#3 wherein ray bradbuy, ben harper, and freud smoke a doobie (or a are-you-just-happy-to-see-me)

October 5, 2011
“It was a pleasure to burn.” I’m reminded of a Ben Harper concert I attended at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, and the delicious, sweet aroma wafting over the crowd like incense when “Burn One Down” was played. This is a personal idiosyncrasy. Surely. What’s not idiosyncratic, however, is the abrupt use of “It” without a noun antecedent. A world of possibility opens up; the mind races to narrow down the prospects. Despite the ambiguity, we are given one blessed certainty: pleasure. Now who can’t relate to that? Lastly, I can’t resist a fast & loose Freudian riff, purely associative. Everyone knows about the id / ego / super ego business. What you might not know is that these terms are poor translations. In the original, Freud gives us das Es / das Ich / das Über Ich. A more faithful translation yields it / I / over I. So there you have it. What? “It.” And the purpose of “It”  in Freudian theory is, yep, you guessed right, the blind pursuit of pleasure.

a nasty brew of heavily steeped oleander

August 8, 2011

In the long ago, I once stuck a poor hapless, thoughtless yet generously embosomed broad with the check on my one and only blind date after she gushed about the poetry of White Oleander. Disgusted, I excused myself from the table and made as if for the bathroom, and left. My only regret, I forgot an Andes mint. My behavior was inexcusable, I know. But sometimes art requires a teleological suspension of the ethical. That’s why my conscience is pure and unruffled as a white rose pedal. Oleander is the most poorly written novel I’ve ever read—and I’ve read 10,162 books. What makes it so bad? Well, that’s ridiculously easy to answer. Oleander seized my throat like a pair of sour pliers and juiced me like a lemon; the ugliness of its prose made me sob like raw razors; and Fitch’s storytelling drifted over the valley of literary art like a vast headache and made people dumb with pain. If you mock my figures of speech — and you damn well better have — I kiss you flush on the mouth. Oleander is overgrown with them. (Incidentally, I yanked this goatgrass and knapweed from its rank fields.) Read this book if you want to expose yourself to today’s literary allergens. If it doesn’t bolster your appreciation for good writing by way of dreadful example, nothing will. You may as well read Fitch backwards and rave about the lyrical dreams of a foster child in search of beauty.

monday and saturday reign supreme

July 18, 2011

Suppose you’re a book blogger keenly interested in reaching a wide audience and building a readership of sorts. Ends up there’s a best time to post that gem you’ve been polishing. A best time to post it, and a best time to receive (and hence respond to) comments. Curious? Take a peek below. Fortunately, Mr. Interpolations abandoned the quest for a wide audience a long time ago. That’s why he digs Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the hope that Saturdays will turn up a few thoughtful remarks, every now and then. So. Is this graphic consistent with your experience? Will it change your posting habits? Or do you blog for strictly personal reasons, having little or nothing to do with the roving eyes of others? Do tell. This enquiring mind wants to know. Come Saturday, that is.

 (Infographic courtesy of KISSmetrics.)