For some years now I’ve been planning to streamline my reading, to focus on what may be most important for my education (in the restricted sense of university degrees) and my vocation as a poet, while still keeping me alive and engaged with what surrounds me. This plan goes awry every second day. I find new books, new genres, new writers, new styles that interest me, so I can’t go on my Nin-trips across sexuality or return to Dostoevsky as often as I would like.
And then, whatever books I’m reading (there are usually at least three at any given moment) are abandoned for hours, days, weeks at the most, for something I have found online. I subscribe to about fifteen blogs, which isn’t much; I read the Guardian book section with some regularity; people twitter things that I can’t help but read. And then there’s Google. And Ron Silliman, whose regular web surveys of the literary e-world force me to read things I would never have found myself.
Increasingly I’ve been able to allow for different spaces to exist in my mind to accommodate the diverse materials that bombard me. JL suggested to me that this was a female quality: the art of multi-tasking. Is it quite that? It’s true that I like six or seven tabs running at the same time, along with two or three chat windows and at least one Word document. Sometimes I also have music playing. Anyway, I don’t have any theories about this sort of thing. It’s engagingly postmodernist. I feel fragmented and yet whole at the same time. Don’t laugh.
The distractions are good, though. The latest one has been — noticeably, I’m sure — Ballard. It’s amazing what journeys film can send you on; this is all Cronenberg’s fault.
Phill twittered a couple of things to me: JG Ballard and David Cronenberg interviewed by Mark Dery on the ocassion of Cronenberg’s film version of Crash. Stunning, really. Kk sent me a lecture delivered by Philip K Dick in 1978 called How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart. Thought I’d recommend them here, in case anyone was interested.