380 An itemized récit for wandering the Obscure undead from west 71st to 60th

Dear WWW,

Why try to make sense, or ¢ents ... why try to create or maintain a false cense of narrative thread? Whenever we set out to write something here about X it ends up being about X else Y. What comes to mind to seed (re: X) are real-world events, circa mid-September 2014 + what we've been reading (Thomas the Obscure by Maurice Blanchot + continued readings of Metamorphoses, Ulysses + The Odyssey) + where we've been maphattaning (71st street down to 60th on the west side). Whether we get around to actually logging these things who's to say.

new Calamari Archive logo (courtesy of Naked Fowl)

In case u didn't notice we changed our publishing name recently to Calamari Archive, Ink. for reasons stated in this manifest ... but u probly didn't notice. No 1 notices anything anymore. Every 1's glued to their siloed terminals, to their devices, off in their own little blue-walled social silos. Forget every 1, even the author (Cal A. Mari) ... he has no authority over this. This is language trying to release itself + embed its way into U, o Internet ... maybe not so pure or poetic language, but that's cuz we are encumbered w/ trying to make cense, w/ trying to ground this in real-world events, w/ trying to understand + appease our audience.

«He who writes for fools will always find a large audience. Said Schopenhauer.» Said Markson. Said us.

Went to the Brooklyn Bookfair last Sunday ... nothing newsworthy to report. It's starting to feel like groundhog day, compounding déjà vu. Xcept this year seems most of the hip bookish demographic was at the climate march, which was going on at the same time. The only people remaining were groundhog zombies ... zombies pushing baby strollers w/ baby groundhogs. Picking up our books + saying to their pear-shaped zombie friends «look at these, honey, they look nice, but they don't even have a description of what they are about on the back!?» Every 1 on a need-to-know basis, of what the books are about before they even crack the spine. How to respond? 1st off, we can't speak for the books. Not even the «author» can speak for the book. 2nd, most Calamari book objects aren't about anything in particular ... u read them more for the language or look at them as u woud art. The object itself should be its own description of what it's about. U either get it or u don't, but we shouldn't need to xplain.

We don't write for living dead, tho we do write for the dead ... we write for our future selves.

What is that saying about schizophrenia .... doing the same thing over + over xpecting a different result? That's why u have to give up on xpectations.

It’s not what U do but the way that U do it. 

We've probly said all this before in so many words, dear Internet. In fact, we kicked off the last post by referencing Groundhog day. Is that what these are, posts? Fence posts to an ever-expanding pasture? Or is this an episode (#380) in a serialized novel? Or a cereal-box novel? Some 1 likened the new U2/iTunes to 1 of those old cereal promotions, the free gift inside the box ... sounds about right. Or Cracker Jacks.

This post is free + untethered to anything ... swimming free in a deep-linked ocean of text + image. Novels are dead the second they are published, but this is living, a living + breathing + ever-expanding hypertext document. Maybe that's why no 1 reads this cept for spider-bots. Seems living humans are more comfortable reading dead things, specially written by dead people. Which suits us fine. + the only people that'll graze in this 380-post-+-growing-pasture will likely take a-fence at something or other we say ... people only read shit to find out how it pertains to them, this is human nature. Or people only read things that other people tell them to read. No 1 wants to read something that no 1 else is reading. Every 1 wants to read something they know hip tastemakers are reading so they can 'like' or 'favorite' a link to it in their blue-walled gardens. But only other untethered hypertexts can interact w/ this page.

The other day we tried to edit our wikipedia page to say something like «X is a living person that thinks wikipedia pages for living people is creepy + evasive.» This after trying unsuccessfully to delete the page or the links on the page. Needless to say, w/in 24 hours, the edits + deletions were reversed. Who are these creepy trolls who have time to edit wikipedia, that hide behind names like Hullaballoo Wolfowitz? Earlier in the day another Calamari author asked us to delete private/misleading information from hir wiki page + the same Hullaballoo Wolfowitz reverted the edits ... some illiterate idiot that when not trying to be the wikipedia hero is busy babysitting his sleeping grandchildren. We understand this makes wikipedia what it is (tho when we find out there are power-tripping dinosaurs like Wolfowitz behind it it loses all credibility), but seriously, shouldn't living people that don't want wikipedia pages have the right to not have 1? Guess we should move to Europe where they have their privacy rights + censoring sensibilities in line w/ ours (censoring the author's identity, not the body of the work). This side by side comparison says it all:

the difference between Swiss + American media censorship

... granted it's a selfie, where author/body of work become 1 + the same. The things people do cuz they are gripped by the fear that 1 day they'll be dead + they are already dead inside so there's nothing left to show cept for what's on the outside to demonstrate how secure they are w/ themselves when really they are crying inside.

People themselves suck. It all boils down to the informational art they generate. As JFK said «A man may die, nations may rise + fall, but an idea lives on.» + as Stéphane Mallarmé said:

«In the everyday use of language, words are the vehicles of ideas. The word ‘flower’ means flower that refers to flowers in the world. No doubt it is possible to read literature in this way, but literature is more than this everyday use of language. For in literature ‘flower’ does not just mean flower but many things and it can only do so because the word is independent from what it signifies. This independence, which is passed over in the everyday use of language, is the negativity at the heart of language. The word means something because it negates the physical reality of the thing. Only in this way can the idea arise. The absence of the thing is made good by the presence of the idea. What the everyday use of language steps over to make use of the idea, literature remains fascinated by, the absence that makes it possible. Literary language, therefore, is a double negation, both of the thing and the idea. It is in this space that literature becomes possible where words take on a strange and mysterious reality of their own, and where also meaning and reference remain allusive and ambiguous.»

