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Me and Sylvia at the Memorial (April 2009)


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Listen, this process called poetry is an exercise in imagining memory, and then having that memory snare and cherish imagination.

Breyten Breytenbach

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Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

🦋 Life is...

At Cat and Girl, Dorothy offers some Metaphors, Cheap! Plus, for only slightly more money than the metaphors, you can purchase Volume III of Cat and Girl's (and Grrl's, and Boy's, and Bad Decision Dinosaur's) insights. Order now and get your copy personalized.

(And on the webcomix tip, today's Scenes from a Multiverse is hilarious and a bit Borgesian, if you read it the right way.)

posted morning of August 31st, 2010: Respond
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Saturday, February 14th, 2009

🦋 Without beliefs we are not human

Seated at one of the pavement tables she briskly composes what is to be her statement. I am a writer, a trader in fictions, it says. I maintain beliefs only provisionally: fixed beliefs would stand in my way. I change beliefs as I change my habitation or my clothes, according to my needs. On these grounds -- professional, vocational -- I reqest exemption from a rule of which I now hear for the first time, namely that every petitioner at the gate should hold one or more beliefs.

She takes her statement back to the guardhouse. As she half expected, it is rejected.

And we are getting down, here, to the heart of the matter -- this is what I think. As Chapter 8 opens, Coetzee manages to startle me once again, changing his narrative style completely (while continuing to narrate in the same voice), veering into Kafkaesque allegory -- he acknowledges as much a few pages later but calls it "Kafka reduced and flattened to a parody."

Costello is speaking to my concerns earlier about how nobody in this novel seems to be attached to the arguments they are making; she is a writer, a vessel for words and beliefs (like Mary or Leda is a vessel for God's seed -- I'm not sure yet what to make of this parallel but it is definitely front and center). I have got the feeling that Coetzee is writing in his own voice here -- should be wary of this given the repeated cautioning against it earlier in the book -- I was wondering, when Elizabeth defends herself against the charge that she has ignored the genocide of the Tasmanians (and implicitly, that she as a white Australian is not sensitive to issues of imperialism and oppression), whether Coetzee faces similar charges as a white South African. Perhaps the student in Chapter 1 was meaning to launch an attack on these grounds?

posted morning of February 14th, 2009: Respond
➳ More posts about Elizabeth Costello

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

🦋 A vacation from context

Allow me to recommend: Dorothy Gambrell's new collection, Cat and Girl volume II. The only cartoon collection I have seen with an index. If you order quick, you can get your copy inscribed. (Note: I think to do this, you have to order direct from, not from Topatoco.)

But how is this different from reading Dorothy's archives, which I can do for free? you might ask. And you would have a point; reading the collection is a similar experience to reading the archives. (Like specifically, episodes 315 through 545.) There seem to be a couple of extra drawings that are not in the archives; turning the pages with your hands is a pleasant experience, for you paper fetishists; as is having Dorothy adorn the book with your own picture and witticism (if you hurry!). And generally it's a nice feeling to think you are supporting a young genius in her "lucky jerk" lifestyle. (Also recommended: contribute to Ms. Gambrell's Donation Derby, and she will draw a cartoon of how she spends the money.)

Funniest thing I've read this morning: Sandwiches Cheap! and its sequel. The villanelle is the most restrictive of all sandwich forms.

Also: here is a new interview with Dorothy, with links to some older ones, in COMIXtalk. I did not know about her extra-Cat and Girl cartooning efforts; she also does Very Small Array and for a while drew The New Adventures of Death. (Looks from the interview, like she considers Donation Derby and Cat and Girl to be two separate things -- I have always somehow considered the former to be a subset of the latter, I guess because they are on the same site and the styles are so closely similar.)

posted morning of June 22nd, 2008: 1 response
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Monday, April 21st, 2008

🦋 My Name in (very small) Lights

Woo-wee! Dorothy used my contribution to support her workaholic lifestyle. Can't wait for the book to be finished and available.

posted evening of April 21st, 2008: Respond

Friday, December 21st, 2007

🦋 Friday Catblogging

Ooh, I never got to do this before! -- being catless and all. My dad sends along this picture of a stray the animal control people brought into his office. (He is a consultant for the city government.)

And speaking of cats...

posted morning of December 21st, 2007: Respond

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