PARSing the voID: a MORbid & granular forTUNE cookIE INDEX: {Markson | Yankelevich | Wertheim [cont.] | Dettmer ET AL} leading to Rome

what does the billboard say

∑▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒░░░░ in the wake of our taxes i had a heaping mound of receipTs & whatnot to shRED | docUMENTs with our vital life DATA | i disPosed of such detritus using the same methodologies i use to make art—tearing out the imPORTant incRiminating bits & [since i don't have access to a shREDder nor a bathtub to bURN tHem] i put them in the kitchEN garBage on top of coffee gRinds then poured honeY & gLue & dYe all over them then topped it off with curried LENTils |▍||▍▍|||▍▍|| last friday we were supPosed to go to OKlahoma but it s'nowed again foiling our plans for the 2nd time running | i couldn't run either with all the sLush & ICE so went on the STATionary bike & read Boris by the Sea by Matvei Yankelevich |

Boris by the Sea by the river

Boris by the Sea by Matvei Yankelevich


[Dr. Seussian STATionary tandEM [¿bikestand?] in DUMBO]

Dr. Seuss Bike

i read it in 32 minutes on the bike going nowHere occasionally gLancing out at the snow & the bridges & the river—just downstream [or UP dePending on the tide] from Ugly Ducking Presse in Red Hook where the book was tastefully published | Boris by the Sea is about a guy named Boris who lives by the sea & thINKs about THings | not a lot of other people come into the picture though Boris thinks people need other people—specifically to check each other for ticks |

it was relaXing reading Boris by the Sea | Boris says things like he felt like a rock in a river & i felt that way reading the book—not that the river was jarring or scarring but a babbling brook that poLished off any rough EdgEs | Boris says imperFections should be perfected not corrected | i'll buy that | like a lot of writers he succumbs to that navel-gazing tRap of writing aBout writing & what to write abOUT that alREADy hasn't been written | but some novel tidbits come of it like: «language, when you are writing it, tends to choose it's own subject» which i think is true as long as you are not thinking about what you are writing & more often than not Yankelevich [i mean Boris] is thinking | confessing:

Boris sat on the floor thinking about the past. I have written a lot of things now, thought Boris, and there is still one thing I have not figured out. Boris thought about what that thing could be. Then he understood what he could not understand. I have not figured out, he said to himself, what words have to do with it.

Yankelevich [channeling Boris] definitely has the words & skills to construct but he doesn't necessarily know what to build from it yet | but they're good words & a good looking book object | i'm looking forward to the 10 walks/2 Talks book those ugly ducklings downstream just put out |

view [polarized detail]

Brooklyn Bridge Polar

Altered Book Objects

it snowed even more on Saturday | we walked across the Manhattan bridge & eventually found our way to the Museum of Art & Design | when i worked at Comedy Central my boss's office use to look right into this giant white BLOCKish structure that stands alone on the south end of Columbus Circle | i used to stare into the building when it was being gutted & reconstructed wondering what would become of it | this is what it has become:

museum of art & design

Museum of Art & Design

the motivation to go was to see the Slash: Paper Under The Knife eXhibit which is as it sounds [about people that make art from PAPER] | most of it was crap bordering more on craft than art | i was lured specifically to see some Brian Dettmer stuff but they only had one piece—something he sculpted from an entire encyclopedia set | this is something else he made from a dictionary:

Brian Dettmer

Brian Dettmer

Dettmer isn't the only one working with altered book objects these days—it seems to be beComing a GENrE into itself | Ariana Boussard-Reifel's Read Between the Lines was the most interesting example eSpecially conSidering the conTEXT that the book object [before the words were systematically cut out] was a white supremacist bible:

Ariana Boussard-Reifel: Read Between the Lines


Carole P. Kunstadt is also doing some interesting things with altered books & collage but the nazi security guards told me not to take photos so you'll have to google her for yourself | to be honest though i don't know—$15 was a lot & the permanent collection was crap | may as well go to your local crafts fair which is too bad because The [space of the] Museum of Design & Art has the poTENTial to store some cool objets | this only conFirms that tHere is less & less need to go out in PUBLic anymore | everything is on the internet |

