kaluza klein mornings
For those of us who often wake up in the morning feeling as if we have slipped into a Kaluza-Klein state, there is only one cure. It is to run, & run off-road (preferably in the rain). The smell of wet oak trees will bring you back to the world in two & a half minutes. Although, in addition, you might have to play Ringer by 4Tet as you go; or given extreme conditions, quote copiously from Denis Johnson to yourself. “He feared he might be living out some myth of seeking the goddess beyond the pale, entering the realm, being changed into one of its denizens, every footstep forward changing the shape of his soul, and every form of her dissolving as he approached.” [Resuscitation of a Hanged Man, buy it.] The only thing I still miss–& it goes through & through me on a wet morning–is running with the smell of moorland.
So thank you, S.
Meanwhile, Larry at OfBlog has a quote from Richard Morgan with which I agree very wholeheartedly, although I’d add that despite their subject matter many “mainstream” novelists, from Nemirovksy to Eggers, have less a bleak view of life than a subtle one, which tends to take in its ups & downs. A knack that many “mainstream” readers have also cultivated, using ordinary life as a model. Good luck to Richard with his arguments for a realistically human view of humanity. I’ve been making them for many years & no one in f/sf has paid the slightest attention.
That’s it! In a nutshell!
It’s not a bleak view, it’s a realistic view of the subtleties of ordinary life – that’s what counts, that’s what we as artists should explore.
And it is an exploration – we create to find out what it is we’re creating and why, not because we already know the answers but precisely because we don’t… And how boring would that be anyway, for example, to write a book about something you already understand? Fuck me rigid, I cant imagine anything more pointless (and that’s including Coldplay in this equation!)
Our desires, our insecurities, our uncertainties, our confusions, our constant and conflicting changes of mind, the fact we pretty much never see ourselves as others see us – these are what make us human, and this is how life is lived… Should that therefore not be our one and only subject?
Good art asks questions, only bad art gives us the answers.
…Jeeeeez, I better lay off the cough-medicine in future!
Kind of you, Mike – thanks.
I think you underestimate the impact of the arguments you spent so much time making, though. Attention was duly paid, and ploughed in – and the fruits of it are there hanging low for all to see in the orchards of Farmers Banks, Mieville, Robson, Hand et al. I have in fact grown the odd row of strawberries from it myself – the Altered Carbon harvest would have been a good deal thinner on the ground without fertiliser out of sacks marked The Centauri Device, Viriconium and The Ice Monkey…..
Hi Richard. Good. I’m glad. But it still needs saying–& doing, too–& it’s good to see you at work, transgressing stuff.
In a comment on my “reduced territories” post, above, Lara Pawson describes the pursuit & exploration of extreme states as a valuable locator of the boundaries of the human. Sontag et al, fiction as transgression, & transgression as having a kind of alchemical or transformative value for cultures. It took me a long time to see that the kind of humanist naturalism I admire in a writer like Bates or Nemirovsky has to be well separated from that, but that as gestures or methodologies they don’t invalidate one another. One thing they have in common, we never see enough of either in f/sf…
[…] a comment » M John Harrison feels he is beating his head against a brick wall: Good luck to Richard [Morgan] with his arguments for a realistically human view of humanity. […]