Authors answer questions from their readers at their peril. This one manages a piece of extraordinary rudeness to noted ranting perambulator Iain Sinclair by the simple expedient of quoting the insults from another (suspiciously anonymous) correspondent:
As for Mrs. Sinclair, she’s fast becoming one of my favourite characters in literature - on a par, in terms of long-sufferance, with Tristram Shandy’s mother.
Imagine her life - dragged off every week or so to some slaughterhouse in the East End to watch some twat disembowel a London A-Z while shrieking about wounded ethnicity. Having to endure her husband’s circular, self-cherishing musings all the way home. And having to explain to callers, debtors and creditors alike that Iain isn’t in, because he’s “off on one of his walks again.”
Whenever Sinclair mentions her in one of his books it’s normally on the lines of: ‘My wife was very bored, and/or uneasy, while I was as gripped by excitement as Godard must have been making Sympathy for the Devil in the shadows of the great Hawksmoor church at Tower Bridge. I thought of William Blake …’
Bad reader. Naughty reader. Sinclair, to his credit, responded without rising to the bait.
Working at my screen, I needed to refer to a sheet of paper I have pinned up to my right. I dragged the mouse across the desktop towards it.
As my eyes flickered about the page, I waited for the mouse pointer to catch up, waited for it to arrive somewhere approximately right on the page, from where I could microcorrect it to click on the desired text.
When I’m subliminally disappointed that more of my life isn’t incorporated into computers, I know I need a holiday.
Announcing our stunning lipogrammatron.
For too long, any author licking at nib of a quill and poising it on a blank folio to scratch its mark lipogrammatically has fought against an unusual limit. In combination a human brain, its optic organ and linguistic flair usually do. But in tumbling up such a concoction of words as Tryphiodorus hard won, common skills will not always carry all. Our cunning author of such tricksy things must show also constant vigilant rigour. This taboo must not slip.
Now, lipogrammatron allows authors of a formalist colour to banish doubt by making any occult consonant vanish from sight - and from touch. This occurs by disabling that block on your touch-pad as out of bounds.
Lipogrammatron: as writing such a toy is not a work of E’s.
A book without words of action
Thoughts from this in Mr Hamm’s blog]
I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before this particular side effect of having a cold : time creeps along.
I woke up this morning feeling both horribly aware of my body shivering, and at the same time distant from the body. I didn’t get up, planning on a long slow crawl into work well after rush hour.
I dozed. I dawdled. I took a long bath. I finally got myself together and found myself ready for work.
It was 7:30. I was ahead of myself.
Perhaps my time perception is being knocked askew by the cold virus. Usually, I would expect to sleepwalk my way through a cold, the time melting away in the fever. On this occasion, it is holding firm.
There are some words where it’s almost impossible to impose a normative, public meaning over your own, erratically conceived personal meaning.
Most people these days don’t like moustaches because they are tragically unfashionable slivers of body hair. I’ve never got on with moustaches because I’ve never got on with the word. It has always seemed to me a bad word; a mischievous, unruly, untrustworthy piece of lexical gimcrackery. This is certainly because as a child I was perfectly aware of what a moustache was, but struggled to relate it to that mysterious combination of letters that I would read (usually in Biggles stories, where, regardless of circumstances, moustaches were always waxed). I was convinced that I was reading about ‘mouse-hatches’; while I could just about imagine mice themselves being waxed for typically unfathomable grown-up reasons, I could never grasp how or why one would wax their hatches.
As you may imagine, when I finally correlated the word with the thing, my world got slightly less mysterious if, I fear, slightly less interesting.
Most of these semantic hiccups are long gone from my mind, but one remains with the dogged persistence of, well, a dog:
I cannot see a shop-fitter’s van without misreading his profession as ’shop-lifter’. These workmen, I always think for a happy split-second before limp reality kicks in, are such professionals that they can advertise the fact that they are in the business of thieving you. For a brief and sunny moment, they seem as modern pirates, moved from the High Seas to the High Street, flying the Jolly Roger proudly as they park up in front of their target, daring it to try to escape, knowing that with their bravado and their cuirasses, they are unstoppable.
Sometimes, you know, I really prefer my world to yours.