from Animalinside by László Krasznahorkai and Max Neuman (The Cahiers Series):
(click image to enlarge)
Opened in June of 2012, James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace at Rice University was his 73rd completed Skyspace project. It is only a couple hundred yards from the primary parking lot for the university’s football stadium, but, shielded by the Shepherd School of Music, the construction hides itself from the steadiest stream of casual university visitors.
Since first starting to consider Turrell seriously after viewing his retrospective last year at LACMA, I’ve wanted to say that his work is post-representational. The use of totalizing color spaces, the manipulation of that most ephemeral substance light, the infinite rooms—I have a desire to say that when entering one of his spaces, I exit the world of real things. I am allowed to, momentarily, vacillate between wave state and particle state. But as I see more of his work, including “Twilight Epiphany,” I think more and more that this urge reflects my own underlying desires and drives to find a clean exit rather than that of the work itself.
** Bring me your tired, derivative, overwrought dead manuscripts, yearning to be erased from memory… This is the second in an ongoing series where authors get to share a piece of a novel/writing project that died long before it ever could have proven its worth to its parent, its master: the author. Instead of letting the maybe-horrible, maybe-unbearable Word doc remain untouched in some far off and forgotten file folder, why not let the readers at ENCLAVE have a look? Think of it as closure. They won’t laugh, I swear.
This time we have J David Osborne, author of Low Down Death Right Easy and Our Blood in its Blind Circuit sharing an excerpt from a dead novel entitled, “Toomoth.”
If you are interested in having an excerpt featured in the “From the Grave” series, be sure to email me at michael @ coping mechanisms dot net. **
Langley’s job options were limited. He trolled Monster. None of it seemed doable. Didn’t know what the fuck a Technical Adviser did. Craigslist was next. Those jobs seemed more realistic. He copied down phone numbers and thought about checking the For Sale section for couches, then thought better about it. He turned his computer off and sat on the floor where the couch used to be and tried to think of ways to get Carla back.
He purchased a Glock 19 from a handgun pawnshop on 19th and Lee. He’d been nervous, walking up to the frog-painted façade, intending to simply go in and get a few pointers on how he might end up with a permit and maybe, one day, eventually with a gun, but the alligator woman behind the counter had set her Beth Moore paperback to the side and coughed and told him, “Hell, son, you can take one of these bad boys home today, if your qualified.”
“How do I qualify?”
“You a felon?”
“Got any warrants?”
“I’ve had one, once.” He felt stupid even as he said it, like he was bragging. It was a nothing warrant, a clerical screw up on a speeding ticket.
“But do you have one now?”
The old woman waddled around the counter and flipped up the divider and came right up to him. She looked into his eyes and clawed around the pockets of her jeans. Lit a cigarette and blew smoke in his face. “So you qualify.”
“Did you bring it?”
The alligator woman smoked thoughtfully. She looked him over, turning him over in her mind. Trying to figure out if he was playing her or just stupid.
“Your permission slip.”
Langley had the feeling when he walked into the shop, that you’re-in-the-grocery-store-and-that-weird-looking-guy-is-really-happy-to-have-his-bag-of-chicken-nuggets-could-he-be-retarded? feeling. Something about the shopkeeper’s underbite, and the way she ground it and muttered to himself tipped him off, but, like with most people with the feeling, the realization that this person was, in fact, not all there, he suddenly felt the urge to play along, to patronize, but for the love of God, not to look in the eyes.
Joseph D. Haske’s North Dixie Highway was released in late 2013 by Texas Review Press. It’s a grimy, tight gem of a read. Highly autobiographical, the novel flitters non-chronologically across a life of war, chicken butchering and hard drinking. But it’s poetic the way the blues is poetic, charming the way town-drunks can be.
I thought we’d ask Joe some questions.
Enclave: Let’s start small; what is the North Dixie Highway, and why write about it now?
Joseph D. Haske: It’s a road I’ve been traveling down for quite a while now, deep into the fictional world that’s consumed me for the better part of five years. It actually is a real highway, though, or at least a series of connected roads that bring north and south together in most of the eastern U.S. It was an ambitious project in the early 20th century at a time when motor vehicles were still relatively new. There are sections of the Dixie Highway all over the eastern U.S. The north most tract actually ends in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where much of the book is set.
The Dixie Highway was always sort of fragmented, and it’s even more fragmented these days. Still, as I’d travel around the country, Dixie Highway signs would pop up everywhere: south of Chicago, in central Georgia, around northern Ohio, in various parts of Florida–all over the place. Then there’s that strange tract of Dixie Highway in the eastern U.P., where I grew up. As I mention in the Prologue, the E.U.P. section wasn’t actually connected to any other land mass, at least until the Mackinac Bridge came along, which makes it a particularly lonely stretch of highway.
The construction of the highway is a really interesting story in itself, but the concept of the highway alone spoke to me on a deeper, literary level. I realized early on in writing the book that the Dixie Highway worked well as a sort of unifying/disunifying metaphor, given the travel motif, the temporal and geographical shifts in the novel, and, in general, the sort of schizophrenic nature of the protagonist.