[aNether altered book i forget who]

book architecture

+|'me'S-Pace Atomicity

i've been continUing my explorations into +|'me'S-Pace [that i talked about some in my last post] which have been quite fruitful & enlightening | in the past few years i've been thinking a lot about things on a SENTENCE leVel but lately [as you can probably tell] i've been getting hung up on WORDs & beYond that individual LETTERs eveN to the point where i can't fINish my sentences because i obSESS over the most MinUTE of construct-IONs | it's like ARChitecting a building without knowing what the building blocks are made of & everything keeps cRumbling or building a car while you're driving it | +|'me'S-Pace is helping me to UNDErstand or at least think about how words & letters function on a MOLEcular level | this continual DEconstruction & evolution—as Christine Wertheim [er chr|st|ne werthe|m] points out—is inHERent in lanGuage | constantly shifting | with each USE a word acQuires more meaning—a hiStory | the STABility of the ground we walk on is not even something we should take for granted as we've learned recently from Haiti & Chile | AFTer living only a few miles from the EPIcenter of the Loma Prieta earthquake in Santa Cruz in '89 i learned my lesson [problem solved—don't live in fault zones] |

schematic ground

this shifting in LANguage is something that happens more gradually | occasionally we get writers whose work is ground-breaking enough to cause an earthquake | a shift in LANguage inducing a shift in paradigM |

«Indeed, this is the idea at the heart of Freud's association method for analyzing unconscious structures. And much contemporary combinatorial writing that composes itself by accumulating vast banks of materials through following the associations of a small set of randomly chosen source terms (words, places, times, events, people, etc.) works by a similar process, though this is the exact inverse of Freud's method, where the purpose is to distill the small random source set from the masses accreted around it.»

it's encouraging to hear werthe|m speak in such terms | i'm often inclined to use the word COMBINATORIAL or comBINatorics eveN thoUgh it's not in the dictionary [e.g. in talking about Carlos Luis & Wendy Sorin's collaboration] | anyone that's studied mathEmatics has deep-rooted associations with «combinatorics» | reading +|'me'S-Pace is making me want to dig deeper into language philosophers like Jean-Jacques Lecercle or even further back to Lucretius |

this is also all in light of our pending move to ROME [see below] & my subSEQuent crash-course in ITALian | think about the word «TRANSLATION» | in mathEmatics a TRANSLATION imPlies a gLobal shift | it imPlies movement from one condition to another | tranSlation is not just ∑omethinge that takes pLace beTween lanGuages but WITHIN a lanGuage & lEARning another lanGuage ind∩ces a POLARealization in the cEELLs in your bRain for proCessing lanGuage |

werthe|m also talks about PACE & it's relation to S-PACE—something i struggle with in my own writing | despite my spectral AMBITions i don't write LINEarly so more often than k]Not my pacing gets skewed & i get hung up on words which th]Rows everytHinge off kilter | as i mentioned in my running post there's a lot to learn about PACE from running but that's more about pacing yourself for an enTire novel or story | on a SENTENCE or WORD or even LETTER level i'm not sure how to eStabLish pacing especially if you write to be read NOT heard | if you focus too much at any level the other levees suffer as a consequence | a writer like Gary Lutz is an impeccable sentence writer whose sentences flow perfectly & even between the sentences there is a certain pacing that is unmatched in the English language today | it doesn't even matter what he is talking about | i'll talk about David Markson further along in this post but he is someone that doesn't necessarily write great sentences but something about the way his sentences weave together the encompassing architecture is astounding | his pacing is on a paraGraph level [where the paraGraphs are tyPICAlly sentences] | werthe|m is drilling even further down in the other DIREction | she is like a particle physicist honing past words to the atomic units of LETTERs & systematically narrowing them down to a discrete set she works with like quarks & bosons & strangeness & charm or notes in a scale & if the letters are notes then their combining into words is like chords: «Atomic characters, like musical notes, only produce Sense when arranged in relational complexes, i.e. propositions.»

