Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Senesence setting in in blogland, at least this corner of it, but in that I resemble the duck (the drake) who's paddling fast as he can. Making slow progress on the opening of the Johnson chapter—that protracted moment in which you realize what you thought you wanted to say may not be what you wanted to say, at least not in the way you imagined. It's happened with all the other chapters and it almost doesn't bother me now. Almost. Also trying to put my study in order for the first time in almost a year—bought a new bookcase in an attempt to get sundry books, magazines, and papers up off the floor. Haven't seen the top of my desk in months. And getting ready to go to Maryland this weekend for an engagement party that Emily's dad is throwing for us. Such things can be fun, but they're stressful too.

Speaking of engagements and weddings, Aaron and Wendy's went off without a hitch: a beautiful ceremony chock-a-block with poets. Mark gifted me with a copy of My Spaceship, which I regret having been too lazy to contribute to: so far I've especially enjoyed the spaceships of Maureen Thorson (who is THE person to talk to if you're putting a themed anthology together; her contribution to Aubergine was one of my favorites, and her spaceship poem, "Astrogeometry," is in truly heroic couplets), Stacy Syzmaszek's "Aircraft Fourier" (natch), Catherine Meng's "Documentation From Initial Landing & Colonization" ("POWER ME OFF"), and William Corbett's nostalgic "When Mars Was a Candy Bar." Also freshly gifted to me from the poet herself, Theo Hummer's The Parrot Bride, very handsomely produced by Chris Rizzo. It's part of a burgeoning poetic microgenre inaugurated, so far as I know, by Laurel Snyder's Daphne and Jim: the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure poetry collection. Laurel's book turns the history of her own parents' love affair into a kind of unfinishable Mystery of Edwin Drood; Theo's is a more whimsical yet strangely mythic pastiche of a pirate story, gentle iterations of Ishmael's impulse to knock people's hats off in the street with echoes of country music and Joyce and the Gospel of John reverberating throughout. I like the epigraph, taken directly from the original corporate publisher of those books:
What happens next in the story? It all depends on the choices you make. How does the story end? Only you can find out! And the best part is that you can keep reading and rereading until you've had not one but many incredibly daring experiences!
"Incredibly daring experiences"—I like the old-fashioned, J.M. Barrie-ish whiff of that. And it's a nice trope for the reading of inclusive texts, the spirit required to forego closure. As Peter Pan said, "Death shall be an awfully big adventure."

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