8/28/05 - I don't know if it's possible for me to invest any sentence with as much hope, and goodwill, and sincerity, as I can pack into the declaration at 9:30 p.m. that I'm exhausted and going to bed. It is an ordered golden statement for an ordered golden universe, in which I drift off to quick slumber, earplugs snugly nestled in my ears, and wake up to the sweet fresh morning of my 26th birthday.

It is 10:34 p.m. I am still awake, and if I do manage to sleep at all, I may well wake up tomorrow to the most horrible domestic news in four years. So:

In recent months I have written two unfinished short stories. They challenge and puzzle me; I hope I finish them. I hope I finish them before I'm 27. I hope I can sleep, I hope I finish also my novel, I hope my friends all live to be at least 100 and my family as well; I don't know why sentences that begin with "I" serve as anodyne -- that is, I don't think they do, but we proceed --

Now, Paul Celan. It was the last lines of Nachtstrahl I couldn't place outside my own skull, from the Hamburger translations:

Ihr seid leicht: ihr schlaft meinen Frühling zu Ende.
Ich bin leichter:
ich singe vor Fremden.

You all are light: you sleep my spring out./ I am lighter:/ I sing before strangers. Roughly. But then there are also the last two lines of Lob der Ferne in the Felstiner edition:

Im Quell deiner Augen
erwürgt ein Gehenkter den Strang.

per Felstiner: In the springs of your eyes/ a hanged man strangles the rope. [25] Right there on the knife-edge between hope and despair. If you haven't got a copy of either of these texts, by the way, you can simulate the effect of most of the early poems by lying down on your side while a partner kicks you in the gut until you throw up. I'd post the full texts here but they're amazingly bleak and not wholly relevant. One wouldn't draw the moral.

Well, okay. Here's Nachtstrahl, and there's the bed, much as I'd like to conclude all of this in some intellectually satisfying way. Sometimes that Just Isn't What You Get.


Am lichtesten brannte das Haar meiner Abendgeliebten:
ihr schick ich den Sarg aus dem leichtesten Holz.
Er ist wellenumwogt wie das Bett unsrer Träume in Rom;
er trägt eine weisse Perücke wie ich und sprich heiser:
er redet wie ich, wenn ich Einlass gewähre den Herzen.
Er weiss ein französisches Lied von der Liebe, das sang ich im Herbst,
als ich weilte auf Reisen in Spätland und Briefe schrieb an den Morgen.

Ein schöner Kahn ist der Sarg, geschnitzt im Gehöz der Gefühle.
Auch ich fuhr blutabwärts mit ihm, als ich jünger war als dein Aug.
Nun bist du jun wie ein toter Vogel im Märzschnee,
nun kommt er zu dir und singt sein französisches Lied.

Ihr seid leicht: ihr schlaft meinen Frühling zu Ende.
Ich bin leichter:
ich singe vor Fremden.

7/24/05 - If you like the sparkling prose here, and you want to know all about how long I can beat my head against an incomprehensible text, sigue por favor a team metameat. If you miss the site in general, have at the archives.
7/22/05 - I can't figure out why I keep getting these over-quota messages when this site is so small in terms of kilobytes -- I assume there's something going on with the server, but I can't get any information from FAQs or tech support; I'm out of ideas. This stand-in page should suffice for now, while I try to work out the details; everything is archived offsite.

I'm thinking of reworking the page again anyway. I've never been particularly comfortable having a vanity site; or rather, those comparatively rare times at which I am "comfortable" with a vanity site are usually not the best times for me to maintain one, by some peculiar inverse law, where content is concerned. I know I say this constantly, I've been saying it all my life, and it's completely Sisyphean -- granted. But I haven't been doing the same thing for that whole time, and I think there's some room to maneuver without obsessing over perfection, profundity, or actually getting the fifty thousand hits a day that would put me over quota in earnest. Modest changes only.

Thanks for reading, of course, & for the couple of recent shout-outs I've gotten: cheers to y'all.

The unsuspecting masses:


Google news
Die Zeit
more soon...

hey, who are you?

Still not sure. I write & edit for love and money; I begin a master's program, and turn 26, in late August. Further back, I haunted the Upper Midwest with my backpack and my bike, scowling at the masses & wishing I could uplift them. I'm unconvinced that the bike is really hampering war-over-oil efforts, and I certainly hope the U.S. never goes to war over the coffee supply -- I will look pretty poor then.

and who is this site's intended audience?

People who like it. Failing that, people who can forgive it. In practice, I've generally been assuming only my friends, one or two strangers, and idle ornithologists ever hit it. If you're my parents, this is not my website.

and the German at the top?

That there's from Paris, by Ingeborg Bachmann, which I suppose is one of my favorite poems -- simple, stark, tense, ambivalence squared, in four stanzas just about everything I've been trying to put in prose for the last five years. Well, no, that's exaggeration, but it feels that way sometimes. If you don't get it, don't despair -- you're probably better off in general.

reading ref. list

Comparative Literature in the Age of Multiculturalism, ed. Bernheimer
Man in the Holocene, Max Frisch
the rest of In Search of Lost Time, Marcel Proust
La literatura nazi in America, Roberto Bolaño
Death of a Discipline, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
so far half Ulysses and one very bad essay about it
Twilight of the Idols, Nietzsche ("assigned")
After Virtue, Alasdair MacIntyre
Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison, after a weird illiterate phase
Within a Budding Grove, Marcel Proust
A Whistling Woman, Babel Tower, Still Life, The Virgin in the Garden, A.S. Byatt (roman fleuve)
Orientalism, Edward Said
The Unconsoled, Kazuo Ishiguro
Shah of Shahs, Ryszard Kapuscinski
In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs, Christopher de Bellaigue
Our Votes, Our Guns, Martin Meredith
Jacob's Room, Virginia Woolf
The Waves, Virginia Woolf
Swann's Way, Marcel Proust
Seven Types of Ambiguity, Elliot Perlman. DO NOT READ THIS BOOK.
other things, here & there. These were the easy ones to get through.