12jul19

After basically writing and producing two seasons of television in 9 months, I am beginning the process of forcing myself to travel a little more. It’s been pointed out to me that 1) there will come a time when I can’t physically do it any more 2) I’ve basically been indoors working since I got back from book tour at the end of 2016. So I’m starting with an overnight trip to see if my joints still move. Luggage element pictured is from LOT 2046. Status is OFFLINE 24 HOURS.

LENZ: Early Cosmic Horror

….the heavens were a stupid blue eye…

Wayne Chambliss put me on to Georg Buchner’s LENZ, which I read in its entirely before sleep one night.  Because me smart.

At last it grew dark inside him, he experienced a soft, profound compassion for himself, he wept for himself, his head sank down upon his chest, he went to sleep.

It is a speculation upon the true story of Jakob Lenz, who, having become increasingly “eccentric,” is sent to a rural location by his associate Goethe.  Lenz has a complete mental break.  Buchner imagines that descent into madness.  It feels completely true, and is completely chilling.

In his breast hell was rehearsing a song of triumph.

It’s been described as the beginning of modern prose.  I was aware of Buchner, having discovered DANTON’S DEATH as a teenager, but had never read this. Wayne put me on to it because I’d been talking about cosmic horror and this, to him, had its overtones – perhaps even its original notes.  He was quite right.

Next morning he came down and told Oberlin quite calmly how in the night his mother had appeared to him: dressed in white, she had stepped from the dark churchyard wall, a red and a white rose fastened to her breast; she had sunk down into a corner and slowly the roses had overgrown her – she must surely be dead; he was quite untroubled on that account.

It’s a magnificent act of immersion in an alien mind. It has utter truth.  It has real, human horror – looking out through the eyes of a man losing his mind.  I’ve seen people describe reading it as transformative, and I can see why.

On the morning of the 8th he remained in bed. Oberlin went to see him; he lay there almost naked and was greatly excited. Oberlin wished to cover him, but Lenzcomplained bitterly, saying that all was so heavy, so very heavy! that he did not think he could walk at all, that never before had he felt the immense weight of the air.

LENZ is most readily (and, I think, cheaply) available as part of a collection: (UK) (US)

Preserved Sound

Today is kind of relentless, but I wanted to make sure I logged this:

Preserved Sound:

Preserved Sound is an independent record label based in Hebden Bridge in the north of England. Our philosophy is simple – to release limited edition, hand-assembled albums by artists we like.

Buying records is about more than just the music – although this matters very much to us too – and Preserved Sound hopes to make products that will be cherished far longer than their digital counterparts.

My kind of operation. Delighted to be able to support them. You can listen to their associated artists on their Bandcamp page.

STATUS 9jul19

Pretty much this, yeah.

Inbox holding at 13 right now. Either I kill this script today or it kills me. Or preferably someone else. Phone conference at 7pm, which is going to break my flow, and I’ve gotten Panic Status Board running on my old iPad in the stand to my left so I can keep half an eye on the time in LA. I have that ambient sense that it’s going to be A Day.

Currently listening to BLOOD TRANSMISSION by Dag Rosenqvist.

I have a copy of GEOMETRY IN THE DUST by Pierre Senges with illustrations by that lovely guy Killoffer (hung out with him in Oslo for a couple of days once, many years ago) sitting on the shelf waiting for me to be done with work.

THE SENJA RECORDINGS: Biosphere

The Senja Recordings is a collection of various outdoor recordings and studio improvisations recorded on the island of Senja, Arctic Norway, between 2015 and 2018. 

Absolutely gorgeous, especially for the deep-focus work day I have in front of me. You can stream the whole thing here. And buy it. I needed a physical copy of this.

LANNY, Max Porter: Dead Papa Toothwort Awakens

Dead Papa Toothwort exhales, relaxes, lolls inside the stile, smiles and drinks it in, his English symphony.

LANNY by Max Porter is about England, to be sure.  His awful Dead Papa Toothwort, Green Man and spirit of an English village, could probably be productively read against Rooster Byron in Jez Butterworth’s JERUSALEM, in fact. That earthly, faintly malign, strutting and lolling poisonous Englishness.

