In New York City, in any city, there are a lot of spaces in which to communicate a particular message. A billboard on the road to the Queensborough Bridge; a sticker posted on a ‘walk’ sign; a face in chalk, or a hundred faces, as is sometimes to be found in Union Square, for reasons I have yet to discover. What is interesting is when some of these images are removed from their locales, their meanings can alter. These, for example:
An Informative sign that lends the subway an air of existential dread.
Contra, this one cries out an affirmation -"Live, Disregard the previous sign!"
And if I told you what this was for, would you believe me? It's on a newspaper booth in East Midtown, and is one in a series of handwritten mysteries, all promoting the wonders of the New York Lottery.
I suppose my thoughtful point was to do with the choice and placement of phrases, identifiers of culture and class, and indeed the choice and placement of ‘foreign’ characters (by dint of national or chronological origin) in The Book of the Alter. The English, homesick Aida as consciously foreign, the Lowery/Coronada family as unfamiliar territory to me etc., and something to do with how I worry about the validity and success (at this early stage) of my efforts.
Really, it’s an excuse to post some amusing pictures I took.
Filed under New York, Theory
I have received a rejection for Kilea from an agent whose represented the author of a book I admired. Ah, momentary pause for sadness and reflection.
I had sent her a partial, but it did not live up to my cover letter premise for her. I understand, and like every other author, try to keep my head up when someone does not care for Kilea. I don’t love or even like every book I read. I doubt there is anyone who loves everything they read.
Although I believe it would be a fun life for them, bursting at the seams with epiphanies:
“Wow, this treatise on hammer pressure in relation to depth of nail implantation is soooo intriguing!”
“Did you know this cereal has iron and foliates in it? Iron! I had no idea…”
But people have preferences and while I envy the joy of the person above, totally indiscriminate love of words in arrangement verges on the deviant.
Imagine them wandering the library of Babel forever in ecstasy…
I have been in bed, ill with what I’m calling a subway sickness, for a few days. Trying to write is difficult when sick – a fever tends to make it hard to judge between good and awful, and clothheadedness tends to make sure the latter is kicked into high production.
Still, it did give me time to think. Obsess. Have weird dreams.
Now I have a sense that Tick – the man who lives in the Warrne – might be something other than as he appears. Cruel, yes, and handsome and smothering, but not of mundane mould I tried to stuff him into. I think there is something subterranean about his voice. Echoey and stilted, but that might be part of him.
It’s hard to grasp, this character. The most interesting inhabitants of books I have read always contain parts to them that are never quite able to be pinned down for dissection. Their motivations, or appearance, or colouring of mind cannot be completely understood because there is more there than we are given by the author. More of them exists outside of realistic human experience – formed by the author, but not quite given explicitly- and to illuminate that area in which they live would be to eliminate it.
Yes, so I don’t quite believe the author is dead. I don’t know if other authors would like to believe that of themselves. We are in charge, at least at the early stages. When we give up the imaginative impulse – that little silver kite – to the reader, some of us still keep a grip on a second, invisible string.
Of course, the author does not have to be alive, to retain control of these elements. A strange thought that one. Blame it on the fever.