My Year of Rest and Relaxation
“To write with sensibility requires more than tears and moonlight.”
“To imagine the world so greatly magnified that particles of light look like 24-lb cannonballs.”
–Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (double agenting literary techniques)
Satanic lemur clutching the New Yorker by its gloss (Dorothy Parker wept), lynx empress yolked into self-abusing pupils spread and read, mounted up monochromatic mid-state-sponsored slap on her giggling husband’s rear, predator au pair, talons draped fan-diaper deep, bottomless confines thereupon, all John Hinckley invitations and witchy riffs, indecipherably fertile, smart, talented, and popular at the same time (true fluke), Ottessa Moshfegh has poised (been poised) stupendous on the winning side of the Asiatic vs. Attic rundown re: the trifled sentence, escaping, likeably, as less the product they’ve sold her to sell us, more the chucker of some choice blood on the tribal balancing beam. Get baked inside your preference, art or no, because she’ll castigate either, depending on the cowhearted tilt of her (every) interviewer (babes in her paw, like any-and-everyone surely is – lucky us). Netting haters because she looks neat (it’s okay, poetry allows you to cheat on your reflection: the poet has nothing to lose, and especially nothing to gain (don’t tell her readership she’s relatively fancy: you can put the blood code in and see language beneath her accessibility), but she hates verse, rest assured; The Secret won her who she truly is (ironically or not) – hey, think she really thinks McGlue is her best book, or is that just interviewee guilt (where do I click to be chemically castrated because her hair seems soft? – what trepans her ilk into such Lorelei talents, Enheduanna to Jen George, and why is the priggish figment (this condescending, upstart religion of intrinsic parity) concerning their suppression, now or when, so status quo of late?), well, poetry backs the cause of no one’s kind, and another reason everyone hates it is: if you display transcendence outside of a fucking packet they will kill you over and over again to the minutest suggestion of that spectacle (is the photography involved her sole transcendence?), possessing quality on stilts, sponsored, regardless, by the strabismical public eye: more lady than lady, a culture hex no crotch can block, Moshfegh’s not another impudent egg-bait art-tourist flake (Elizabeth Mikesch comes to grind: literate by proxy, fair-weather literate, social Zelig, training just to train, dipping out once dad’s check mark arrives), no. Something about her is alone. Permanently. It makes me never want to meet her in the best way.
The new book is top shelf Fegh. But lurk large, higher quality derangements have been ordained (and are on layaway), considering that even I, no social butterfly, am made incessantly aware, for some reason, about each half of the big apple’s shiniest twin throats in lit (hope she’s a nice boss). Moshfegh and her himbo, Luke Goebel, sidestepped the usual feuilleton perukes, a power couple cause célèbre (prepare the apologies if they get busted uttering anything not astoundingly progressive) with a corporate amount of balls, maybe more, legs and fingers crossed (poor guy, cuckolded by a zillion buck magazine – this hot, itinerate surfer with a tale or two, part hippy-Steinbeck, part Wallace-headed aw shuckster, eternally hung (by grace of god) – he’ll be fine, unless they fail to die in each other’s arms, because who would not, in a circumstance of loss (which must be any circumstance orbiting hers), miss one’s mistress forever? Take heed, heart-eyed lads: massive B-12 dosages helped doff my youthful leash. Follow this link to a new supplement site I’m trying (since the arts wouldn’t have me)).
Only the internet could make you bask in the potential of a lit bag of shit on your porch. As stupid dogmas go, Atticists (my new favorite slur) run the word. These lionized types own language (a raw, honest heart held in place through much deliberation – or paucity of skill) one homogenized bit of lingual clarity at a time (let’s stop pretending clarity helps individuate the author’s supple soul). Subsidiary contortions of syntax are sometimes allowed past their neighborhood watch (clausula rebus sic stantibus) – usufructuaries at best, squatters mostly, donning capes of distressed wool, scowling in arabesque, Asiatic safecrackers against the taxpaying readership (who apparently prefers an accountant’s quipu). True, if people have trouble interpreting the message herein, it is, put simply: squat on a standing log. (You’re “talking” to someone who pushed his suicide date back so many times it’s basically every day.)
