July 12, 2005

Dr F isn’t in; hence my recurring presence as substitute. Never fear, he’ll be back. Betweentimes, a third guest is scheduled, starting at the weekend; Sunday, I believe. My presence here is transience itself — ephemera, pure and simple. I’m just a fleeting shade; but aren’t we all?

Need I identify this entry’s absent friend, Faustus aside? Hardly. It is, indeed, utterly predictable, as Pascale has already declared. Still, we might speculate: what awkward textual backwaters must we brave in this arbitrary cause, what twisty little passages all alike? And what verbal infelicities will, with grim inevitability, result? Read ’em and weep, ladies and germs. Read ’em and weep.

Is there anything justifying such an excruciating exercise? Can I perhaps hide my embarrassing writerly deficiencies behind this little game, applying tricksy linguistic legerdemain in a distracting spectacle all furnished in mist and silvered glass? Will I instead fumble the cards with amateurish hands, let slip the silk handkerchiefs, saw my beautiful assistant in halves I can’t then reattach?

Alternatively, is there a chance these limits might lay bare and circumvent a laziness in the way I — and by inference we — build sentences, a mechanical selectivity relentlessly preferring the familiar and clichéd? In struggling against stringent rules, can we find and awaken a slumbering creativity? That, at any rate, is what Perec, Queneau, Mathews and their experimental writing crew attempted; with admittedly variable results.

In any case, while this entry sequence is hardly breaking new turf, I’m finding it rather illuminating. The strictures within which I’m willingly writing here impart a surprisingly different lilt every time, each quite unlike my usual undisciplined style. Which is interesting in itself, and as well, inter alia, means this place remains distinct, during my fleeting stewardship, rather than merely transplanting Walky Talky. In truth, whatever it may appear, these paragraphs aren’t me at all.

Besides, it seems fitting. I became friends with Faustus, at least in part, via writing daft verses burdened with unnecessary rules. As much as anything else, this guest shift at The Search celebrates that humble beginning.

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6 Responses to Dr F isn’t in; hence

  1. patrick in nyc says:

    oh melodramatic matt:

    if i’m sniffing the right recipe, the spice withheld doesn’t seem proportional to the delicate magic of the stewpot’s remaining contents. was all this creativity kicked awake by one stringincy? so little removed and, voila, all this gained.

    maybe i’m missing the x factor. tell me matt-man, might this comment more happily adhere to tomorrow’s entry?

    patrick, metaphor mangler in new york city

  2. matt says:

    It might, patrick, it might.

    It’s true, much more is left behind than taken away. I guess it’s not the size of the absence that’s supposed to make a difference, but the need for constant vigilance. If you have to scrutinise every word, and backtrack and rewrite to get around obstacles, it might make the result more considered. Or it might just become mannered and contrived, like putting on a Mickey Mouse voice. Either works for me 🙂

  3. David says:

    Me like pretty writing.

    Ha Ha.

    Big funny words.

  4. Hanuman says:

    Matt Honey,

    Couldn’t you write about some hot guy on the subway, or some freak that you saw at Starbucks? This is getting a little tedious I’m afraid………

  5. ChanelBaby says:

    Dude. PLEASE. Write about something other than writing. I love this blog and I miss my daily jolt.

  6. matt says:

    [Hanuman] I don’t ride the subway and rarely darken the door of Starbucks. Given the fate of your earlier comment, there’s every chance that Faustus will vape this exchange, but in the meantime you may as well take on board that I have no intention of trying to be him, especially the him of two years ago you seem to want back, so deal with it.

    And, to continue in the same vein:

    [ChanelBaby] Love this blog all you like, but please don’t imagine it owes you anything. If and when it entertains you, at Faustus’s hand or anyone else’s, be grateful. And if Faustus chooses to go away you should be grown up enough not to sulk about it.

    Now. Dan is here from Sunday; you never know, perhaps he lives only to please you. Faustus will be back a week on Monday. In the meantime, you can read what I write or not, I really don’t care. Feel free to bitch and moan to your heart’s content. When you tire of that, there’s always the archives, or, you know, whatever passes for real life where you are.


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