Thursday, October 07, 2010

Not reading

My new favorite blog is Was Jack Kerouac a Punjabi?, by Bhanu Kapil, who teaches at Naropa:
I am writing this blog post very early in the morning because my son's tooth fell out; once again, pre-elk. So the "tooth fairy" had to wait for its moment (2 a.m.) before slipping the five bucks under his pillow. Is five bucks too much? I'm so sleepy. I grew up in the same house as my parents. There was never any money, no matter how many teeth fell out. I asked my dad about it, once I'd figured out the tooth fairy was meant to be him. He said: "Nobody came to pick her up from Heathrow, so she went back to Delhi."

Actually, he said Ludhiana, but the thought of the neo-industrial North with its bright white winter-time fogs and dead bodies in the canal makes me queasy. I thought about that a long time, the idea of a person failing to fully arrive: and it is one of the few things that probably made me into a person: the idea of a person, for example, exiting the airport, then immediately, after a few gulps of light blue, freezing cold air, going back in. A cup of Nescafe from a machine, with extra milk. A country as seen through the glass. Then home, with only a description of rain to show for it, for her troubles, which were extensive, though recently have sloped off. Why not? Why shouldn't things come to an abrupt end? Just look at Mr. Elk rubbing his basket of strict attention on the dirt of the riverbank, until it sheds. Until he's no longer a random attractant. Elk porn: all the cars with Nebraska plates on the verge. Thirty-seven year old men in khaki shorts clutching their cameras close to their necks, just in case.
In other news, I haven't officially given up on Handke's "Crossing the Sierra de Gredos," but I haven't exactly been hankering to get back to it. Instead I am reading a short story -- published by itself in a chapbook, by New Directions -- by Javier Marías, "Bad Nature; or, with Elvis in Mexico." It's a lot more fun, for sure. I like reading things that are fun, who doesn't?

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