i showed VISual EXamples of what she's doing with these IDeas in the last post but here's another page:

Christine Wertheim

& +|'me'S-Pace is actually only the introduction to a 2nd volume [written 1st] of larger 2-volume project called «For Love Alone» | i'm looking FORward to reading more |


Walking Man

not only was reading +|'me'S-Pace shattering my perception of letters|words|sentences & causing me think about how to FORMᑎlate them into ART but watching the snow falling was inducing reconFIGurations | toWards the tail END of the so-called «snowIcane» i walked around & saw stuff in a different light |

icicles on Water street



dock & water

dock & water in DUMBO


polarized bay

under brooklyn bridge


camden plaza

snow court


chinatown rooftops

Chinatown Rooftops


DUMBO warehouse

dumbo warehouse


frozen pipe & falling snow [flashed]

frozen pipe


brooklyn bridge

gothic bridge



grove blur


intersection below our window [compare with here]



Brooklyn bridge from Water street



Manhattan Bridge

Manhattan polarized


maybe the most photographed object in the world but so what

suspension pole


Financial District as ScENE from

nyc from Brooklyn Bridge


there's beauty all around us if you stop to look |

last weekend Molly Gaudry contacted me about doing some art for something she is calling Walking Man wherein i was paired up with Andrew Borgstrom [who supplied the words] | here's a detail of what i came up with—to see the full thing you'll have to go to the exhibit or something |

Andrew Borgstrom & Derek White


This is Not a Novel

& David Markson is not dead | here's David Markson on my windowsill aMIdST it ∀LL:

David Markson This is Not a Novel

the book is now full of POSiT notes | Markson has that affect on me | the last time i read Markson i wrote 13,321 words about the experience |

i mentioned above about Markson being the master of SENTENCEs at the COMBINatoric level | by that i mean not necessarily the sentences themselves but the way they all TETHER toGether | Markson is a hiStorical hoLISTic eggregator | it's true the book is Not a Novel | essentially he just lists out historical fActs [or fictions] mostly about LITerary FIGures & ARTists | in his own words [out of the blue on page 128] this is what it is he is doing:

Nonlinear. Discontinuous. Collage-like. An assemblage.
Self-evident enough to scarcely need Writer's say-so.

Obstinately cross-referential and of cryptic interconnective syntax.
Here perhaps less than self-evident to the less than attentive.

the «Writer» is Markson himself | it is rare that he interJECTs or imPOSEs himself into the writing but when he does he refers to himself [in 3rd person] as such: Writer |

the book reads like a LOGic book but as i said the F[a|i]CT[ion]s are mostly about dead poets & artists & mostly about the details SURRounding their deaths | it's like reading the OBITuaries only it's a novel [or not] | for example: «Joseph Conrad died of a heart seizure.» & «Rodin died of pulmonary congestion.» & «Jack Kerouac died of a gastrointestinal hemorrhage from cirrhosis of the liver.» | the flu of 1919 killed  both Apollinaire & Egon Schiele | the list goes on |

it reMinded me of reading the Illiad [which i'm inspired to REREad] which Markson alludes to often | somewhere in the book he says how many people died in the Illiad but i forget what that number is | i did find where he says this though:

There is no mention of writing in the Illiad. Any and all messages are passed along verbally.
Indicating incidentally that not one of the Greek warriors, during ten years at Troy, has ever sent a letter home.

so it's not ∀LL about death | funny how he says «has» & not «had» in that last quote | this is the point |

everyone wants to be reMEMebered & everYone wants to know the details around other people's deaths | the way people die says a lot about how they live | you're gonna pay attention to the scene in the movie where Ian Curtis dies | you're gonna reMEMeber that the last reCORD he LISTened to was Iggy Pop's The Idiot & he had just watched Warner Herzog's Stroszek | i don't know how they know these things | ¿did it say this in the police rePort? | maybe The Idiot was what was on his tURNtable but that doesn't mean he LISTened to it & maybe he had rented Stroszek [though i'm not sure he would've had VHS by 1980] but no one was there to watch him watch it | only Ian Curtis knows what was going through his head in those FINal minutes |

