Nobody's creekbed

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The Anterior Insula and Hwy W

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Of course there is no accounting for taste, and mine is made by privileges, biases, markets, algorithms, and countless other invisible social constructions, but oh, oh, dang, Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon is one unbelievable U.S. novel—beautiful, horrifying, critical, subversive, double-voiced, heteroglossic, mind-altering, vivifying, singularly funny.

A weird minor history. I read Mason & Dixon in 1998 on borrow from the Brooklyn Library, a darkish period where I was slowly, even painfully, returning to the the practice of reading after its long woeful absence (my worst, most selfish, self-involved, and destructive periods have also been those I was not reading, or reading far too little, or within winnowed frame of reference). I know I enjoyed and was moved by the novel because I do remember, upon finishing it, weeping in the small apartment I then shared with my sister. But, fast forward 20 years later, I just re-read the book over many weeks and made a shocking realization: I remembered nothing of detail from that first read. Nothing save a vague approximation of the novel's final lines. And though I thought myself even then someone who knew something, I see now that after that first 20-odd years of so-called schooling I had no grasp whatsoever of anything vital—history, philosophy, science, art, literature or whatever—truly anything beyond me-producing consumer culture, especially and most importantly magic, the suprarenal, the unsaid and unknown, others and others and others. Re-reading Mason & Dixon, which demanded I read a whole network of other texts in the process, helped me appreciate that I I have come a little way, very little on sum, but that I yet have universes and universes to inquire.

Here's to patience, focus, endurance. To read, learn,  breathe, be at length. Of and alongside others.

Crying again.