Thursday, August 31, 2006

Favorite Samuel Beckett Quote

I always thought old age would be a writer’s best chance. Whenever I read the late work of Goethe or W. B. Yeats I had the impertinence to identify with it. Now, my memory’s gone, all the old fluency’s disappeared. I don’t write a single sentence without saying to myself, "It’s a lie!" So I know I was right. It’s the best chance I’ve ever had.

—Samuel Beckett, at 74 (interviewed by Lawrence Shainberg for The Paris Review, 1981)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Back to Work

Suddenly the University is crawling with students, almost all of whom arrived literally overnight. It's a beautiful day and for a while I wandered the campus and the town feeling like an alien on my own planet. Which is, of course, ridiculous, since it's not my planet; neither I nor the University would be here if there were no students to teach. Besides, I've felt like an alien wherever I've gone my whole life, so what the fuck is new here?

I'm supposed to be working but instead I'm sitting here listening to The Breeders ("Last Splash", 1993) and writing this blog because, as I said, it's beautiful day, and I resent having to be indoors working, but I'm not outside because, as I said, I'm supposed to be working.

Listening to The Breeders makes me smile. I love girl groups! (My apologies to Jim McPherson, their drummer.) In this case, The Breeders' edgy cheerfulness (or is it cheerful edginess) is exactly what I need.

Thank you, Ohio. You've brought us The Breeders and Jonathan Winters (from Dayton); Chrissie Hynde, The Waitresses, The Bizarros, Rubber City Rebels, Devo, Albert Ayler, Robert Quine (all from Akron); Dead Boys, Pere Ubu, Nine Inch Nails, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, James Gang, Golden Palominos (all from Cleveland); Afghan Whigs (Hamilton); just to name a few. Then you helped bring us President Bush. Well, as Joe E. Brown said to Jack Lemon at the end of "Some Like It Hot", nobody's perfect; and let him who is without sin....