The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Authors on Authors #6

"Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the'."
Mary McCarthy (on Lillian Hellman)


Vanwall said...

Literary cat-fights are fun. Honest.

Tom Sutpen said...

They sure are. And that one was so good even Norman Mailer, himself no stranger to literary feudin', jumped in with both feet.

I think it's a measure of how this society has declined that writers today don't get into these wars. The most recent was almost ten years ago; when Mailer, John Updike and John Irving (old timers all) decided to beat up on poor Tom Wolfe for writing a novel people not only bought, but read.

Vanwall said...

My hope is literary spats that do happen - I have faith in the monumental egos of even the least of scribes, so they will happen - are as entertaining as the Feuding-Norse-God - like affairs that we've enjoyed in the past. Great hammer blows, and bellowing invective will be de rigeur.

Robert Keser said...

Well, don't blame James Wolcott. He's doing his part in fanning the embers of lit-fighting in his extremely entertaining article demanding that "Jonathan Franzen must be stopped":

BillyRayBobiii said...

Isn't that Lillian Hellman