Mallarmé had a big influence on Maurice Blanchot, whose Thomas the Obscure we read on the subway to/from + at the Brooklyn Bookfair.

The sense u get reading Blanchot is that u are reading a book about some 1 writing a book ... the self-conscious sense of reflexivity is never lost ... what the French call a récit (as opposed to a roman) but not sure there is a word in English for it, where the narration inevitably becomes the event it narrates (at least that's our interpretation). Momentum gathers by it's own negation, by erasing it's own trail of footsteps.

«As a matter of fact, there was an indecision in his way of being which cast doubt on what he was doing. And so, although his eyes were shut, it did not seem that he had given up seeing in the darkness, rather the contrary. Likewise, when he began to walk, one might have thought that it was not his legs, but rather his desire not to walk which pushed him forward. [...] What dominated him was the sense of being pushed forward by his refusal to advance.»

We often feel this way about running, it's not something u do out of desire but out of a sort of warped inverted momentum. It's something u just can't think about but just have to force yourself to do for fear of becoming stagnant/sedentary. Even when we are not in a state of motion. We got this same sense of reflexive stalemate we got reading Sarraute's Tropisms, of fermo restando, as the Italians say. + it gets stranger + more convoluted when the action/event becomes the act of reading ...

«He was seized, kneaded by intelligible hands, bitten by a vital tooth; he entered with his living body into the anonymous shapes of words, giving his substance to them, establishing their relationships, offering his being to the word "to be". For hours he remained motionless, with, from time to time, the word "eyes" in place of his eyes: he was inert, captivated and unveiled. And even later when, having abandoned himself and, contemplating his book, he recognized himself with disgust in the form of the text he was reading, he retained the thought that (while, perched upon his shoulders, the word He and the word I were beginning their carnage) there remained within his person which was already deprived of its senses obscure words, disembodied souls and angles of words, which were exploring him deeply.»

.... which got us to wondering ... has any 1 ever written a book that is exclusively about some 1 reading that very book? Or woud that book self-implode, like dividing by 0? Of course we are reading in translation, which is not the real thing. Étant donné que beaucoup de nos écrivains préférés sont le français, nous devrions probablement parfaire notre assez de français que nous pouvons lire ... ce qui est plus facile que de parler .... nous sommes sûrs que we'll have more to say sur Blanchot, mais for now voici ce que Derrida has to say about him (Blanchot's influence on deconstruction theory speaks for itself) ...

Quoi qu'il en soit ... for our Maphattan Project we are continuing to flâneur south, still divided by Central Park so doing it in separate east-west chunks. Saturday (Sept 20) we did the eastern block, 71st down to 60th ... still in the doldrums of Manhattan u coud say. But boring as it is, seems to attract the rich + famous paying an arm + leg to live there.

the route—9.20.14


xing Central Park

We passed the houses of Holly Golightly (169 E. 71st) + Woody Allen (169 E. 70th) ... the child-molester that instigated the verbal tirade from the Ghanaian vampire 2 posts ago.

Mark Rothko's pad on 157 E. 69th (where he lived + killed himself)
+ a passing float from the German American parade

Our walk happened to fall on the day of the German-American parade, but luckily we ticked off the streets before things got too crowded. Seems 90% of the floats involved beer-drinking. On 67th street we saw the megaprick Jeff Koon's «megamansion» he is building ... we had planned to piss on his doorstep (+ call it art), but w/ all the construction we couldn't get to it + there was lots of cops around, either to protect Koons from his angry neighbors or for the parade.

the megalomaniac Koon's megamansion in progress (11 E. 67th)


corner of Madison + 66th

Another upper east side house where Andy Warhol lived (when he died) was on 66th but we've already shown enough of his digs.

Ulysses' crib on 3 E. 66th

... not to be confused w/ the Ulysses, king of Ithica + namesake of Joyce's epic which we are currently recapitulating ... the Ulysses (S. Grant) whose tomb lays below our window.

FD Roosevelt's house on 47-49 E 65th

... not to be confused w/ Teddy Roosevelt—the only U.S. president (of 44) from NYC ... since 1 out of 38 people in the U.S. live in NYC, seems we are due for another soon. FDR was from NY State tho ... + not only does he have blood dies to Teddy (his 5th cousin), but he is also related to the above Ulysses S. Grant + 9 other former presidents: John Adams, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Andrew Johnson, Benjamin Harrison + William Howard Taft ... not to mention his wife (ewwwww)(also a 5th cousin, 1x removed), a Roosevelt (niece to Teddy) before they married.

620 Park Ave (at 65th) where John Malkovich lived
(in Being John Malkovich ... 1 of our all-time favorite movies)


somewhere in the low 60s


Tom Wolfe's house (232 E. 62nd)


the recently deceased Joan River's house (1 E. 62nd) + 1-time residence of Ernest
Hemingway before he split to Idaho to split the world altogether


along 60th

Peggy Guggenheim's house where Jackson Pollock famously peed in her fireplace at a party to express his displeasure at her cropping a commissioned painting is supposedly at 155 E. 61st, but we coudn't figure out where it is.

Queensboro bridge + Roosevelt Island tramline as seen from 60th

+ coudn't find a representative place to eat really, so ended up just having an eggs benedict + bloody marys at some bar called «The Bar Room».

NYC these days seems ever a work-in-progress

 > 381 > ... + the sown teeth started to grow + assume a new kind of body: 
on anthropomorphic shape-shifting + fleecing taxidermy


[  (ɔ)om.Posted 2014  derek white  |  calamari press   ]