Posts Tagged ‘Suffering’

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

Posted: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 in Recommended

Read it here.

Recommended, especially for melancholy hipsters.


A Story

Now I will tell Meader’s story; I have a moral in view.
He was pestered by a grizzly so bold and malicious
That he used to snatch caribou meat from the eaves of the cabin.
Not only that. He ignored men and was unafraid of fire.
One night he started battering the door
And broke the window with his paw, so they curled up
With their shotguns beside them, and waited for the dawn.
He came back in the evening, and Meader shot him at close range,
Under the left shoulder blade. Then it was jump and run,
A real storm of a run: a grizzly, Meader says,
Even when he’s been hit in the heart, will keep running
Until he falls down. Later, Meader found him
By following the trail – and then he understood
What lay behind the bear’s odd behaviour:
Half of the beast’s jaw was eaten away by an abscess, and caries.
Toothache, for years. An ache without comprehensible reason,
Which often drives us to senseless action
And gives us blind courage. We have nothing to lose,
We come out of the forest, and not always with the hope
That we will be cured by some dentist from heaven.

–Csezlaw Milosz

Fascinating (yet brief) article by Ted Goossen on the history of apocalyptic literature in Japan. Click here. According to Goosen, the literature of apocalypse in Japan developed in three stages:
–Atomic bomb literature, which reached its peak with Masuji Ibuse’s novel, Black Rain, in 1966.
–So-called second-wave apocalyptic literature of the 70s and 80s, which depicted apocalypse as the violent cleansing of a corrupt world
–Contemporary apocalyptic literature, which began to appear in the mid-1990s after a major earthquake in the Kobe-Osaka area and the subway sarin gas assault by Aum Shinrikyo–major author here is Haruki Murakami.


Anis Shivani‘s “new rules for writers” is one big Fuck You to careerism, conformity, and any kind of literary  “success.” An excerpt:

The “system”–in all its manifestations–is in utter disrepair, decadence rather. The only way to conquer it is to humiliate it. This goes against everything you’ve heard, all the advice to play nice. But that gets you nowhere… Confound them. Bewilder them. Disrespect them. Mock them. “They” meaning all the authority figures in publishing…

Read more at:

Anis Shivani: New Rules For Writers: Ignore Publicity, Shun Crowds, Refuse Recognition And More.

(In other words, become this guy:

An interesting piece on MFAs. (See The Rumpus, Annelise Chen. )

Having been both pro- and anti-MFA in the same lifetime, even while enduring/barbaricyawping an MFA at a Famous MFA Place, the Bat Terrier found that often Chen’s prose seemed like a fingernail plucking at Ye Olde Crusty Wounde. Why does an MFA in Creative Writing, unlike, say, a Master’s degree in, who knows, Communications or Accounting, hurt so damned much?

Takeaways: The MFA may turn you into a creaky machine-human, perhaps like the Tin Man. Do not go into debt to be made into a Tin Man.