ballard. bowles. crowley. delillo. prison.

life has been a blur of work, reading, and procrastinating.

as the observant would notice, if they were diligent enough, it has been months since i’ve last written anything here. time does not have meaning here, even with the odd current events item. it’s all a slush of being at my place.

things that have pleased me since we last spoke:

  • a little J.G. Ballard never hurt anyone (except its characters). High-Rise was a disturbing work which begs to be filmed, but to which film could never do justice. it would be too campy or too unbelievable as a movie. somehow Ballard is capable of taking distressing concepts and acting them out believably with a cast of misfits.

    still, this book was not nearly as scary as The Atrocity Exhibition, which kept me compulsively flipping pages, part of me hoping no one on the bus was reading over my shoulder. Ballard’s notes are probably more interesting than the book itself, but the surreal snippets of prose are akin to nails being pounded into your head (if such a ridiculous analogy may be employed). where is the world going, and do we want to be on it when it gets there? if Ballard is a visionary of the future, i’d like to take the next off ramp. yet, as Ballard knows, we will be too caught in the headlights to escape what our own hands have created.

  • Lawrence Sutin’s bio of Aleister Crowley, Do What Thou Wilt was a lengthy and interesting read into the oft misrepresented icon of the deviants (Crowley does seem to have misrepresented himself plenty, though).

    what i primarily got from this was the complex dealings of new religious movements, their organization and foibles, and insight into the type of personality that starts their own framework for finding meaning. Crowley comes off as a battered human struggling to make sense of the world, his own way.

  • Don DeLillo’s Mao II is slipping so far into my memory shards that i can barely recollect. let me skim it for a moment… ah, right, Bill Gray and the world of the reclusive writer. good book. DeLillo knows how to throw a sentence together and pick compulsively at the sore that is western culture. i seem to recall it being not particularly uplifting around december.
  • Martin Amis is someone i’d read briefly in the past, but have been getting more into. Success was a lot of fun, snappy as hell. one of my favourite Amisisms in it is: “I want all that and I want all that. And I want all that and I want all that. And I want all that and I want all that. I don’t want what he has. But I want what he wants.”

    i chased this little book down with The Information, which I found tedious and drearily long. too many digressions. too much too much. still stylishly written, but poorly executed.

  • Paul Bowles has ran ahead of the pack and planted himself as one of my all time favourite writers. brisk, austere prose. working through the big Selected Stories, and just finished off The Sheltering Sky. delicious and vicious. filled with anxiety.
  • the most recent nonfiction, nonbiographical book to smack me good upside the head was David Cayley’s The Expanding Prison, in which he tears apart the criminal justice system and explores the major issues therein. a substantial and accessible book, bound to shock and anger you.
  • perhaps i should write here more often, becoming something more than a retrospective life in point-form.