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Withnail and I

There’s this scene in one of my all time favorite movies, Withnail and I, where I reaches into a sink full of dirty dishes piled a month high and jerks his hand back out. Withnail asks what it was, and I says, “Matter.” Matter as in something just bit me or was at least mobile. Matter as in Mother of God. “And so stirs the muck,” indeed. Regarding our conversation, this is the essence of tone:  It’s best when it accounts for remove. Now that the concept of a backdrop denotes a lily pad dropped dead and drowning back from whence it came to me, I see there is only one backdrop against which “Against…” is being told and they are all pressing times from that bench. At the train station. What does this mean for the reader? Hope. Hope like when it’s going on five past five and you come to a set of double-doors and the right one is locked, so you try the left, and someone custodial has left that one open for leavers, but it takes a little adjusting to to enter from a left-outswinger. And now I’m grandfathered in. Your story having aged to leverage is this. A liable or reliable exemption? 

I want to write about how you show we were all prehistoric once. Accounted for but unable to account. And later, from a remove, telling material. The matter at hand. Some might characterize your story as fragmented. Fine, but unearthly is truer. Do you think that if we had all of Sappho we could locate her writing any more, anymore? The boundary between prose and verse is actuarial. Here you are doing its long division shorthand. Simple. An adult looks at his childhood. Rounds up. Through hormones or no. Through with hormones. The act of deeding your deeds.   When you set out to write, you calcify, says Dewdney. That’s so close yet so far away. There are a ton of odds out there against a fossil, so the best way to be covered is tone. Mood is the muscle for movement, but tone is a bone. I hope it’s not a coincidence oste- prefixes both osteoporosis and ostentation? Sweat out the epochs or begin to crack. We never get much beyond being as showy as that first kick to mum’s stomach.

Posted 04/06/09
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