What We Can’t Articulate

Tom McCarthy, “Kafka and the Crash of the System: An Interview with Tom McCarthy” by Jonathon Sturgeon, Flavorwire 26 February 2015

In a way, all of my books are about this kind of quest for the now, to close down the buffer zone of consciousness and self-awareness and irony or language or whatever. Just to close that down and occupy “the now” — which is an impossible or unrealizable fantasy. I guess that’s what Present Tense Anthropology ™ would be. But U. never achieves it. All he ever achieves is buffering. That space of delay and separation. . . . Nothing is less contemporary than contemporary art or fiction. Than art that has something to say about the now. I think the whole point of the now is that it’s precisely what we can’t articulate.

Stories That Would Prefer Not To

Jonathon Sturgeon, “In Praise of Literary Failure,” Flavorwire 30 October 2014

The book’s introduction, too, is one of the finer pieces of literary criticism to be released this year. Written by Andrew Gallix, editor-in-chief of 3:AM Magazine, which purports to be “the first literary blog,” the intro deftly surveys the gamut of literary failure. Especially good and poetic is Gallix’s take on the scourge of the writer, the blank page:

Blankness is the sine qua non for inclusion in the BDLF, but it is seldom sought after directly. Manuscripts and books remain blank to us through being censored, lost, drowned, shredded, pulped, burned, used as cigarette paper or wrapped around kebabs, fed to pigs or even ingested by their own authors…These brief biographies are sketches that merely gesture towards the possibility of narrative development; stories that are cut short or fall silent. Stories that would prefer not to.

The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure 300dpi