” I take the train to Barcelona. The train enters a tunnel. A baby coughs very lightly, an older man clears his throat. The tunnel, that’s where we all go, light or no light no one is to know. My amphibian throat gurgles, will the language spill out of me, it is a great accomplishment. The people to the right of me are joyously trilling their tongues, dancing their hands. I intertwine my fingers, rub the knuckles of my right hand into the palm of the left, elevate feet, try not to slouch into the seat. My right hand, usually a refrigerator, is warming up nicely, middle age but not only, you have to keep the blood circulating correctly. Out the window, a blur of trees and small mountains, good foliage.”
My story, “cosy,” just published at The Art of Everyone. Part of my novel in progress The Dreamlife of Honey.
Back in the day, when the days were longer, and then shorter, much like today but faster, I began to write poetry under cover of full moon during my Mormon mission. Bloating/unbloating. This was the beginning of my behind-the-scenes spirituality. Now part of my behind-the-scenes novel-in-progress, The Dreamlife of Honey. The second in my nomadic surrealist trilogy.
I’ve sunk myself deep into Norwegian and French, modern and postmodern, and my writing has grown a new tendril. The best is yet to come. I’ve moved away from words in music, the best is yet to come. I’ve grown naive and not-naive, the best is yet to come. I’ve sucked the marrow and plucked the daisies, the best is yet to come. I’ve baked the memories, stirred the sugar bombs, opened the hatch, de-wormed the cat, the best is yet to come. I’ve materialized my life with my language, the best is yet to come. Welcome to my hermit kingdom, the best is yet to come. What is the dreamlife of language, the best is yet to come.
Boiling two eggs, a simple procedure. The perfect boiled eggs, somewhere in the heavens.
I stole boxing gloves from K-Mart, it is not in the story. I masturbated to MiGs, it is not in the story. I scraped the edges of my sundae, it is not in the story. I read over my head in the library, it is not in the story. I was briefly in love with Duran Duran, it is not in the story. I identified, sometimes, with Boy George, it is not in the story. I identified, often, with E.T., it is not in the story. I beat myself with a stick, it is not in the story. My first smell in America was chlorine, it is not in the story. My father was a sly fisherman, it is not in the story. My mother was an argonaut, it is not in the story. I hid behind the wall, it is not in the story. I licked the creams, it is not in the story. I ate, sometimes, the tightly packed sausage, it is not in the story. I drank, often, the fruit of the vines, it is not in the story. I fear sterility, it is not in the story. I fear practice makes perfect, it is not in the story. I fear cold toes, it is not in the story. I fear hot coals, it is not in the story. I fear living too far, it is not in the story. I fear living too close, it is not in the story. In modern literature, I identify with the French (Michaux, Chevillard, Beckett), it is not in the story. In modern music the minimalist, it is not in the story. In modern clothing the mostly earthly, it is not in the story. The sentence is a gnasher, in the story. The words are primordial, in the story. The sounds are lubricants, in the story. An anti-novel, in the story. An anti-poetry, in the story. Me-not-me, in the story. A mismatch of everything, in the story.
Here is a reading of the story, just published by Lighthouse magazine in the U.K. Part of my ongoing novel in progress, The Dreamlife of Honey.
I have finished the second novel of my nomadic surrealist trilogy. The first, Never Mind the Beasts, has the wide lens. The next two the zoom. First person genderless.
The second novel, Hermit Kingdom, is about a language teacher from Poland who migrates to Spain for a new life. Away from the expectations, history and complicated past of their home country, they try to live a simple life, walking in nature and eating healthy, scraping by teaching English as a foreign language, and trying to make sense of existence. Suddenly there is a new pandemic and they are stuck inside, alone and not alone. What is the white monkey? Why are they learning secret handshakes through a hole in a white blanket? Who are you really? Some people are told to find someone to complete themselves and also become somebody. Some people are told to find somebody but not become somebody. Some people are told to become somebody but not to find somebody. I am somebody first and can find anybody later, but when do you know when you are somebody enough to find anybody. What is the complete equation?
The third novel, still in progress, is called The Dreamlife of Honey. It is a shamanistic self help book, with many travels. It is full of bonobos.
And alas, the trilogy is coming into focus. But I am not sure if it will stop there. I am writing a cosmos.
The days are moving quickly, and also slowly, it is hard to remember where we started. I am watching the news less and less, and trying to stay healthy in mind as well as body. We are now allowed out, in specific time slots, and it is good to walk out there and exercise the body, that is helping. For many weeks we were stuck inside except for groceries every few days, and it is good to climb out of that phase of our existence.
I’ve been writing quarantine reports (or lockdown reports) from Spain for The Growler. They are still ongoing in my newest novel in progress, The Dreamlife of Honey. It is nice to look back and see where we were and where we are now, which is the same day, over and over, but with some variations.
“On the rooftops people are walking in circles, keeping their social distance, walking around and around for exercise, a little fresh air from their cages, on one rooftop someone is bench pressing, walking and walking in circles, on another roof an athlete is sprinting around the chimneys, empty buses swish past the bus stops, more and more people peeping from their balconies, we are still here, they are saying without speaking, we are still here.”
My final installment of the quarantine reports from Spain, now over at The Growler.
I am super happy to have a travelogue from the third novel of my trilogy in progress, The Dreamlife of Honey, in the new issue of Bath Magg. It was written three months before the virus hit, but it has a virus feel to it. It is partly influencedby Calvino’s Invisible Cities.