May 12, 2010

Hunger - it's what's for dinner!

I was unable to write. Everything around bothered me and distracted me; everything I saw obsessed me. If only one good thought would rush in, then words would come!

The setting sun bounced off the deep blue horizon, like a medicine ball dropped on a Doberman Pinscher from a great height, then rolling into a fireplace and immolating itself like a Phoenix turned to ash. (Paul) I went to a friend's house. His name was Stan. He gave me food, for my writing. (John) Stan is a very controlling host. I wonder what his next book will be. Seems like he enjoys the senses (Blindness, Hunger), so what's next? (unsigned) Yes, Stan is testing us. But we cannot be fooled! We want our food!!! (Tom J.) F&*# this! (Andrew)

They try to divert me, with stories of voyeuristic children's toys and tales of home construction, men riding high on giant wooden beams suspended from cranes, like Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove. Young people are triumphing in lacrosse and water polo, going to new high schools and new colleges. They have hopes and futures to look forward to. I have a blog entry.

"One roast beef!" I said. I started eating; gradually I became more and more ravenous and swallowed whole pieces without chewing them. I tore at the meat like a cannibal. Chips, guacamole, salsa, salad, potatoes. How can such foods fuel my masterpiece? Bread, yes bread is my friend, but so much good wine and beer makes my writing insane, or annoying (but not funny).

Thoughts of last night's adventure flooded over me, made me almost delirious. I remember that they talked of the book. (That twit translator George Egerton! That thoughtless writer-of-other-people's-forewords Paul Auster! I will not waste my spit on them.) It was like a vein opening, one word followed the other, arranged themselves in right order, created situations; scene piled on scene, actions and conversations welled up. Every word I set down came from somewhere else:



  • "It gave me a better perspective on homeless people and the psychosis of hunger." (Dean)




  • "It reminds us that homeless people have a lot going on inside." (George)




  • "It was a stream of consciousness, but of a bipolar schizo. His writing was more intelligent than his actions. I like to see characters change and grow, to be affected by something." (Larry)




  • "It was a boring, irritating, honest character study of someone going crazy. Did he imagine the woman? Who would be attracted to him?" (Paul)




  • "My ADD and his psychosis didn't match. I kept falling asleep after reading only 2 pages; it was brutal. All acute angles, with no rhyme or reason." (John)




  • "The book is amazing in a historical context, portraying the amorphous life of the subconscious. But no one progressed - was there a method to his madness or was he just a whack job? It reminded me of the fish in the Citi Card commercial." (Doug)
    (at 0:20 mark in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xvUkHqEDX4 )




  • "I struggled to like it at first, but it grew on me. Why was he honest with the girl? He had a compulsion to be outdoors and on the outskirts." (Andrew)




  • "I tried to hate it, but I ended up loving it. It's funnier than crap, because the guy is such a moron." (Dan)




  • "I skipped ahead 50 pages, and the same things were still happening." (Dean)




  • "This book is an important byway of literature, but really hard to read, like Crime and Punishment, but without all the happy, fun parts. What would great fictional characters be like if they were medicated?" (Tom A.)




  • "It was almost comical, but reading it was such torture that reaching the ending came as a relief. The author keeps putting him in "no, don't do that" situations, but he's completely self-destructive, and he keeps trying to drag in God. You can see how this book is related to Kafka, Camus and Nietzsche." (Stan)




  • "It was OK." (Tom J.)




  • They say the protagonist denied himself opportunities, but maybe deprivation is exactly what he needed to bring out the worst in his writing. It has worked for me.

    It was the best piece I had ever read in my life. I became giddy with contentment, gladness swelled up in me, I felt myself to be magnificent. Then I stopped, my head was empty, I couldn't do any more. It was time to end the whole business now! I began staring with eyes wide open at these final words, at this unfinished page. At the end, I couldn't understand what was going on, I had no thoughts at all.

    2 comments:

    andrew said...

    Tom,
    As usual, you've outdone your derivative self. Hamsun's protagonist has found his 21st century doppelganger! Did you write this outside last night, in the cold, without light and sustenance, using an old pencil and retching between paragraphs? If so, it was certainly worth it.

    Tom A. said...

    No, I figured I'd leave the retching to you guys, after you read it. I'm not real keen on the flowery bullet points, but that seems to be out of my control. By the way, with a few limited transitional exceptions, anything that sounds like Hamsun actually is Hamsun, lifted verbatim from the text, which had plenty of material about the agony of writing.