Wednesday, June 16, 2010

This Was Easier To Post Than The Piece I Kind of Need To Write About My Naturally Thin Skin And How Heavily I Take Things In, Particularly Today...

Some authors are writers' writers, role models to the insiders. Lydia Davis, whom I just discovered, is one of these top of the top writers. Her short style has been copied and even taught, but she created it, to a large extent. They say that if you try to do something better than others you'll most likely fail. The way to succeed is to do something that's never been done before. I think that's what Lydia (we met, it's OK) did.
The reckons that, "Like the color fields of Mark Rothko or the sculpture of Donald Judd, Davis’ stories give off a disarming appearance of simplicity." This is an issue I think about a lot, the smart that seems nonchalant' and maybe not so smart but is, versus the well promoted smart that is like a smart donut that disappoints in regard to the rich, smart filling you've heard so well advertised.
I like Mark Rothko, and I like Haiku. I count my words, my colors, of course - my minutes. I am a minimalist in terms of what I consider high art, high culture, high living. Here are five examples of Davis's writing. Of these I have a favorite and a fast runner up. Let's hear what people think.
By Lydia Davis

No one is calling me. I can’t check the answering machine because I have been here all this time. If I go out, someone may call while I’m out. Then I can check the answering machine when I come back in.
A Man from Her Past
By Lydia Davis

I think Mother is flirting with a man from her past who is not Father. I say to myself: Mother ought not to have improper relations with this man "Franz"! "Franz" is a European. I say she should not see this man improperly while Father is away! But I am confusing an old reality with a new reality: Father will not be returning home. He will be staying on at Vernon Hall. As for Mother, she is ninety-four years old. How can there be improper relations with a woman of ninety-four? Yet my confusion must be this: though her body is old, her capacity for betrayal is still young and fresh.

Dog and Me
By Lydia Davis

An ant can look up at you, too, and even threaten you with its arms. Of course, my dog does not know I am human, he sees me as dog, though I do not leap up at a fence. I am a strong dog. But I do not leave my mouth hanging open when I walk along. Even on a hot day, I do not leave my tongue hanging out. But I bark at him: "No! No!"

By Lydia Davis

I don’t know if I can remain friends with her. I’ve thought and thought about it—she’ll never know how much. I gave it one last try. I called her, after a year. But I didn’t like the way the conversation went. The problem is that she is not very enlightened. Or I should say she is not enlightened enough for me. She is nearly fifty years old and no more enlightened, as far as I can see, than when I first knew her twenty years ago, when we talked mainly about men. I did not mind how unenlightened she was then, maybe because I was not so enlightened myself. I believe I am more enlightened now, and certainly more enlightened than she is, although I know it’s not very enlightened to say that. But I want to say it, so I am willing to postpone being more enlightened myself so that I can still say a thing like that about a friend.
Head, Heart
By Lydia Davis

wwwHeart weeps.
wwwHead tries to help heart.
wwwHead tells heart how it is, again:
wwwYou will lose the ones you love. They will all go. But
even the earth will go, someday.
wwwHeart feels better, then.
wwwBut the words of head do not remain long in the ears of
wwwHeart is so new to this.
wwwI want them back, says heart.
wwwHead is all heart has.
wwwHelp, head. Help heart.


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