her to stop too, and then she accidentally set herself on fire. I put out the fire with my hands as she stepped back from behind the counter. Then another very small woman tried to comfort her by hugging her and kissing her on both cheeks.
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
There was a Buddhist temple we were supposed to visit, but in an incongruous country. I had a vague memory of it and was going through a field. It suddenly loomed large, like a government building. But we weren't treated well. I noticed I only had underwear on, and the other people I was with were likewise in a state of being half-dressed. My daughter came out wearing a different dress than she had on when she entered...
I was walking around a city with people who were interviewing me for a job. We had eaten ourselves earlier; I almost ordered a steak that cost $250 but the waitress warned me not to. We noticed a new trend: restaurants in which the patrons were sitting in water up to their waists. We agreed that this was the stupidest trend in dining ever: flooded restaurants. I wondered how many cell phones had been ruined.
Earlier, one the people had warned me about the other members of the search committee. Professor X was distracted, Y was dangerous. Z, shallow, etc...
Friday, November 19, 2021
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Wednesday, November 10, 2021
I was in the backyard (of house I grew up in). There were these fantastic birds there, with bright colors. One, though, was a little man with a high-pitched voice. Then I realized it was a dream and then practice levitating these strange creatures, or using hand gestures that made them collapse to the ground.
I was being introduced in a fulsome way, in Spanish. I was the greatest critic in Spain, etc... I smiled as the audience applauded. They kept applauding. Then I looked down at the paper I was supposed to deliver and it was in English. I started to talk in Spanish, stalling. It looked like my paper was far from brilliant and I didn't know what to do...
There was a reservation at a restaurant. My father was there already, and we were to sit around a table in an uncertain way (two chairs on the ends where only one should really be). I sat down across from my father and we began to talk. I knew he was dead and hence invisible to all but me. He reproached me for missing other appointments, but I pointed out that he only appeared to me when he wanted. My brother came and was wondering why I was talking to myself. I pointed out that our dad was there. I asked my dad to make himself visible to my brother, but then he (dad) disappeared from my sight as well.
We were grilling in some kind of basement, making food for some kind of event, with B and her sisters. One put the food on the floor before grilling it. I put it on a table of some kind and then found some already cooked potato omelets and used a piece of them to clean off the kabobs that had been on the floor. I mixed the omelets into the snow that was on the basement floor to hide what I had done.
Monday, November 8, 2021
One of my Lorca scholar friends had a seven or eight pages lifted verbatim from his book, published in a book with the unimaginative title: Estudio crítico de Romancero gitano. It could be a series, like those Twayne books of yore. Do they still exist? They would be books written at a low level, for the undergraduate reader, say, and were often known for not being very good. It would have been a good idea to have a series of critical studies easy to understand but also at a high level intellectually, but I guess that isn't the way academic publishing is structured.
Sunday, November 7, 2021
Saturday, November 6, 2021
I listened to a video on Beckett, with James Gunn, an editor of his correspondence: "Hermits don't write 20,000 letters."
I'm looking at Ill Seen Ill Said again. This is my favorite S.B. There are several books on Beckett and music. I always mention this because, well, there should be as many books as you want on this, since it justifies the writing of just as many books on Lorca and music.
I was moved by a recommendation someone wrote for me, and shared with me. It seemed exaggerated. Who is this fantastic guy they are talking about? But then I figured it out. Certainly other people can be critical of me too, but they don't have access to my own great store of self-denigration. I shouldn't act as though my own flaws were visible to all once I step out the door.
Thursday, November 4, 2021
Going through old blog posts I discover things about how I used to think. It wasn't radically different from now, but I discovered I knew what certain piano voicing were in 2007, when I only started playing piano in 2015. So my preparation must have been a long one!
I was much more into poetry from the inside, craft and all that. It's not that I don't care about that, but my interest has shifted. I was into "song studies" back then, but did not sing.
I remember how I used to play conga drum outside on campus.
The indifferent wind ran through the Aeolian saw-blades of the former mill-town. Thick wet mud left only a few roads passable in the surrounding countryside. Big-boned, intrepid Anna braved narrow gravel passageways to deliver firewood and sarcastic cheer to the acne-scarred denizens of Acacia Country. They bought their guitar magazines and treatises on apophatic theology in the convenience store run by the unenigmatic Miles. Taking off her gloves, Anna answered his muttered greeting with a withering look--there was no other kind of "look" in the county, no other kind of "greeting" for that matter.
Artificial owls, an ineffective deterrent to English Sparrows, guarded garages and carports. A stranger finding himself unexpectedly in these environs might well be struck by the material and aesthetic impoverishment of the population. Garden-gnomes, rusted pickups, the aforementioned plastic owls, the aforementioned guitar magazines, seemed designed by some callous creator to present the image of a non-too-genteel indigence. Or maybe not... The marijuana farms, the artisanal distilleries, the mountain bike trails (when the mud dries out enough to make them usable), narrate a different account, for the more astute observer, attuned to the allusive repartee of those browsing the wares in Miles' establishment. Two or three weeks suffices to gain a superficial appreciation of the difficulty of the problem. It was three or four months after my own arrival, in fact, that I realized ...
I found this in old blog post. Apparently I wrote it.
DQ and Sancho are talking. DQ uses a metaphor for death: the actors in a comedy, after they are finished with play, take off their costumes and they are all equalized, with no difference any more between kings and peasants. So it is in the grave. Then Sancho says he has heard this before and says that he has a similar metaphor: in the chess game the different pieces have a different status, queens and kings, knights, or pawns. But after the game the chess pieces are just thrown into the same bag. DQ congratulates Sancho on his discretion: he is getting smarter! Then Sancho attributes his own increased discernment to his travels with DQ. The dialogue is perfectly sane; the two friends seem equally wise and adept at handling rhetorical commonplaces. So Cervantes himself is a compendium of such wisdom, expressed both through Sancho's proverbs and DQ's more erudite discourse. And, of course, many other people with whom the come into contact.
I was in some kind of literary gathering. A person there, though supposedly connected somehow to NY School poetry, had never heard of Alice Notley's Descent of Alette. I approached this person and was mock-indignant. I happened to have my copy of it in my backpack and I brought it out and began to pontificate in a kind of obnoxious way about it. I pointed out that many people didn't like the quotation marks around every phrase, but that these had a prosodic effect, etc....
Monday, November 1, 2021
I like the kind of reading (poetry) that allow me to read a bit and then ruminate for a long time. The kind of reading that involves being absorbed for hours in someone else's reality (novel) is not as attractive for me. Even novels, I will read in this more ruminative way. I picked up the second part the Quijote, read about his death. Cide Hamete addresses his own pen! Burying DQ means that there will be no apocryphal version like that of Avellenada, no more sallies. DQ is sane, "Alonso Quijano el Bueno."
A friend of ours was playing piano, a Beethoven Sonata that I myself play. In real life this friend is musician but doesn't play piano or classical music, but guitar. Then he stepped over to a set of drums and began to play a raucous solo; a cymbal came crashing down.
Earlier, I had thought to mention that my mother was buying musical instruments for all her grandchildren, but I couldn't find the proper break in the conversation to say it. She was buying a violin for my sister (who doesn't play violin), and I was thinking she needed it to compose music for strings. It doesn't make too much sense because in waking life my sister can't do much of anything any more, but she was an accomplished musician before dementia set it.