The persistence of the i

It’s been a while since I’ve written. And I still haven’t; not much any way. Today’s literary contribution is by my friend, and perhaps yours, Mark Lesseraux. Mark is widely known as a musician, composer. Now he is revealed as a writer.

Here’s a bit of the correspondence that passed between Mark, Rafael Edwards and me regarding this short tale, and the anecdotes that can be found in this blog or under the menu heading “Stories”/ “anecdotes”

Our discussion went like this:

Man! Kafka was a teddy bear compared to you.
What a night! I think Danny should put you up as a guest writer in his blog.

Wish i could say i created it … all i did was record what happened … can’t beat ready-made metaphors! 

This kind of realism that catches a moment as it was lived (i.e. not as fiction) but stripped of normal contextualizing deserves its own designation. That’s why on ( “anecdotes” under the “stories” menu) I wrote: “This collection of writings bears the title Anecdotes, not very inspired perhaps but I wanted, as described below, make it as clear as possible that these weren’t stories in the sense of fiction.” The explanation continues…

“I know that you are not too fond of Borges but I will quote him anyway. It will let me setup what this is not about, as well as supplying some missing literary veneer. That old blind librarian says: “…There is no satisfaction in telling a story as it actually happened. We have to change things, even if we think them insignificant; if we don’t, we should think of ourselves not as artist but perhaps as mere journalists or historians…”
…So let me be very clear, what follows then are not, as Borges would have it, stories. These are merely a few anecdotes that, I believe, hold a certain; lets call it, psychological interest. Perhaps I should title them something like: “notes toward a psychopathology of everyday life”.”

and with all that back and forth I forgot to mention how much I enjoyed this “story”.
Thanks Mark

Very enlightening Danny. A good theme this one. When I read Mark’s story, as it happens to me with your anecdotes, and more recently with Tony Robinson’s coffee, is that the first thing that strikes me is that I’m reading a honest account of something peculiar, and the writer makes it wonderful and superb, not by exaggerating or adding things to the soup, but simply because they themselves are capable of being in awe in front of these unfolding events. Then I’m not following a story, but a story-being-told, where my interest is more and more on the writer than in the writing. I don’t know, does this make sense?
PS: it’s the same that got me hooked on Vonnegut in the 1st place.

I agree. It’s not a specific style, more a sensiblity – whether more or less articulated. Not magical-realism, maybe realistic-magicalism.

Yes it does make sense, what you say Danny – Realistic-magicalism – nice

Mark do you mind if I repost your story and some of this conversation to my blog?

No, that’d be great. Thanks! did i include the title?  “Persistence Of The i”
ps:  Do you think “Christ Roach” is a better title? … it did walk across toilet water… or is that too much of a give away?

And that’s way longer than Mark’s anecdote (by whichever name) that you can read here.
The Persistence Of The i

The other night i had a dream at around 5:00am in the morning. In the dream i woke up (within the dream) in a slightly different version of my bed to find my sheets and quilt all smeared with patches of fresh cat shit. i leapt out of bed (in the dream) totally grossed out. Then i looked around and at the edge of the bed a middle sized gray cat, with patches of its own shit on its face, was rubbing up against the face of what appeared to be another cat. After that i woke up for real and went back to sleep again. This dream then repeated itself one or two times over the next 20 to 30 minutes in slightly different forms.

At around 5:30am(ish) i woke up (for real) again and went to the bathroom. When i turned on the light there was a HUGE roach lying on its back in my recently scrubbed, clean white tub.. At first i thought it was dead but as i leaned down and looked more closely at it i could see that its antennas were shifting slowly back and forth. Its body looked so marvelously brown and strong, almost muscular. i thought to myself, “If this roach were my size it could pull down this whole apartment building with its strength!”. Then suddenly, as if it had read my thought, its legs started to scramble furiously as it bounced up and down on its back atop the smooth white surface of the tub, unable to turn over and scoot away. i couldn’t bare to smash it and so i grabbed a paper towel and clasped it by one of its antennas. As i lifted it and moved toward the toilet bowl to flush it away i saw its limbs flailing furiously but also, somehow, gracefully. i thought, “What power and fight in this creature!” My admiration for it was beginning to equal how grossed out i was by it. i then threw it in the toilet bowl and hit the flush lever. The current pulled it all the way down. Whew!
i then grabbed a glass of water from the adjacent kitchen after which i went back to the bathroom to begin brushing my teeth. Just as i started to brush i looked down into the toilet … the roach was on top of the water, walking on it, traversing its surface, moving imperiously from side to side of the interior of the bowl. I quickly hit the flush lever and down it went again. i waited a good 15 seconds after the flush had finished before continuing with the brushing of my teeth. This time it was gone … or so it seemed to be …