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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Novel News

Whew. The writing continues, non stop, breaking all form and routine. So I will ramble about a bit while I have the chance, before I head back to the dreamworld.

On March 11, 1889, Chekhov writes, "I am writing a novel! I keep writing and writing and I dont' see the end of it all."
On April 9, 1889, he writes, "The novel, after making remarkable progress is now stranded, waiting for the tide."
On February 12, 1891, he writes, My nove is progressing....There is no movement in my novel, and that frightens me. I am afraid it will be difficult to read to the middle, to say nothing of reading to the end. Anyway I shall finish it."

Uh, just who was it who said writing is easy?

I've read a good deal lately, Three books on the 18th Century, one on personalities, two on pleasure gardens -- but I eat that stuff up. I picked up Raymond Chandlers, Farewell My Lovely, and finally couldn't heave it far enough. Kenneth Goldsmith's Soliloquy was in there too -- a thick book of everything he said during one week in NYC. Funny passage when his wife wants him to shut off the tape recorder because they are having sex and he says another episode was already taped a couple days before. There were more books.

However, I feel like mentioning only one book but let me back up. The Globe and Mail ran a review of the Griffin Prize winning book, Nerve Squall by Sylvia Legris. (great title isn't it.) The reviewer evidently is a poet who prefers logical sentences that are more prose in minimal form, everything concrete and grounded. He hated it. But the few passages I read were astounding. I ran right out and picked up a copy. You want a book of poems that will pop your retinas and knock your brain silly? This is the one. Migranes, lightening, optics, thoughts. I haven't been so utterly thrilled by language and poetry in a while. Start with Nerve Storms, it's a masterpiece. (I'll forgive the cover but otherwise skip the terrible drawings that only detract from the images created by words. I'm actually seriously debating covering them all with white paint.) I just can't say enough positive things about this book.

Congrats to the Calgary Herald for their book fair. I know I found a few terrific bargains that will sustain my reading! Summer is icumen in. Kudos if you know that poem.