This might be another sad one today, so I apologise. It’s not a sad because of the publication in print of a non-fiction piece I wrote about writing eulogies in the excellent The Creative Truth. It’s sad for entirely another reason. We’ll come to that later.
If you have ever run a large enough website, you will be familiar with the kind of spam you get that has been through so many processes that, in many ways, it has become poetry. To that end, please enjoy this poem produced by the whirring of modern technology and the oppressive forward march of global capitalism.
Matthew Bevis held my attention for some time over here. This discussion takes us through the world of attention and distraction, and the ways in which distraction plays as a catalyst for the work that needs our attention. We know that it is moments of relaxation in which we find ourselves wandering to some of our greatest work — and that we are only the driver of our selves, we do not tend to all functions. There is an engine room somewhere where you can leave a problem when you become distracted, and someone helpful with take it away and fix it. You’ll return for it, and it will be there, but you’ll know how it can be fixed.
I like this little slice of it that I like:
More than a little. I’m writing this sentence as a distraction from a book about poetry that I’m meant to be writing, but also with a hunch that the book may get written via the distraction, that something in the book needs to get worked out — or worked through — by my not attending to it. Or perhaps the book was really always a distraction, and wherever the non-book resides is the place I’m supposed to be.
I like the idea of the non-book, a non-object that we will never get round to writing — and everything we do will be a distraction from it.
(Matthew goes on for a bit, it’s very good. Give it your time when you need a long stretch of something to be distracted from)
I spent a little time this week going back to some of those really powerful pivotal books for me. Things like The Book Of Frank by C A CONRAD, Diary of Red by Anne Carson, POND by Claire-Louise Bennett. I just dipped in, it was nice, just to wander back to spots I remember from the books and reconnect with the permission that is provided when you read something kind of transcindental.
And of course, much of it is very funny:
It’s nice to remind yourself of what is it you want to do and those you consider having let you even attempt it.
Did you know that The Paris Review has a podcast? It’s brilliant. Car Crash While Hitchhiking is rendered in such a stunning way that does not take anything away from the language. Usually the dramatising of poetry in such a way makes me a little disappointed. This was not the case.
It also, to my entire delight, contains a reading of one of the most wonderful of Sadie Steins columns from the magazine, about dancing alone.
The video is weird and… good? Worth a watch if you’re in the right frame of mind for something awful.
Thanks for reading Etch To Their Own. It’s been a funny week, but there has been good things in it. The sad thing, which I promised you at the start is this: I wrote to the hospital my father died in, to ask for his medical records. Why? I don’t know, really. But then, that’s it, I didn’t know. I wanted some facts, some figures, some record of it all. Something to hold on to regarding the way in which he died that an expert would understand. I don’t know if this makes any particular sense, but there is a desire. I got my response finally, from the kind people there that this information had been destroyed. They wait for 8 years, they they destroy the information. Anyway, if you have a question, I would say: don’t wait.