26 September 2008

Letter 3.46

Your encyclopedia arrives and arrives and arrives. Helps in many ways, of course. For instance, to my question of why Mohel didn't fly to Samadhi, your reply that he likes 'boat lag' explains everything, and no further explanation is necessary. On the other hand, the explanation that you once saw a bomb-scare at a U.S. consulate explains nothing, for the question here, as elsewhere, is not the question of 'is it possible?', nor is it the question, 'is it in accordance with the philosophy of the book'? ditto for your 'holy-man-bullshit' explanation. It may very well be the point of the story, but is it the story? If the story isn't a coherent story, its point isn't a coherent point. How does the holy-man-bullshit routine help Mohel get the bones? Regardless of the point of the story. (I can invent reasons, of course, or else change the story; but I'd like to have your reasons, either on the level of 'he did it because it accomplished -- he hoped -- this and that...' or the 'he likes boat lag' level. But to say that it's philosophically correct is merely philosophically correct. What you say about the 'nursery-school notion' of cause-and-effect is perfectly true, and also beside the story. Perhaps to the point, but beside the story, which at least creates -- or tries to create -- the illusion of reason, connection, one action following another not merely sequentially but with some logic, moving with reason and economy towards a definite stated and promised goal. More gristle, please! More, more, more...

Your 'overloaded oakie in his old Model T' simile was excellent -- I had visions of you breaking down yourself when seeing all the paraphernalia I've unloaded from the story to lighten the load on the axles so it'll go somewhere -- that's what happened to me when I unloaded Getting Off, and it was me doing the unloading, not some stranger sleeping with my book -- and am now glad that you'll be glad to sec it lighter.

what fun it is to rummage through the pile, seeing what can be used here, what there, as I lighten the load and head that ol' Tin Lizzie into the westering sun...


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