Thursday, October 7, 2010

every juxtaposition kinda works

Watching the monarch hang.

Jiří Barta,  Messiaen / Dvorak / Rachmaninov / Strauss / Webern / Kopelent: Reflections 
Stephen Elliott, The Adderall Diaries (iPhone version)
Pierre Boulez, Webern: Complete Works Op. 1-31 

Personal appearance announcement:  I am reading at Word Storm, where a number of writers and I will deliver 100 1-minute pieces. Friday night 7-10 pm at the Old Governor's House across from the LSU Union. Free. Y'all come!

OK, this Jiří Barta album of cello showpieces is beyond lovely. Egregiously romantic but with just piano and cello, embarrassingly intimate. The Internet has "Jiří Barta" primarily as an Prague animator/filmmaker of great acclaim (see below) so I assume the cellist is not the same guy, unless he's really good at honing his hobbies. I played the music over the muted film and it worked in that way that every juxtaposition kinda works, like we fill in whatever gaps exist with the mortar of our ego, or alternately, task our super-ego to direct the path of the id's crane and wrecking ball when we need it to not work.

A different Jiří Barta, Labyrinth of Darkness

That wrecking ball has been swinging through my mind as I read The Adderall Diaries. Stephen Elliott's style it to throw everything at the page and then arrange them so that the marble falls through the ramps and holes to get to the bottom, like a pachinko machine, and he is really good at ramp placement. I postulate it's his natural manner, for his Daily Rumpus emails are constructed that way, a haphazard-looking scaffold that surprisingly supports us both once I resolve to climb aboard. There is a pronounced kid-who's-seen-some-shit titrated humor (and super-dry humor and also at times lack of humor altogether) throughout his writing that I find off-putting, but I've known people who've seen some shit (I mean, we all have, but you know what I mean) and an inventory of damage assessment seemingly casts its shadow over irony every time with them.  My defense mechanism is humor; his is not having a defense mechanism.

I recognize it is largely unfair of me to psychoanalyze Mr. Elliott from my armchair here, and really it's the Mr. Elliott that comes out in the book and the emails I'm talking about, not the author, but still. The fact that he is perceived to squish thin the lines between the Misters Elliot on both sides of the page makes him all the more compelling to read. ANYWAYS, the important part is the book and it's a great book: complicated, gripping, nervous, electrically charged. More when I reach the terminus.

Taking this day out with Webern.

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