We’ve been calling John Lyly a motherfucker to his face for far too long. Can we not utilize our pandemic narcissism to reboot Lyly’s line elegance, bitch the hive into little broken down dandies of the palm? Must our spot-lit cosmopolitans interminably employ The Prince and The Art of War like a convention of dutiful Burger King managers (a la AWP – the annual writer capitulation to Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill and other twelve and forty-eight ruled powers)? Each aisle of the pond shines like a do-good chore as far as I can ripple. This WASPish need for a nasally bypassed whack-a-mole of political twitter gore has biffed my PR team right in whichever excessively sesquipedalian preciosity our lawyers allow. Why should everyone always ignore their toilet’s internal rhyme? Is it because my tampon got stuck? Or did yours? And if they are in autotelic cahoots down there, one bloody solecism, a circumlocutory euphemism of coagulated gruel, will an Amen be in order before the next meal?
What if Moshfegh is so good she required a temporary upswing of cash just to operate in the psychic mindset of her character and got the town to toast her experimentally? And when might I, too, look like I’ve sat on an object on purpose on billboards nationwide after being creatively let loose without some authority figure finger-fucking my pie, not that I’d refrain, perhaps, from bucking back? (Soon as readability becomes my function? When feigned miscomprehension from my “peers” is finally admitted as another plot?) Lish, that genius foot-humper whose bossy tools we can’t put down, made my generation his mummer. We must lick a pentagram in our beer and summon the Goliards, the sublime dreck of the vulgar, cloistral, Latinate clerici vagantes to screw him out. Unthaw their holy coprolite, gnaw on it with me until this bruited about (right bloody here) Oscan farce of a radiolarian canon withdraws its taste toward something less impecuniously proud, you fescennine gallimaufry of modifier-phobic, chiastic Pietists. Art is the religion religion submits to.
Consider the twentieth century’s contextual scrambling of Victor Hugo (de Gourmont’s eroticizing, Zola’s vocational abridgments: romanticism to symbolism to naturalism, swapping moral codes, Becque’s denudating cruelties, the sublime interrogated into candor) as a boobishly sonorate baby dick who failed to address the faux adult themes so lauded through the shit on his critics’ contemporary periscope (adhering to Scribe’s well-made play or not, the damning documents have arrived), their reality-bias sermonizing behind the kitchen sink, or Goethe (who couldn’t stomach an ounce of Hamlet’s artiness) berating René-Charles Guilbert de Pixerécourt (whose very name is the type of pleonasm these lodestars live in piddling fear of) like many another botryoidally hemorroidal vine nagging against the purple (a bull with a pair of labia stuck in its eye – no male must click on her New Yorker photo or I shall libel you her Kava-naut), his own childish avoidance of the fact that poets, even romantic poets, sometimes write plays (sorry – literature: I am your bow wowingest Robert Macaire). Sometimes they write novels and get famous for all the wrong fucking reasons. Sometimes their sardoodledoms are overly partook of.
Anyway, My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a corker. I reveled in its protagonist’s droopy me-ness for an afternoon, slapping my bush with a newspaper. By the final page, I think I was able to cure chemical depression with the sign of the cross and had obtained a random credit card or three. My parents stood over my shoulder handing me fifties as I turned each page. (Prepare yourself for a carbon copy lambast upon the male version of her own Brooklynite genesis, a contemporarily suspicious riling against a type of dick at large that would never register to a Margot Robbie (this whack version of airborne muliebrity endemic in men, these wussy buncha devotees of Klaus Kinski (she should be made to read his book a number of times) – fake news: no lit bro Ottessa ever met or stood near knows thing one about the Kinkster, a man who would have lovingly pricked the air out of her nitwit protagonist’s head – he was a serial killer who fucked trees (and a genius)).
Was Moshfegh’s hell glimpsed through a telescope or did she follow her melatonin past the draw? Artist / novelist / or group project of bought edits (thousand dollar Joni Mitchell lyric, the sleepy rich in rooms, art is bad, to be mocked, needs more of its ass handed to it, shock art is bad, male artists perm their poop, then Lena Dunham trains a straw on poor Ottessa, begging for a tale of critical misogyny (yoohoo!) etc.)? Sentence cutter or letter to the prez number a billion? I dunno. Who cares? I confess her pathematical woo woo does almost tickle me enough to hush. Whole regions of her pen work astonishingly (less in this one), though everything about her (and everything) remains above my pay grade. The alphabet is what fucked me over.