Dead Papa Toothwort has seen monks executed on this land, seen witches drowned, seen industrial slaughter of animals, seen men beat each other senseless, seen bodies abused and violated, seen people hurt their closest, harm themselves, plot and worry or panic and rage, and the same can be said of the earth. He has seen the land itself cut apart, its top layer disembowelled, stripped and re-plundered, sliced into tinier pieces by wire, hedges and law. He has seen it poisoned by chemicals. He has seen it outlive its surgeons, worshippers and attackers. It holds firm and survives the village again and again and he loves it. He wouldn’t do well in a wilderness.

Dead Papa Toothwort is the spirit of a rural village which has recently become home to Robert, a financial services worker, Jolie, an ex-actor working on her first novel, and their young son Lanny.  Who is, immediately, of the land, like a bud from Papa Toothwort.  To try and channel his wild dreamy nature, they convince a local artist — known in the village as Mad Pete, a part-retired avant-garde artist of the 20th Century — to give him lessons.  

Dead Papa Toothwort has lessons he wants to teach, too.

Glorious, he sings, as he swings his way back into the woods, flinging himself in thirty-foot arcs between telegraph poles, dressed as a barn owl with car-tyre arms…

Reviews of LANNY alight on different things, I’ve noticed.  It’s a novel of three parts.  The longest, and most enjoyable, is an exploration of spirit and art.  The language is often astonishing, and I recommend it chiefly to swim in Porter’s sentences.  The second part is harrowing.  And the final part is disturbing, and can be characterised as a trial. What do you alight on?  The woman writing a crime novel finds herself living a crime novel?  The moment where hope is punished on the stage? The way the rankness of old England reclaims the wondrous and renders it declawed and quotidian?

It’s about England.  It’s about how cities and towns and villages want to knock the art out of you.  It’s about how you stop listening to the world and start doing what the invisible voices tell you to.

Note: buy this in print, or use something other than a basic Kindle.  It does tricks with word art that an e-ink Kindle can’t render.

LANNY, Max Porter (UK) (US)

STATUS 8jul19

I like to buy locally when I can. Little Fin do very good coffee with very good delivery. I also like the story of their name:

Whilst we are based in a Seaside town, the main reason for this name is in fact our son Finley. Finley was just 8 weeks old when we set out on this caffeine fuelled adventure and is part of the reason it all happened. We thought it was only fair to give him a bit of credit in the name.

Today I am bringing an episode of unannounced thing PROJECT TRICORNER in for a landing, writing up a blurb for a comrade that I promised before I put a moratorium on blurb-writing for the year, waiting for LA to wake up, with inbox holding at 16, listening to the exquisite MOOD PAINTINGS by Poppy Nogood, and drinking more coffee.

Printernet Notebook, Non-Networked

A little while back, I said to myself:

I’ve been thinking about buying one of those mini-printers that bluetooth to your phone and let you print out little 2-inch x 3-inch Zink photos with sticky backs. So I could just take a photo of something, print it off and stick it in my notebook, with the digital original waiting to be backed off into an external drive later.

In May, what I did was buy myself a Canon Selphy printer. (UK) (US)

It’s a small desktop machine that pumps out archival quality prints. I would have liked a smaller and more portable option, but those Zink prints are basically faxes and will fade out in ten years.

You can equip the Selphy with a credit-card sized paper (which requires a different tray and different print cartridge, which is kind of bullshit, but I was mired in approximately 220 pages of screenwriting and said fuckit).  Putting photos on my website, or on IG, and backing them off into Dropbox or an external drive is fine. But I thought to myself, well, why don’t I just save some images for myself and paste them into the notebook?

This one was absolutely a note to self – a first experiment in infusing weird Mongolian vodka with organic cinnamon sticks. The date means “don’t forget about this!”

Because some things should just be for me, maybe. Or maybe leafing through old notebooks and discovering these will give me pleasure in years to come. Or, perhaps, just wanting to countermand that twitch of — I took a photo, I’ll sling to it to my private Instagram so a couple of hundred people can see/ignore it. Which is fine. But I like putting things back on my own terms, not obeying a twitch. And, I guess, it’s a sign to myself that I am off the social streams, not feeding the services the fruits of every little twitch, and specifically allowing syndication systems to release complete statements into the wild.

Category jotter is for fragments and randoms, and now I’ve connected two fragments up. Previously: Antisocial Network System Printernet