Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sinclair Beiles, name-dropping, shame and self-hatred ( Paul Wessels)

we criticize in others that which we most fear in ourselves. The trueism comes, i think, from pirsig's gorgeous zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance. perhaps it was freud he was paraphrasing, i don’t know, but i like it anyway. so i want to apply this to the charge of name-dropping. sinclair beiles is often accused of having been a name-dropper. most recently by stephen gray, who himself name-drops allen ginsberg. but that’s another story. here, i want to talk about what we fear in ourselves. we fear invoking the consequences (im-press by association) of a sign (big name) we feel we are simply unworthy of (or something like that). we feel unworthy. so stephen feels unworthy of associating himself with a god of the stature of allen ginsberg (even dylan bowed to ginsberg). but, because he fears the wrath of his own censure, he criticizes sinclair for name-dropping. and then, parapraxis: he namedrops allen ginsberg.

anyone who knows anything about allen ginsberg knows that he was a tireless promoter of kerouac, burroughs. his generosity of character lived long into his life and beyond it.

and here, i do not think it a valid issue to ask why belies was never promoted by ginsberg. well, perhaps the fact of the matter was that belies was not quite of the same stature as kerouac and burroughs. clearly he was not, or, clearly ginsberg felt he was not. who cares and who would like to criticize allen ginsberg for his own opinions? why didn’t you promote sinclair shamelessly? huh? now that’s the question. its noones fault, but certainly not ginsbergs, but you, you reading this, why didn’t you shout sinclairs name fro the rooftops – before he was dead!

the great dambudzo marechera got it right ages ago when he said that he was not a walking tribe. we need mediators, we need intercessors. without that, them, those, us, forget it.

the question we need to ask of ourselves, is this: why are we so terrified of promoting those we admire, like, respect, whatever you want to call it? perhaps sinclair would not have given into the black hole of madness, the infinite regress of madness (if only extreme neurosis) if he had promoters down here, earlier, before the lampposts and dustbins started making threatening gestures – or whatever his personal demons were. besides, writers are allowed to be difficult bastard pieces of shit. we owe them that much. we owe ourselves the generosity of spirit to namedrop the worthy. perhaps philip zhuwao may not have had to die in his little room in zimbabwe with his tens and tens of books piled behind the door if some of you reading this had perhaps passed his name along, and along with some buffalos, namedropped him in the twilight of his twenty odd years on this radioactive, cop-ridden planet as burroughs puts it. momentum, even if its only like aryan saying my name (paul wessels) out loud by writing it down. and only my reading that, my experiencing his generosity of spirit, got me to forget about myself long enough to forget about breaking my shin bone and severely dislocating my ankle; getting pneumonia whilst trying to recover; getting punched in the face with a pulmonary embolism and heart attack in quick succession, and to bother writing this, connecting with you who are reading here, right now. my demon lover, kathy acker, says that a book needs a reader to come alive, without the reader, it’s dead. she told me that all writers are orpheus looking for their eurydice. what applies to books applies to writers.

the great bessie head (who is not a feminist icon) said that she wrote because she had the authority from god to do so, that she was going to build a fucking ramp right up there to the stars. we wouldn’t know this, us who are gathered here, now, reading this if it weren’t for ntone edjabe.

aryan didn’t save my life by mentioning my name. but in a way he did, because he gave me the authority to share some stuff i’ve been wanting to share but didn’t know how to. turn it into fiction? write a confessional i feel so sorry for myself? what? how? send everyone i know an email? start a blog? maybe just start going backwards and inside out cause i’ve forgotten how to connect.promote your friends and those you admire.

i admire aryan kaganof.if i weren’t me, i’d like to be him.

john whiteside parsons got the description of those who fear or hate themselves right.

question is, what are you doing about it?

‘and man, self-castrated and self-frustrated, flees down the corridors of nightmares, pursued by monstrous machines, overwhelmed by satanic powers, haunted by vague guilt and terrors all created of his own imagination. he escapes into absurdity, drowns his spirit in pretence, worships tin gods of success. then, shamed by his pretenses and frustrated by his self-denial, he frenziedly projects his horror on imagined enemies, seeks release in scapegoats and false issues, and propitiates anthropoid gods, the blackened and shattered eidolons of his spirit, with sacrifices of blood.'