Markson doesn't mention Ian Curtis | he goes further back | the most conTEMPorary figure he mentions is Philip Glass & how when Einstein on the Beach was at the Met Philip Glass was still driving a taxi | i saw Philip Glass once in the East Village coming out of a nice standalone Brownstone [on the corner of 2nd & 2nd if my memory serves me] so i don't think he needs to drive a taxi anymore | he hasn't died yet but he's getting up there [73] | Markson is a decade older than that which is probably why he doesn't mention Ian Curtis | i hope someone can come along & CHRONicle the younger GENErations in the way Markson has with his | each generation has it's genes & those whose representative genome has been transcribed |

this is how Markson want's to be reMEMebered i thINK is as the LITerary OBITuary tranScriber of his GENEration—the CULmination & SYNthesizer of everYthing he's eveR read—the one that comPiled & tethered it ∀LL toGether into a neat package [that is Not a Novel] |

Markson is deFINit[IV]ely a writer's writer | on page 53 he says «This is also even an autobiography, if Writer says so.» on page 64 he says «I wish to die knowing one thing more.»

half the people that die in the Not a Novel i don't know who they are but it doesn't matter | some guy named Murillo died after falling from a scaffold | that was my favorite death scene [¡besides the guy that died from his own autopsy!] | not the way it happened but that the events of his death contained words like «SCAFFOLD» | after a while you get so absorBED in the words you get detACHEd from their meaning even though they carry so much WEight | someone lived their wHole lives & one sentence on how they died is how they'll be reMEMebered |or the words on their TOMBstone |

i want to get eaten by a wild anima'L | that's how i want to go | i'm not sure what kind of anima'L—i'll reveal that closer to death | i also want to die in ROME not because i want to die in ROME but just because it has a nice ring to it | dying in a «boating accident» also sounds kind of cool but hard to make happen naturally | no one in Not a Novel dies in a boating accident that i remember though i think he mentions one person that dies in a plane crash though i can't remember who it was |

Not a Novel is not all about death | it's about how Darwin was bored by Shakespeare or how Hemingway kicked someone in the groin after losing to him in a fight | it's about how there's no deScription of Helen's beauty in the Illiad even though the war was all over her | oh i found where he says how many people died in The Illiad: 243 | [243 is not just any number] | & also that 147 separate wounds are mentioned & he put the word «separate» in italics | it's about how all the way back in 1914 Einstein said «These cool blond people make me feel uneasy.» | or how «The word ghetto originally meant foundry. Until the Jews of Venice were forced to live on an island that had been previously the site of one.» which circles back to what i was saying before about the folk etymology of words & the burDEN of conTEXT they carry |

the only trace of my father on the inturnet is this page | he lived & died in Portland OR | were he a famous literary figure Markson might say he died in a parked car with the engine running | my brother also died in a parked car but the engine wasn't running |  i avoid sitting in parked cars | i try to avoid cars in general but especially sitting in them when they are parked going nowHere | i feel about parked cars how Matt Dillon feels about hats on beds in Drugstore Cowboy |

if you skip straight to the Harper's Index than this book is for you | i know i do | too bad the fucker's won't put them online |

you might think it sounds tedious reading such a [Not] Novel but actually the effect is quite the opPOSITe | it's liBerating | with each sentence you are starting over | every sentence should be punctuated with one of those {kick-snare-roll-splash} drum sequences you hear in comedy routines after a joke | not that it's necessarily trying to be funny though it's still [tongue in cheek] hilarous at times |

a lot of novels you feel like you need to pay attention or you might miss something & then you'll get lost | This is Not a Novel is not like that | not that This is Not a Novel doesn't have mounting tension | the accumulation of Not a Novel is like watching snow falling | or pigging out on an endless supply of morbid fortune cookies without having to earn each message | it keeps building but not in a linear constrained fashion | you can take whatever you want from it—like any book it's just a CERTain accuMulation of words in the end |

