I am on a journey through Ethiopia right now, reading The Sign and the Seal by Graham Hancock. In it he takes several trips to Ethiopia to try and find the Ark of the Covenant. The usual suspects show up, namely the Knights of Templar, the Masons, but also Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Their son, Menelik, takes the Ark of the Covenant back to Ethiopia, where it remains to this day, or so the legend goes. Graham Hancock is like a real life Indiana Jones, and was even inspired by Raiders of the Lost Ark, albeit with more research and documentation, and less swashbuckling and Stetson/Fedoras. Graham Hancock is on Twitter, his handle is his first and last name connected with 2 underscores!
BRB. Getting that coffee, the Ethiopian coffee from Dagny’s. The cultural hub of the Bakersfield Universe.
So, anyway, here’s the proverbial thing: I just post stuff up on my blog that is my Joycean Stream-of-Consciousness, unfiltered, and am well aware of its flaws, faults, and shortcomings. If this was an article that I was submitting to a publication, then I might edit and rewrite it. I think it was Kelly Oxford who found that she got the most reaction from this kind of unfiltered and raw $#!+ which led to a book deal. I think she would be described as a humorist.
Laura Albert had great success purging and faxing her feelings to her therapist under the guise of her alter ego JT LeRoy. On the other hand, Gilbert Gottfried got himself fired from AFLAC but they still used his voice for the duck, they just have someone copy it and they do not pay him. And so it goes.
That is a saying from Kurt Vonnegut. I think it was from Cat’s Cradle, but don’t quote me on that. I liked a lot of his books as a teenager, but recently I read that he eschewed semicolons. Screw him. I know that Kurt has a lot of fans–but let me be blunt, if not curt–I don’t want to get into a pissing contest over Vonnegut, or David Foster Wallace, or Stephen King, or Cormack McCarthy, or any other writer you may or may not have read but have formed an opinion on. I am just saying that while Vonnegut may be a very good writer, I don’t agree with his semicolon policy. I think we should keep the punctuation marks we have, and master their proper use. To arbitrarily change the subject, there was a recently proposed moratorium on the dash, and I would support it–though not a complete ban, just a more circumspect and judicious use of it. Don’t get me started on italics. Actually, I don’t really use semicolons either, but I aspire to, and I am studying a writer who does in order to emulate him.
Which brings me to Lawrence Durrell, who I am currently reading. I am in the second book of his tetralogy, The Alexandria Quartet, namely Balthazar. He uses the dash and all other punctuation marks, as well as an extensive vocabulary, with literary and pop culture allusions in English and other languages–living and dead–galore. Though some may find it off-putting, this excessively florid prose style–I rather enjoy it. I read it like poetry, closer to music than prose or rhetoric. It has a certain musical rhythm that begs and prays to be read aloud–or at least heard in the mind’s ear–uninterrupted, without pause to interpret the literal meaning, what he is actually telling you.
Shakespeare works like this for me, too. I let it wash over me like it is being performed as a play, in spite of the arcane language and some words I might not know the precise definition of. It is enjoyable to just luxuriate in the sound of it, and let it form images in your mind like searching for shapes in clouds passing overhead. O, joy! Transcendent and splendid joy!