More Villon, more Lacenaire, more Macaire: Nico Walker’s Cherry
Romeo and Juliet syndrome will often afflict a man in his twenties once the neoteric concept of adulthood begins its blunder. The most debilitating symptom: chemicals dupe him into believing that the ancient laws cruelly governing all relationships are in any way subservient to passion. With luck, he recovers into a manageable form of detachment before ending up imprisoned, a product of the state (more so than we all already are), or both: married. To the bungling charge of misogyny placed upon this book: while my client may be responsible for supporting twin habits with sentimental intent alongside a lady he blames none, indicted still (re: Roxane Gay on Goodreads – the more you attempt to console the inconsolable the more you resemble lunch to them) under the weighty complaint of some objurgatorily shifty implication against her (I’d rather rob a thousand banks than let the internet think I slighted one woman), I insist that in the country (note: which, let the record show, he served bravely) native to his upbringing, money is the sole arachnid purpose stitched to every hormone. To the cowardly (no other kind) journalist who pulled the trigger and posted a pictorial reminder (with typical click-button morality and ersatz indignation) of my client mid-heist, bandit-masked and aiming a pistol at a (we are weepily informed) pregnant bank teller (why this amazing image is not an author photo is lost on me, and how brave of this woman to function under such stress while girthed, how brave of her co-workers for enduring her cravings during lunch, how brave of us all for reading one book this century, lingual rusticisms notwithstanding): perhaps mister press pass twitterer, my client’s photo-posting vigilante, Batman in a wet-bottomed cowl, can glue a mullet where his genitals were so each heretical bit of testosterone might clod together and enjoy the gentlest casket. To the allegation of treasonous profit or misrepresentation of battle: no work of art serves its country (rarely is even its maker served); then it would not be art, but a memoir stooped somewhere between the laurels of its author and his nation, slanted toward impersonal justices or jingoism, not dissimilar to the corn-fed polemics of any online forum (because it has been written and not enacted: more juxtaposition is required) in its heartfeltry (as mentioned above, too much heart was already a separate issue here). I hereby submit for the court’s approval: time served and zero public apologies upon release, as long as Walker blocks himself from dope (love, same diff) and studies, with caution, Jack Henry Abbott, Miguel Piñero, and Eldridge Cleaver’s tale of the elder nihilist prisoner.
The text itself, for something hammered onto an old school clacker with people screaming next to your head (a miracle any sentence occurred outside that regimented nightmare, and then there’s prison), is finely tuned because his influences were well matched and contemporary (and he was superbly edited). Here’s hoping Walker winds his way deeper into art, that meanest of crimes, that biggest of calibers aimed at life’s nonstop baby bump (he’s no Genet yet, and me neither, but we can still try, legally (elevate Caryl Chessman toward Malcolm Braly or Frank the Poet)). The writing accomplishes a trifecta of techniques reflecting the whirligig genres on display (stories are just news, the telling is all I see, but I concede that my client’s case is unique in not demanding much complex embellishment): a voice emerges, corny with the dreams a first love will inflict, then a transcript of war, because it’s hyper-absurd without the need of much creative interpretation, and a sort of confessionalized assessment of the shit of each event, of a smart and moral nature, which I would advise against, but which isn’t detrimental to reading progress (admissions of guilt are now fashionable, even between something as friendly as a toilet stall), and the Captain America guys hopefully get some primo longshot takes in there. If I was hoping for American Skin meets Dear Mr. President, it is perhaps because my vagina has a built-in compressor.
Considering our soft state of dong within les arts, the mainstream success of someone with enough adrenal hardihood to rob a bank (granted the issue of whether his pathos can outnumber the politics that promote him without being conscripted to their service) – more rogues like my client should be in demand, because we are now (and always) swarmed by many a negotiable lad. The state they use critique to worship like a generation of scorned boyfriends trembling in wait for the soypocalypse is the new civic religion. Did a strict parent, did some unfair, pockmarked past kick them into art on borrowed therapy? And have they not conversely proved such methods ultimately correct by leveeing their sayso with a proffered bum tatted with dire no-no’s about city hall? Why are their politics either a mere tribute, or a mere retribution, to whatever laid them, the two cents to follow scowling behind a lack of line quality? If they knew thing one about violence they would not so readily encourage its concrete usage, or balk against the abstract appreciation of such (what’s more, against the icons thereof), and save a little for their speciously pacified verse. Why suck the meat of better crimes, top shelf horrors, why turn them plastic inside a thumb-typed bellow, presenting the fallacy of your toughness through a mobbed opposition to same? Read my client. May his next felonies be juicy depictions. There is no right way to get hard. Lackaday.