a festive mash-up, featuring William Gaddis IN HIS INIMITABLE PREPOSTEROUS STYLE, a book I doubt I’ll be reading much more of, Nick Land “making it with death,” like, inverted, whom I will, despite myself, be reading more of, to find out where it all tends, and snaps of a night with Douglas Wright’s Rapt, someone ought to say, Douglas, Douglas, your dance is genius, sometimes your theatre is… well… naff – make more work! Then we won’t get either this sense of artistic constipation, or, which is worse, this sense of artistic relief

Birds ran on the empty lawns of the parsonage pecking at fallen irregular shapes of unripe crab apples. Swallows cut silent erratic courses above the carriage barn.

– William Gaddis, The Recognitions, (first publd. 1955) Atlantic Books, London, 2003, p. 48

consciousness, it seemed, was a succession of separate particles, being carried along on the surface of the deep and steady unconscious flow of life, of time itself, and its fainting, the particles of consciousness simply stopped, and the rest flowed on, until they were restored: but this was the stoppage, the entire disappearance of that deeper flow which left the particles of consciousness suspended, piling up, ready at any instant to shatter with nothing to support them. Still, at such times everything was in order, of shape and colour to mass and distance, of minutes accomplishing hours by accumulation just as the clock itself stayed on the table where it was if only because it had been accumulating there for so long: that was the reassurance of weight.

– Ibid., p. 51

in the name of free will, by which she meant conscious desire

– Op. Cit., p. 78


a sort of graphic index to the intricate labyrinth of her mind arrayed to impress the most casual guest, a system of immediate introduction

– Op. Cit., p. 83

– Is it all right to kiss a nun?
– What do you mean, for Christ’s sake?
– Sure it’s all right, as long as you don’t get into the habit.

– Op. Cit. p. 103

people … the instant you look at them they begin to talk automatically, they take it for granted you understand them, that you recognise them, that they have something to say to you, and you have to wait, you have to pretend to listen, pretend you don’t know what’s coming next while they go right on talking with no idea what they’re talking about, they don’t even know but they go right on, trying to explain who they are because they take it for granted you want to know, not that they have the damnedest idea as far as that goes, they just want to know what kind of receptacle you’ll be for their confidences.

– Op. Cit., p. 107


– What does it mean? she asked quietly, her eyes still turned from him.
– Life without a friend, death without a witness.
– I don’t like it, she said quietly

– Op. Cit. p. 112

– it’s the sense of privacy that most popular expressions of suffering don’t have, don’t dare have, that’s what makes it arrogant. That’s what sentimentalising invades and corrupts, that’s what we’ve lost everywhere, especially here where they make every possible assault on your feelings and privacy. These things have their own patterns, suffering and violence, and that’s … the sense of violence within its own pattern, the pattern that belongs to violence like the bullfight, that’s why the bullfight is art, because it respects its own pattern…

how fragile situations are. But not tenuous. Delicate, but not flimsy, not indulgent. Delicate, that’s why they keep breaking, they must break and you must get the pieces together and show it before it breaks again, or put them aside for a moment when something else breaks and turn to that, and all this keeps going on.

Listen, there are so many delicate fixtures, moving toward you, you’ll see. Like a man going into a dark room … a sudden bang! something breaks. Then you have to stop and put the pieces together again. But you never can put them back together quite the same way. You stop when you can and expose things and leave them within reach, and others come on by themselves, and they break, and even then you may put the pieces aside just out of reach until you can bring them back and show them, put together slightly different, maybe a little more enduring, until you’ve broken it and picked up the pieces enough times, and you have the whole thing in all its dimensions. … sometimes the accumulation is too much to bear.

– Op. Cit., pp. 112-114

It is a naked city. Faith is not pampered, nor hope encouraged; there is no place to lay one’s exhaustion: but instead pinnacles skewer it undisguised against vacancy.

– Op. Cit., p. 114

the ones who receive extreme unction with salted peanuts on their breath.

– Op. Cit., p. 114