Tuesday, March 31, 2009


i don't know why but what i want to post won't post so i'm just going to paste it in the comments, fuck this

1 comment:

  1. Editor’s Introduction
    I met Richard Rawls entirely by accident. Accident because I was determined not to meet him. Meeting my heroes had tended to, in past incidents, lead in part to relentless stammering in the face of an unwilling superior, an incautious embarrassment regarded by those accosted by it as symptomatic of a greater stupidity, ingratiation and insincerity on my part, that is, the part of the smarmy acolyte, which conclusion, in most cases, has not been without basis. I am eager to impress. This will have been made clear.
    Richard Rawls, my unfathomable idol, the father of my creation, the unmeetable. Anyway, the unmeetable was met, and that was that; but naturally, that could never wholly be that. That would never truly meet its sister, the second—yet certainly not secondary—that. The meeting—or, perhaps, unmeeting—occurred at a traditionally public and unpretentious post-reading fete. Dick had read the first chapter of his then soon-to-be-published opus, Aware. The vast majority of attendees, including myself, had walked away visibly floored (to a greater severity than was typical of Dick’s post-reading impact, as anyone familiar with the chapter in question could not but expect) and prepared to chat, however superficially, with the unquestionably charming and personable young Dick at wherever he’d set up shop, here a low-key bar in downtown Manhattan. He was still drinking heavily at this time.
    I, however, had no intention of introducing myself to someone with whom I was already so intimately familiar. Let alone my surface neuroses, it would’ve been deeply unsettling and far-out to spend my neurotic currency catering to social rituals when face-to-face with a mind whose map—whatever could be verily known of it—I had long since memorized. Strictly speaking, prepossessions would be all out of order and scrambled.
    Not the case. It happened that Dick had read both of my novels and scattered stories. But those weren’t topics of conversation with Dick, besides a few sincere compliments. I even managed to resist the heady temptation to apprehend, as if by insinuation, new insights into his work. The work was absent, the mere residue of the man; my spate of sweat was no more than normal; my heart thumped at its regular rate, if insistently. It was immediately clear that the public perception of Dick wasn’t off the mark: kind, earnest, and—uncontrollably, as we have learned in the most tragic way—brilliant. Irradiant. Seven years later, we are finally undertaking the task of compiling, sadly enough—for the path has been lighted with the hope of its own never ending—RR’s famously elusive last known work: his experimental memoirs, Rise, Fall, Do Not Move.

    By compiled I mean actually compiled. Dick left us with his masterwork—utterly unlike anything else in his oeuvre: triumphantly reckless, democratic, spare, unraveled before it begins—ashambles. In his notes he specified a rigid order which vaults through his life with tendentious haste. Many chapters exist only in notes, which, in fact, due to their exhaustive detail and specificity, I, as a sort of author-editor, have in the text taken the liberty of writing as full-fledged prose in the precise, idiosyncratic style of the finished, or at least composed, work, having studied the text extensively and matched it rather thoroughly with the notes at hand. I have not marked these “interruptions” mostly for the sake of continuity and seamlessness, which two elements are necessary to be preserved, or rather cultivated, for the forthcoming text to find success qua text, not to speak of its rhetoricity, its peculiar motion, which I could not, by my wildest and most deluded ambitions, deign to impede.
    I am well aware of the problematics such a treatment presents. However, a heterodox text like this requires a commensurate approach to its completion and handling, without which, I think, it could certainly produce no reading except a misreading. While a level of improvisation is certainly present in the gaps left by Dick’s notes, I have done my best to render his remembered life—one characterized by mystery, self-retreat and alienation, to be sure—with his singular style, brio, reverence and restraint to the best of my ability. But Dick writes with a depth and strangeness which we all know as inimitable, and so, to an extent, my interpretations are doomed to failure—but—and this we know as well—what movement of writing is not? Specifically, since Rise, Fall, Do Not Move itself almost self-consciously ignores Dick’s established style, tropes, voice, etc., this text’s spirit becomes far less reluctant to mimicry or intrusion, and can be finished (due to its function, ironically), as I have said, as a text—insofar as a text can be finished—but not as an article of personal expression, a purgation—but—and it will always have been discovered that this is so—Dick’s memoir was consigned to failure in the latter two respects before it was imagined, written, un-finished: an impossible work. I am speaking of course of my friend’s true final production, his last novel, the coup de grace which says it all in silence: Dick hanging irretrievably from a rope, rising, falling with each swing. I write on his death in my appended essay, “The Symbology of Suicide.”
    Reading what follows is like keeping conscious in the heart of a tornado. Like trying to stand still in a hurricane. Like swimming through the center of a maelstrom. But no matter what, you are always never moving. There is no such thing as resistance because there is nothing to resist. You are stripped naked; wherever you find yourself is just a clearing, naked in kind. All else occurs in the periphery, the margins of experience. That’s that. But—we can give this as first principle of the act of writing, and Dick knew it all along, knew but could not believe in—that is never that. But for that to reach itself impossibly in full: that’s that’s-that’s own suicide.
    Alec Niedenthal