Thursday, September 09, 2010

Vanishing Judgment: A Blog Post

Blogger wonders if she should refer to herself as Author or Reader.

More sense. This blog post might make if you have read Markson, David. Vanishing Point. Washington, D.C.: Shoemaker & Hoard, 2004.

(Or if you have read any of Markson's experimental works, Reader imagines.)

Lectio Divina is Latin for divine reading, spiritual reading, or "holy reading" and represents a traditional practice of prayer and scriptural reading intended to promote communion with God and to increase in the knowledge of God's word. Says Wikipedia.

We have a collection of fragments here, although fragments of what is unclear. How Litlove described Markson's Reader's Block.

Reader counted something like 1500 fragments in Vanishing Point.

Author desires to tell a story but has become hung up on telling the truth.

Trivial Pursuit, playing. Probably not something to do with David Markson, unless he is on your team.

It's impossible to read these fragments and not to try and do something about them, search for patterns and significance. Litlove said, again, about Reader's Block.

As I think you may know, this sort of stuff is not normally my cup of tea. So Reader commented on Stefanie's blog.

Wikipedia goes on to say that Lectio Divina is a way of praying with Scripture that calls one to study, ponder, listen, and, finally, pray and rejoice from God's word within the soul.

"...from God's word within the soul?" Did Author get that right?

Most of the book consists of book, art, and music trivia. What Stefanie said about Reader's Block.

Author could write story after story from these collected fragments. No wonder Markson's "Author" is so exhausted.
Merely counting all the fragments was exhausting.

Vanishing Point is the only one of Markson's experimental works that the Lancaster County, PA library system owns.
Categorized as FIC.
Subtitle: A Novel.

Novel: an invented prose narrative that is usu. long and complex and deals esp. with human experience through a usu. connected sequence of events. So says the Tenth Edition of Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.

But is it really a novel? You think not? Well who died and made you queen of novel demarcation? reviewer Vegantrav demands to know after reading Vanishing Point.

Lectio Divina has been likened to "feasting on the word." Many write down the words that speak out to them when they are reading scripture.

Author has written down Markson's words "to tell the truth."

The pretense of thinking one knows anything about a book one has not read.

Reader wonders about the truth of what Markson writes.
She stops caring when she realizes how much fun she is having.

"Playful" and "fun" were bullied and kicked about and nearly lost consciousness. "Fun" is for Raymond Chandler...not something like this.
So Reader said in response to Litlove's quote from Reader's Block.

Writers are liars -- unquote. From Erasmus Fry in conversation, 6 May, 1986 (or, at least, so notes the first page of Neil Gaiman's Dream Country).

Reader wouldn't want to be given the task of fact checking Markson.

I thought the book was smart, beautiful, unique, and, at times, moving. At times, I found it dull -- unquote. Dorr on Wittgenstein's Mistress.

Author wishes to avoid dull.
Are lies more dull than truth? Is truth more dull than lies?

Reviewer Richard Flynn at concluded that Vanishing Point is a great novel, unless you are in the mood to read a novel.

Original or striking, esp. in conception or style. So Webster's also defines novel.

Reader is reconsidering her aversions to/fear of Ulysses and The Magic Mountain.

A hat might taste okay cooked up Tex Mex style. Or maybe it should be stir fried.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Someone once said.

Markson's words: "to tell the truth."

Distinguishing between imitation and mockery.

And they lived happily ever after (Author is not mocking -- or lying -- she promises).
Reader, write your own story (truth or lie).


litlove said...

Lol! What a lovely, clever review! Markson would have delighted in this one, I feel sure. And I'm so glad you were won over to his crazy style. The trivia is really good, like Hello magazine for literary obsessives (so it works for me).

Smithereens said...

Oh my goodness, I'm not ready for experimental fiction. But comments are fragments too, I realize. Commentator feels faint.

Stefanie said...

Oh Emily, what a marvelous post! I was grinning the whole time. Brilliant review. bravo!

Rebecca H. said...

Great! I will have to brave the possibility of some more dullness and read more Markson.

Cam said...

I guess one would have had to read the work to understand this as a great review. I'll defer to the opinions above who get it. To me, this sort of fragmentation is like watching a foreign film where the subtitles are white on light. I don't think I could make it through the work.

I kept thinking as I read this: I see Emily Reader and Emily Author, but was Emily Editor off in another room sulking that Author and Reader were having so much fun? Or did Editor figure out the rules and play along?

Emily Barton said...

Litlove, yes I was definitely won over by his crazy style (completely hooked, actually). And "Hello Magazine for literary obsessives"? Exactly.

Smithereens, when you are ready for experimental fiction, I would start with Markson (but read him in French. I can't imagine having to translate while the brain is so busy trying to put together a story).

Stef, thank you. Writing it gave me even more respect for Markson, because it was so damn difficult to do. I'm glad there are bloggers out there like you who challenge me to read such stuff.

Dorr, I, too, plan to risk dullness and read more. Perhaps we should read one of his (pre-experiemental-make-money-writing) mysteries for the book discussion group.

Cam, LOL. I would have had the same reaction before I'd read him. And that clinches my feelings that people definitely have to have read him for this post to make any sense. I also realize that if I've left you that confused, I am obviously nowhere near the writer that he is. In other words, Emily Editor THINKS she figured out the rules and played along (but she just hasn't had much practice and isn't all that good yet). She has no idea how Markson took it to the level of converting an extreme skeptic and being completely addictive that he did.