Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Announcing A Theory of 2666.

I was talking with a couple kids about snap decisions on the way back from St. Peter's yesterday (a monument that took over 120 years to build) and I ended up dispensing sage advice to the effect of "sometimes, the only way you're going to do something is to say you're doing something gigantic and then start doing it before you can stop and think better of it."

In that vein, I'm announcing A Theory of 2666, publishing every Wednesday. As I mentioned before, I brought Robert Bolano's 2666 with me on the trip, but I also brought the classic of modern philosophy and ubiquitous judicial citation, A Theory of Justice by John Rawls. I got about 90 pages through A Theory of Justice before putting it down for something that would fit more easily into a satchel and I never got back around to picking it up again. I'm intimidated by 2666 (It is supposedly a rejuvenation of the Latin American literary genre and I've read an entire one book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez), as I've mentioned before and used that as an excuse to let it sit on the shelf or on the dresser. No longer.

I'm reading both, starting now. Well, I'm switching between the two, this week it's 2666, next week it's A Theory of Justice.

I'm only 35 pages into 2666, and already, there's a love triangle that must collapse at the worst possible time, a strange and reclusive author with no pictures that inspired four main characters, one of those characters, as a reader, I expect to die. But, what's most surprising to me is a sentence, starting four lines from the top of page 18 that ends near the bottom on page 22. Now, in terms of width and height, 2666 is 8x5, which seems normal to me.

5 pages without a fucking period or, more crucially, a paragraph break. First things first: If you can construct a sentence like that and have it work, as it does in 2666, my hat's off to you. You're unreal at what you do. But as a reader on a bus or between classes, it's a display of virtuosity that is infuriating. Well, aggravating. As a person that plays with words, I'm humbled and immediately aware I am watching a person who has truly mastered the written word. Comparatively, I play with blocks. Legos, if I'm lucky. As a person that has to read it and does so in a world where I have to negotiate other human beings and the bookmark slips, I pray, feverishly, for a paragraph break or period or a chink in the armor of the paragraph to save my place.

There is no such solace. Then again, I'm reading 2666, not some trashy Chandler ripoff. The message I take from 2666 is that I need to up my reading game. If not that, then, at least understand this is the terrain I am getting myself into now. I am getting into books that more is expected of me. Oh! I like 2666. I mean, it's challenging reading, but I enjoy the time I spend with it. How did I not get to that?

I can get to that next week! Two weeks! See you Friday.

Today's song is Far's Mother Mary, as covered by Thursday at Hellfest, with the aid of Far's singer. One of the things I have a weak spot for at shows is male camaraderie and this video is saturated with it, a five minute piece of bro-ing out onstage overflowing with emotion. Yes, this is what I love and hardly often get. The song is about how we're gonna die and the only way we're gonna be remembered is for what we do, in what media we leave behind, which has a thematic simliarity to 2666, as there are four main characters chasing a reclusive author, whom they only know about through media.

I would say I planned it, but I didn't.

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