Good Reading

A dream of running; A Gary Amdahl interview

Man and woman in the moon

Last night I dreamed that I was a man who attended his old friend’s wedding. I drank something that was tinged with cheetah, and the dogs at the wedding smelled me and panicked. Everyone thought I was a threat, so they began chasing me. The good thing was that being tinged with cheetah meant I could run very quickly. I ran so long and so quickly, through green forests and half-ruined stone mansions on the sides of cliffs. My pursuer, a blonde woman, was clever and sent a balloon after me, which could fly much faster than she could run. I knew somehow that once I stopped they would find me. But it was a nice dream in which I felt almost — almost! — unstoppable.

I read a very nicely written interview with Gary Amdahl on Esquire a few days ago. It’s an old interview, from 2008. I found it googling “Gary Amdahl” after I read the beginning of one of his stories in A Public Space. While I enjoyed reading the entire article — Amdahl has a poetic and desperate way of expressing himself — what I would like to share is this quote, which I now quote from Amdahl:

“Oh, when fate has thrown one into the prison of art, he may nevermore escape it; he remains confined within the unsurpassable boundary on which the transported and beautiful occurrence takes place, and if he is incompetent he becomes a vain dreamer within this enclosure, an ambitious trifler with un-art; if, however, he is a real artist he becomes despairing, for he hears the call beyond the border and all he may do is to capture it in the poem but not to follow it….” Thus Hermann Broch, in The Death of Virgil, written while resident in a concentration camp.

Maybe! Sometimes I wonder what I am doing tinkering around with small stories when it sometimes feels as if the world is falling apart. Who knows what the right thing to do is? And when one makes a decision, and acts upon it, one realizes it was not the right thing to do at all. Or that there are all these other things one should have taken into consideration, that one should have been aware of. O, the machinery of the universe! How it befuddles one.

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