D. E. Steward

Dead serious, ponderously pessimistic, Emil Cioran’s flat dismissal of storytelling and the novel is almost humorous

In the vein of Cyril Connolly’s The Unquiet Grave (1944) and David Shields’ hip Reality Hunger (2010)

Strangely similar to the bristling New York School forties-and-fifties dogmatics celebrating abstract expressionism and scorning figuratism

Trade fiction’s present pell-mell confessional cast and brand-name lasciviousness enhances the argument

It’s commodification now

And tell-all memoirs

“Nothing makes any difference with whimsy. Whimsy is for low stakes” – Geoff Dyer

Confessional blogging could turn out to be the story telling of the era

If all literary forms eventually ossify into cliché, new forms are created only when writers are able to identify and expose the clichés

Perhaps all printed-word expression itself will ossify

The uniqueness of the endurance of the printed word undercut

Reverence for calfskin, marbling, heft, truth with silverfish isn’t going to be enough

Littera gone to digital image

Print on paper to become possibly only a minor alternative medium

Not only into cliché, but into trivial, confessional meaninglessness

Why libraries at all, when all you need is broadband

But monumental memorial research and presidential libraries still go up

Community libraries are the utilitarian ones Book-hungry kids come to them, little kids with their mothers for picture books, maniac little readers who come and go with backpacks full, teenagers after school, jobless and congenitally idle people arrive to look up something, use the facilities, sit, doze

Condolanders prowling around for a break from TV, video games, boredom, ennui

Like people go to church, connecting to a civil place

Any public space other than the mall

Wannabe a doer, wannabe a be

Want to count for something, want to be known

Famously or contentiously

Like Emil Cioran

Who backed the Romanian fascist Iron Guard through the nineteen thirties and then ended up famous in France

In the extremes of his mega-pessimism, made his reputation with statements like, "Bach's music is the only argument proving the creation of the Universe cannot be regarded a complete failure"

Uttering a few vitriolic “pshaws” a day slinging his hook in somebody else’s direction

And there’s nothing quite like fame in France

René Béhaine, 1880-1966, author of L’Histoire d’une Société in sixteen volumes (1904-1959), didn’t even make the later day Petit Larousse

Neither did Béhaine’s La Conquête de la Vie, published originally, in a burst of erudition at nineteen in 1899, as the first volume of his Histoire

Nothing to do with Béhaine or fame in France but notice the slick palindrome of Malayalam, a literary language of South India

Its region is the Malabar Coast tucked between the zones of two other most ancient Indian Dravidian languages, Kannada and Tamil

Like Sinhala in Sri Lanka and Telugo in Madras, that now is Chennai

Malayalam, from ancient Tamil in the sixth century, is spoken in Keralia

In Kochi (Cochin), Keralia’s big port Ronald Ross an Anglo-Indian who won the Nobel in Medicine in 1902, determined the vectors of malaria transmission in Begumpett in the Sigur Ghat, a steep valley that leads out of the Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu

Inland, just behind that coast

Deep in the marvels of hillscape South India

Asian remarkables everywhere from the Bosporus to the Pacific

Lafcadio Hearn found his Asia-sublime in Japan

He arrived in Matsue in western Honshu in 1890, d. Tokyo, 1904

Hearn’s “The Dream of a Summer Day,” the first chapter of Out of the East (Boston, 1895) is a dream in the way the best of twenty-first century imaginative prose is written

The Dream of a Summer Day, an Irish play about Hearn, was produced in 2005

Irish father, Greek mother, the United States and Martinique from Ireland for two decades before he decamped for western Honshu

In 1874 in Cincinnati, Hearn and Henry Farny, later a painter of Western Americana, ran nine issues of a small press magazine called Ye Giglampz

Hearn has long lost fame in America, has long been revered in Japan

Half a million plus people in Maçao, probably none of whom have more than local fame

Maçao has high humidity, high population density even by Asian standards, and baccarat

Macanese patacas (MOPs) are worthless anywhere else except China and Hong Kong

All systems pass

To catch the kinetics of the changing world remember to go from one collected note to the next and write through them

The segues are in the internal logic of how and when things were noted

Only write through the notes and do not write about them being notes to write from

The synechthry of ill-timed careers, incompatible housemates, strained marriages, bad neighbors, irrational mergers

Keep up, keep up, keep up Buckminster Fuller’s icosaspheres, the mathematical term for his geodesic domes

Fullerenes, fullerides, buckyballs, buckytubes

Cleaver’s and Rubin’s hypocrisies and impacted sexism were as typical of the sixties as Bucky Fuller, the Jefferson Airplane, tie-dye, pot, love-ins, the Grateful Dead, and SNCC

Sex through power, the old story, the Crescentii clan ruled Rome from the middle of the tenth century through a string of popes, one was Pope John XII, famed for his pornocracy

And, following the interregnum of a Benedict, the next Crescentii was Pope John XIII

John XIII died of the same circumstances as Pope John XII, both murdered by the husbands of their lovers

No dogs howled when those two died

Perry Anderson’s vocabulary includes magma, taxative, lustration, censitary, carmagnoles, scoria, galumphery, alembicated, exapation, caducity, postilla, and the near archaisms of contemn, glozing, moiety, and brigade as a verb

He uses a mélange of foreign words and phrases, tat gratuity, salonfähig, glacis, cabotage, guerres en chaîne, signum rememorativum, déphasage, en toutes letters, chasses gardées, déconbres, in nuce, fin de non recevoir, plumpes Denken

Scabies, tinea, most of his exposed skin exanthematous, an altogether scrofulous person standing before the bar in night court in the Criminal Courts Building downtown

He copiously tattooed with mysterious sigils, she wore some of the same symbols in large pieces of jewelry, her hair blotchy henna red

Shia and Sunni, Israelis and Palestinians, Irish and Orangemen, dogs and cats

First Caracas morning, a rooster’s call cleared from the ground shadow dawn in one red, immaculate cry

Caracas, a runaway metropolis, spilling out of its mountain bowl in all directions

A monument to Tübingen’s Kindermörd at Langemarck (Ypres, 1914) stands in a glade at the lip of the Max Planck Institute’s hill above the Stadt

Adding to the myth, long a credo to the Nazis and nationalists, that in 1914 students and their professors marched singing into allied machine gun fire, some without rifles

By the Third Battle of Ypres, 1917, generally known as Passchendaele, Field Marshall Douglas Haig, the whiskey family, had fine-tuned his methods of mutual mass butchery Passchendaele was the worst of all

Impassable mud and mustard gas, over half a million casualties at Passchendaele, more than three hundred thousand of them British

Or the Somme or perhaps Verdun, both with even more casualties

The German army used chlorine gas at Gravenstafel in the Second Battle of Ypres, 1915

Six thousand French troops died there in ten minutes

The Douaumont Ossuary at Verdun: skulls and a muddle of bones behind the glass

Up the Voie Sacrée from Bar-le-Duc

For Verdun many dogs howled