Pages 8, 9 & 10

September 13, 2010 — 1 Comment

For the entire fifteen minute piece there is no movement in the room but the hypnotic revolutions of the record.  There is no tap to his foot and no bob to his head as the attentive listener silences the clunky street noises[31] that usually slither in through minor cracks in the windows.  As the soprano-sax fades, deep reflection surrounds Sidney as he takes a deep breath and basks in the magnificence of Coltrane’s horn, a sound that he embellishes at the same exact time every morning[32].

He smiles.  Perks his dark rimmed frames over his gin blossom and glances up.  The smile refracts as he reaches into a beaten up cardboard box, a permanent piece of furniture that is fixed next to his chair.  The frown is getting wider as his bushy eyebrows begin to rise as he reaches down and pulls a dart from the box.  “Screw you, Bill Burroughs[33],” he shouts as he chucks the sharp object at a dart covered promotional poster for Naked LunchÓ.[34]

“I never did understand your hip, jive jargon about homosexuals and habitual drug use.  Your book is a scattered mess that completely tarnishes the English language.  Now, Melville, that’s literature.  Banned books need stay banned.”[35]

His frustration with the contemporary author is true and that frustration manifests in his own writing.[36] His misunderstanding of modern or postmodern narrative disjointedness is better understood when one realizes that Sidney prefers literature like he prefers his coffee.[37] Useful information in that, simplicity that blockades the literary world’s reaction to the wars[38] is coal; fuel to spin his tightly knit bildungsromans.

Disgusted and confused, the sight of William S. Burroughs in big block letters and thoughts of Naked LunchÓ infuriate him as he angrily gets up from his seat at the kitchen table. He grabs his coat[39] and heads outside to face the chilly winds that steadily blow in his mind.  Images, thoughts, images, thoughts crowd the left side of his brain and make unable to communicate with the right side.  Nevermind?

[31] Trolley bells, car horns, jackhammers, loud chatter, etc.

[32] 8:15-8:31

[33] William S. Burroughs.  Beatnik writer, intravenous drug user, junky, whom while trying to shoot an apple off of the top of his wife’s head with a revolver, accidentally shot and murdered her.  Author of Naked Lunch, Junky, etc.

[34] Every Tuesday, the dart will fail to fully stick in the wall and slowly plummet into an open garbage can that rests below the poster.  Otherwise, after a months worth of darts collect on the advertisement, Sidney would take them off and replenish the soon to be empty box.

[35] Another morning mantra, rarely changing with the exception of word choice, i.e.  “Your book is jive jargon.  A scattered mess about homos and heroin. Ah, Melville. Ah the humanity.”

[36] As a writer of short fiction, Sidney’s stories could be seen in a similar light as the changing of his shoes (see subchapter, Rubber Soles). In his 40 years as a writer for numerous publications, people loved his stories because of their homogeneity; He never used extremely pedant English flair.  There wasn’t much garish prose and no one could ever label him as verbose.  His were simple stories, like every Beatles song.  All were prototypes of the “quest” nature, but with different character names.  His heroes always found themselves embryonic in the beginning, with little knowledge and in some sort of predicament.  By the middle, minor signs of growth could be detected in the text, but this was also the stage where he met an adversary, man or machine, that attempted to blockade the hero’s goal.  By the end, the hero overcame what stood in his way, sometimes with the aid of a deus ex machina and sometimes without, but he always became a fully-grown individual with an intelligence that he didn’t have before. The plots of these stories rivaled present day sitcoms, which would explain the population’s love for Sidney’s work.  The reader, like the viewer of say, “I Love Lucy,” knows that no matter what trouble the character or characters get into, by the end, everything will be better than it was when the story began.  The stories offered the hope and stability that was necessary to stay sane.  In a complicated world with war, poverty, drugs, and the complicated literature that accompanied it, Sidney’s stories (and present day sitcoms) offered a comfortable blanket to warm readers from the bitter cold of the outside world.  Not to mention, they all reflected the decayed and dead idea of the American Dream.

[37] Coffee, like literature was very important to him, therefore he liked them both to be simple, never off color, and just the right temperature for ingesting.

[38] Pessimism, narcissism, despair, alienation, the ills of humanity, and paranoia were all words that weren’t in Sidney’s dictionary.  And he often thought, “What the hell is a dystopia?” All of this can be seen as traits that are present in the literature of popular modernists like Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Franz Kafka, James Joyce, etc. After witnessing the chaos of war first hand (Hemingway only drove an ambulance in the WWI) he thought that the world needed a pick me up not a grotesquely large mirror to reflect its fears and damaging psychoanalysis.  In few words, things needed to be happy, but sedative at the same time.

[39] A frayed wool mid length, black, that had seen its share of years. The only coat he owned.

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