Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Notice to Quit


to MLM

1. I ride around every where in this little place on my bicycle, which demonstrates what a little town it is and that I’m a little fit. I was telling a pastry chef at a party how Poe died –I know, it's horrible when no one knows and you have to break it to them, and I’m old, so horribly old, now that I no longer really enjoy myself, or get drunk, but instead start helping people find their glasses with a little flashlight I carry –I know. Anyway, there’s nothing much to say about the party except that before going I had written your initials on the back of my hand –no, not to hit anyone, but because I carried a message for you.

2. But I couldn’t deliver the message right away because it was a long bike ride and I was a little tipsy, what with helping everybody.

3. I had also run out of ex-girlfriends to call when you’re slightly tipsy from helping everybody at four in the morning. Well, I haven’t really run out, but most of them either call too often or not often enough to be bothered at this hour for that kind of phone call; which is to say that I’ve either called them when I was slightly tipsy from helping everybody at four in the morning too often, or not often enough.

4. What would say is: I have belatedly discovered I am the same height as Nietzsche.

5. You know what this means.

6. So I spent a good week and a half becoming infatuated with Wagner’s music so as to better break-up with Wagner.

7. Falling asleep was a real problem.

8. When you think about it, Wagner basically invented disco.

9. In Tony Palmer’s ten hour Wagner, Wagner at Bayreuth struggles, as always, with his production, with money, with his unbaptised conductor, with his unfinished festpielhaus, and most of all with his orchestra that he has stuck in a giant dungeon oven (this is a German word) beneath the stage whose violins are melting in the subterranean heat. The twilight of the gods is hard to organize. As he is wandering through the vast empty tuning darkness of the stage, a man calls him over. “An instrument to replace the orchestra,” he says. It is an accordion.

“Come here, Richter,” says Wagner “this may be the end of the world.”

10. The world can basically be divided into Wagnerites and Anti-Wagnerites, with the exception of those who are both or neither.

11. Mahler gets classed as a Wagnerite.

12. Mahler’s wife, Alma Mahler went on to date Walter Gropius, Franz Werfel and Oskar Kokoschka.

13. Her first kiss was from Gustav Klimt.

14. Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

15. Kokoschka was really obsessed with Alma. That’s her in Bride of the Wind.

16. I saw this painting as a child in my Junior Brittanica.

17. When Alma left Kokoschka, Kokoschka became so obsessed with her he had a life -sized doll made to look like her by the Munich doll maker Hermine Moos.

18. The doll does not look so good in pictures.

19. Kokoschka liked it well enough. It was said he took it to the opera.

20. Kokoschka explicitly denied this.

21. Of course, this is a man who slept with a life-sized doll.

22. I slept with a mannequin for a while.

23. The thing you learn about sleeping with a mannequin is that everybody who comes to visit you tweaks or punches the doll sadistically. You end up dressing the doll, overdressing it, really, in the most outrageous costumes.

24. All this is part of our way of compensating and revenging ourselves on the doll’s lack of animation.

25. I was just going through my virtual mail and

26. You’ve written some great letters. Like when you wrote about saying “Spasibo” to the Sbarro guy.

27. Nobody writes anymore.

28. Or –they write too much.

29. I’m a whore and I’ll reuse parts of this in my writing and get by, by dedicating it to you.

30. With your kind permission.

31. I miss you.

32. Here is your message:

33. I am going back.

34. Where?

35. To Chicago.

36. To the U of C.

37. Yes, to graduate.

38. I know.

39. I know.

40. I don’t believe it either. In fact, that’s why I have to go. I started to become suspicious myself. I started to think it was a cover story. I asked around. I thought: what do I really know about this guy?

41. I always have my acceptance speech ready. Last words aren’t important, in fact they’re usually kind of brief. The acceptance speech, by definition, has a lot of people standing around and somehow it’s really important, even if you’ve got a pretty solid grip on the award. It’s like when you or someone says “I love you” or “is it safe?” The next few seconds are going to make a difference for somebody. So in my acceptance speech I was going to acknowledge just how circuitous my path had been and thank my many kind friends and indulgent instructors –the people who had believed in me.

42. Only this time I have to add something: I also am deeply indebted to really didn’t. I decided to return because one friend noted to another friend that I was on a leave of absence. The other friend replied: when’s he gonna give up that fantasy?

43. I was so pissed off I wrote the dean right away.

44. It was Superman and Batman. Yes, super friends.

45. Superman had said as much to me, but not so directly. We talk late at night on the phone. I talk about Chicago. He talks about Krypton. Sometimes I get him to try and remember, because he’s very different when he talks about Krypton. Not like Superman, and not like Clark. A guy from another world, but who’s never been there. “My freaking super dog Krypto is more Kryptonian than I am” he said. I try to get him to talk about the spires and those spinning things, the sound of the white nights, the overture of the oldest stars. He yelled at me once: “You don’t get it, do you? It doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter if Krypton was, or if it is, or if I even could go back in time! All these freaking crystals with my Mom and Dad –it doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter if it lives in this real miniature city with real miniature Kryptonians I keep on my frickin’ desk! Krypton is just a fantasy to me! Superman is just a stupid hobby. I’m freaking Clark Kent already! I live in Metropolis! I owe forty-six thousand dollars in student loans! There’s not a single person I respect that I see every day, least of all myself. I’m cursed with a work ethic and X-ray vision. I would blow my fucking head off, but guess what –whereas every supervillian –and I mean all of them -have figured out a way to kill Superman –Nobody has the slightest clue how to kill Clark Kent!” He had just fought with the Insect Queen again. He was probably still drenched in webs, poor guy.

46. I wasn’t angry at Batman for what he said. It was the greatest favor anyone could have done me.

47. You know where you stand with Batman.

48. That Batman, he has problems.

49. Part of my problem is that I really hate going anywhere or doing anything. My fondest daydreams fill me with dread. Deep down, I even really dread going to Disney World.

50. I lost my nerve. Someday I fear I’ll lose my nerve to go to Disney World. Then what will I do?

51. The other thing that I always think of –actually, it’s something I start to feel, is that the minute anything changes, the minute I start a new relationship or travel, when I start to live, I think of what’s her name.

52. You know who I’m talking about.

53. And I can feel myself getting an alcoholic-like thirst –oh, not for drink.

54. For laughter.


and to my many friends, skeptics, belivers and agnostics alike

TURN #71: WEEK 57; WORDS: 62,826
NEXT BY 26 JULY 2006

2 comments:

Pooky said...

Wonderful!

Bill said...

Van,

I (selfishly) hope very much that this entry is a true record of your current thoughts. Does this mean an arrrival in time for the fall term? Are there any practical matters that a person on the ground can help you to contend with? If so, do not hesitate to ask. My time is rather more spoken for than in the past, but not to the extent that our more productive minded citizens would shirk from the application of certain generation X based labels.

Chicago has changed much and again not one little bit in your absence. Hyde Park is much amenified, with a sushi bar in the Reynolds Club, a Starbuck's next to the Woodlawn Tap, fashionable clothiers wedged onto 57th st and the like. The rest of the south side festers on.

I can still be reached at b i z t h e c l o w n {{at}} yahoo .com (no spaces or weird chars). Please allow me to help if I can, as it would be my pleasure.

Your ally,
biztheclown