There is a little window where I have been breathing. It is transparent, but my reflection can’t pass through it. The reflection is trapped between me and the glass; it is trapped by my looking at it. For months in Providence I kept running into my own death–I would see it in the movements of leaves at the top of a driveway, in the green hush of a courtyard where an empty table was set for three. A piece of flypaper flaps, my attention suddenly goes to it…Maybe, I decided, what I’m calling my death is the feeling of my attention going out to be with the inanimate, which my attention animates. But it is a strange kind of life looking gives to things; it is an entirely aesthetic existence–not the existence of the human body. But incompatible phenomena do exist on the same plane, and sometimes recognizing this is frightening. I still have the idea that my death is just a few paces from me, and sometimes it’s clear that it’s entirely inside of me–not like something I’ve swallowed, but like something superimposed on my body, coincident with its every movement. This feels natural now, when the days are short and dark, and a person can spend hours in shadows.
I’m very slowly reading Swann’s Way in French–it’s something to do. My plan is to read and translate a paragraph each day. To hold myself to it–by way of an imagined audience (you)–I’ll post my work here. My French is not very good (it is mostly Spanish). I haven’t figured out the verb tenses yet, so sometimes I just guess, and sometimes I try to make sense of it with the robotic help of google. Once I understand the mistakes I’m making, maybe I’ll go back to correct what I’ve done.
The seven-headed issue of Birkensnake has been released. I have a story in the issue edited by Benny Lichtner and Elan Lafontaine.
“Write about the books you love so that you understand better the nature of that love.” Okay, Dan Beachy-Quick, that’s what I’ll do. I am going to write–I have no idea how to write–reviews. I hope it will be a little like the process of translating a book I love from a language I don’t speak: I will want to go very slowly, handling each word like a strange object to be pried open gently, without wrecking the mechanism that also holds it closed.