Odd Man Writing


He writes about entropy. The Simpsons portray him with a bag over his head. Ward Sutton’s cartoon paints the best known image of the man, other than his sailor suit shot. I hate him; he reminds me of me. Without intention, I mimic the laws of thermodynamics. I haven’t read all Pynchon’s work, but I’m sure my one paragraph will surpass him in loopity loops. I may even out slow him and I’ve got my own sailor suit shot.

Looking for an image to capture Pynchon, I found an illustrated review by Ward Sutton. Good stuff.

Ward Sutton’s cartoons and illustrations have appeared in theVillage Voice, TV Guide, Rolling Stone, Time,Esquire, The New Yorker, and on the Op-Ed page of theNew York Times.
Ward’s Drawn to Read appears monthly in the Barnes & Noble Review.



Scheme to Theme


Note to self: Find your prime point before your book leaves its prime. Theme = Foundation.

Florida = Theme Park = Nature or life itself

Karen Russell almost sums up her, Swamplandia!, theme to this: …ghosts of the past, and their doomed, miraculous visions of the future, that they keep missing one another in the present. I think the three dots caused her a problem. Most people leave Swamplandia frustrated because Russell did not sum up quick. Florida/Nature/Life paralleled to a theme park turns her story into a two character book and rids her of a disjointed character. A simple theme helps shape character arc and your overall plot. An author’s style may not match a reader, but a poor foundation never matches an author. Russell’s Magic realism limits her readership to fans of the style. Sometime you don’t need a third piece. The undertones of the cover go with the Silver Springs photo, but the Gatorland photo looks ill fit. It just works as contrast in the literary realm. Some people need different types of editors. I screw up in other ways.

Lush Life


Lotus Eaters first appear in Homer’s epic poem, the Odyssey. James Joyce turned the tale into a chapter in UlyssesJohn Barrymore starred in an adaption of the tale; his granddaughter Drew represents the nymph (a close associate to the lotus) and a one time lush. Wine and women offer reason for why the Greeks wanted to stay in Lotus Eater land. The tale may also have links to the elixirs known as soma and haoma. No one knows the active ingredient in the mythical drinks, but a secret recipe with multiple, and sometimes interchangeable, ingredients does pose a problem in identification. I believe the recipe hides in metaphor and that the experts have put too much focus on a single ingredient approach. They may have even used different recipes for different purposes and stuck with the same name. I’ve looked at many theories, but I take the recipe approach in my novel.

Dream Time


Throw out science fiction and you find few ways to write about vast spans in time. Woolf gave little reason for why her character, Orlando, lives so long; you can call it simple magic, I see it as a feverous  dream. Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso may have given Woolf the name and an idea. I see both as feverous-love dreams. Ariosto transports from place to place; Woolf does from time to time and from sex to sex.

One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez, borrows from Woof. The literary term Magic realism = dream magic applied to the real world. Márquez takes the history of Colombia and reinterprets it in dream imagery; he never tells you the story resides in a dream, but the imagery fits like sheets on a bed.

James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake reads like a Stewie Griffin novel. Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy character may make a fitting James Joyce. Finnegan’s Wake will go much further over people’s heads than Family Guy, but they share similar puns. Joyce does Ireland much like Márquez does Columbia, but the man from Ireland uses a drunker dreamer. Finnegans Wake reads like a drunken Einstein lecture on physics. If you say you understand it; you are a liar. You may grasp aspects, but no one above the grave knows what lies in this other world.

Writing into Insanity


“(James Joyce, in conversation with Carl Jung:)”Literary artists know more about the human mind than you fellers have a hope in hell of knowing. Ha. My craft is ebbing. I am yung and easily freudened. One of these days I’ll show the lot of you what the unconscious mind is really like. I don’t need any of you. In a sense I am Freud.”
Jung looked gloomily guilty at the name. “Yes?”
“What’s Freud in English?”
“Joy and Joyce. There’s little enough difference. Except that I add C and E for Creative Endeavour. I spit in all your eyes.”
Anthony Burgess, The End of the World News: An Entertainment

Joyce’s daughter had schizophrenia, so did Adèle Hugo (The Story of Adele H.). Jung treated Joyce’s daughter and though Joyce himself just took a cleaner dive into insanity. Hemingway committed suicide  and his trips between Atheism and Catholicism give some clue to his mind. (“I’m right when I believe in God and I’m right when I don’t” Syndrome). I’m sure others have seen the people who Ping-Pong between God and drugs/alcohol. Few will refute a link between creativity and madness, but a healthy outlet defines sanity. Sciences and the Arts give productive use to overactive minds. The best treatment for mental illness may come finding an outlet.

Philip K. Dick (top right, illustration by Alex Ebel  from Second Variety) had problems, but he did have a healthy outlet and left this world well respected. Writers dip into dreams and dreams try to solve the insanity of the world.

What the, “If you see Kay”


I consider this the James Joyce reaction to Dominique de Gourgue. The conquistador, Pedro Menendez, took Fort Caroline (right pic) and beheaded people he saw as heretics. De Gourgue then took revenge on the Spanish who occupied the French built fort. Menendez hung this sign on beheaded bodies, “Not as Frenchmen but as Lutherans.” De Gourgue hung up this sign, “Not as Spaniards but as murderers,” on his fellow Catholics. Later in life, De Gourgue took a role in the Siege of La Rochelle; thereby, killing the same group he had avenged. Did he leave the sign Menendez left? I doubt many so-called Lutherans considered themselves Lutheran; they may have joined the new so-called religion because they hated the Spanish just like De Gourgue.