a few times through the book Markson says «Eight miles of books.» | he doesn't give any conTEXT but preSUMably if you took ∀LL the worLds books & laid them sPine to sPine it'd be 8 miles long | that's a nice round number to aspire to in my daily running routine if that were true but i just googled «8 miles of books» & evidently it's a TAGline made famous by The Strand bookstore in the '70s [& now they've since upgraded their claim to «18 miles of books ...and then some» which doesn't nearly have the same ring to it being as 8 laid on it's side is inFINity & «...and then some» ruins it | personally i am whelmed [over & under] whenever i set foot into The Strand | at this point in time bookstores need to be discriminating |

if i had to guess it would take 2268 fortune cookies to enCAPSULate This is Not a Novel [189 pages with a dozen fortunes per page] | a fortune cookie has 54 calories so that'd be a lot of miles you'd have to run to burn all that off | what you find [in Not a Novel] is that a lot of people die of things after being hospitalized for something else which only reconfirms my fear of hospitals | i had to go into a hospital last week [why the last post starts with a baby photo] & it freaked me out | nobody we were visiting was sick but it was lingering in the air | i definitely don't want to die in a hospital | i avoid hospitals like i avoid parked cars |

Rome has Spoken: Melting Snow & Liquidation

on page 155 Markson says «Rome has spoken. The debate is concluded.» i don't know what he meant by it & googling now it appears it is a common saying attributed to St. Augustine regarding the papacy's authority though if that's the case ¿why isn't the Vatican has spoken? | the paraGraph before this line Markson talks about how Schoenberg fled Nazi Germany & taught at UCLA & lived off a $38 per month pension | in the paragraph/sentence after he says: «How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?» which i'm sure is some other cryptic reference & then after that he talks about how Abrose Bierce commit suicide & perhaps never even went to Mexico & after that how someone i've never heard of had hemorrhoids & after that how Edith Wharton & her husband slept in separate beds | but when he said «Rome has spoken.» it was like he was speaking directly to me | this is the beauty of This is Not a Novel |

it just happened this way on the Brooklyn Bridge

All Roads Lead to Rome

so yeah | i've been alluding to it but now it's happening | not that there's anything wrong with Brooklyn & funny that we just had our loft-warming party & now we will soon be having [another goat-less] going away party but that's usually the way shit happens | we spent 7 months in the west village in a furnished apartment living month to month waiting for this opportunity & had all but given up on it | the night after we bought furniture & moved everything into our new loft j & i were toasting over some beers at the local DUMBO bar & i said ¿you realize this means you'll be getting a call to come interview in Rome tomorrow? | & she did |

so now this bLog will soon be in Italian & aBout all things Roman | ¿what does this mean for Calamari? | with a name like Calamari you got to figure it was destiny | for now i'm all about LIsQUIDation | 2 or 3 x 0.6 mile-trips a day to the post office lugging 50+ pounds of books & waiting 45 minutes or an hour in line | commiserating with other customers like we were all in a natural disaster together | which is what the USPS is is a disaster waiting to happen | on the verge of utter collapse | yesterday some old woman literarlly collapsed in line | i thought everyone else was gonna come dominoing for me | not that Italy's postal service will be any better but the idea is that i don't want to go to ANY post office | not that i'm going digital but i might go true P.O.D. for direct sales | & let S.P.D. handle the rest | in this day & age anything can happen from anywhere [with internet connectivity] |

for the time being if you want to get books the old-fashioned way now's your chance | thanks to everyone that has taken advantage of the sale thus far | i'm quickly selling out of some of the handmade chapbooks [that i no longer have the means to reprint] | shelves are emptying to give us room to move | if you're wondering what it looks like to «SHOOT THE MOON» [wearing X-ray specs] this is what it looks like:

Calamari Press


(c) 2010 Derek White