We keep the past to learn from it. When I heard Boston sing, “Sweet Caroline,” the ode to Catholic Camelot; I thought about humans never learn. James Joyce saw the same in Ireland because he knew history. Ireland takes less pride in the IRA and like most Europe has moved farther away from Catholicism. Religion died in France; Italians protested the Church’s stance on Galileo. We see several news headings like, “Pope Cracks Down on US Nuns.” The foolish Chris Mathews thinks Obama should bring in the Pope to act as ambassador to Muslims. What do Muslims think when they hear the ode to Catholic Camelot. I’m sure they don’t think about my Fort Caroline, but Catholics and Muslims spear each other with heretic barbs. I’m like Joyce; I just mock the insanity. Religion needs to take a backseat and never wear a Papal gown with elitist Gucci sunglasses.

God, Country, or Brigid’s Cross

Saint_Brigid's cross

James Joyce held Brigid’s Cross in his heart; Brigid’s cross held Irish history. Joyce knew the Church stole the Pagan cross, so he left the saint when they stole half of his home. Politics stole the other half of his home, so he left Ireland; he left his home. Joyce knew politicos and religious leaders fought, but rarely cared for the people. Joyce saw the good in Ireland and in the Church; he also saw the corruption and the brainwashed hate of zealots. Ireland and the Church drove out a beloved son because a man with great soul hates a brainwashed mind. Joyce left this quote of independence in, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man:

“I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it calls itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use — silence, exile, and cunning.”


If you, C-K-E-Y Britney


Is Spears headying James, as in Joyce? Old news, but this odd couple twisted their way into my stuff. The former Mouseketeer spears Joyce’s pun, but a gang behind Spears did the thrusting; three Swedes pop from behind the pop machine. An Indian-American, not an an American Indian, also put in a few licks (see the writers on the If You Seek Amy page). I get intertextual with sirens, just like Joyce; I got very intertextual with xTina, my other siren and Mouseketeer. It was no oops… I did it again, when I did again to Britney. Allusions fall under the broader class of intertextuality and I love to allusion. I’ve posted Britney; tomorrow, I may have Joyce do some lotus eating on Christina, the Aguilera species of Diva. This is James Joyce week for me.


Too Assinine To Be Asinine


Two “S’s” give meaning to the word. After you do some study in linguistics, you see how common words turn vulgar and politically incorrect. You can see from these ancient icons, Freud had reason to see things in a Freudian way. (Far Left) Eshu is one stubborn god; he kept popping up and still hang around. Religions try to reel in other cultures, but some things have priapic conditions. The name may change to Papa Legba to honor the Pope, but cocky old god hangs around like a towel hanger.

The Greek Priapus (center) seem to branch off from the Pataikos, who branches off from my main man – Ptah. I have an assinine theory about ports that may not be so assinine. Sailors expect to find asses in ports and you can also expect them to act like asses. Ports act as crossroads and asses gravitate to crossroads. In ports of yesteryear, packages from ships got unloaded onto asses. Do you need to do a double take?

Yeehaw Junction, a crossroad for Florida cattle drivers, may have gotten its name the asses outside the bar or the yeehaws from rodeo riders riding ass inside the bar. Yes, cow pokes did some poking under petticoats at the junction. I don’t know how serious our ancestors took our old gods, but I think a Trickster ass like Eshu must have created himself. Eshu (Ellegua) like the Roman god of ports, Portunes, falls under the liminal deity category. Livestock like cattle, asses, and rutting rams often associate with liminal deities.

The last picture depicts Min; he is and isn’t the pottery god Ptah; and he is and isn’t the pottery god, Khnum; he also is and isn’t Amun ; and he is and isn’t Ra, too. Ain’t mythology fun. I’m Agnostic and only hope for heaven, but I’m still hoping for wild nights when I moor into Emily Dickinson’s heavenly port.

Saving Your Ass


Or the ass saving you. Donkey in Shrek plays a familiar role; you can see him in Don Quixote, in the role of Sancho Panza; who rides and represents the loyal ass. The Wise Ass next to Shrek’s Donkey comes from L. Frank Baum’s book, The Magical Monarch of Mo. The Dumb Ass ate a bunch of books and became a Wise Ass (Baum uses Donkey instead of ass, because of the good word, bad word game.)

You can see the sculpture of Nasreddin in Moscow. The Turkish Jester mirrors his ass; they both play the wise fool. Bacchus and Dionysus also have links to asses. A donkey suffers a fool or a drunken ass. Friar Tuck, the ale guzzling monk from Robin Hood, plays trustworthy saint and drunken fool; he has (and is) a donkey

Balthazar is a donkey in a French film directed by Robert Bresson. The tale parallels the lives of sweet ass Maria and her beloved donkey. I call it a sad jester tale because the ass suffers and in the end, ends up a saint; Maria just suffers. Zora (as seen in my last post) fits this sad jester role. Her mule metaphor reflects her suffering, but you can see in “Sweat” she lets her tormentor-lover die. Zora and this Bresson movie meet in metaphor and in cruel jest. Note, a donkey plays a savior role in the birth of Christ. The overlooked beast of burden does not appear by coincidence.

Lotis gets saved from Priapusby the braying of Silenus’ donkey. More in next post.