This is a new post. I’m writing this post in the middle of the same coffee shop where I always sit. I am in the above photo, at the furthest point from the camera, behind the counter of the reception area (I am not sure you can even see the reception area in this photo). That’s why I saved the photo to my computer.
Above the square-dancing residents of Dufferin County hangs a wooden sculpture of a killer whale. It’s not there anymore. Now it’s hanging in Kingston. It’s not, as one guest speculated, that dinosaur that begins with “I… Ich…” It’s not an Icthyosaur. It’s a mammal. It’s not even anything, really, just cedar shaped into something it is not.
Somehow this wordpress window feels more real than the coffee shop I’m sitting in. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it feels like I’m acting more directly on this wordpress window than I am on my environment at the coffee shop. I have about five pages left in Tao Lin’s Taipei, a book I read ~120 pages of in June and ~120 pages these past two days. But I didn’t bring the book with me—I left it at home.
I think I agree with Bret Easton Ellis that Taipei is a boring book. It’s not a bad book, but it is a boring one. I think it is the worst book by Tao Lin I have read so far, but I’ve enjoyed all of his books, so I don’t know if that necessarily means it is terrible. Who puts down a book with only five pages left? This is an indication that it is boring.
If I were Tao Lin I would not have thanked my editor in the acknowledgements, because there are one or two sentences that don’t resolve. Or maybe they do resolve but I would need to see them on a Macbook to understand them. That’s fucked. It’s not like reading The Turn of the Screw or something, or, like, Gertrude Stein, in which you know the sentences are “correct” or “resolve” and you just let them wash over you anyway. It’s not like reading dense criticism. Or Derrida, who you can hate for his sentences (though translated, I guess) but understand that they at least make some kind of vague sense. There are just some bad sentences.
Okay, if I were Tao Lin I would thank my editor because he probably had a lot of work to do. Maybe those sentences were “stet” by Tao Lin and I’m just “dense” or something. (I don’t think I’m dense.)
Why did I pick up Taipei again? Why was I suddenly so motivated to finish reading it? By way of answer I’m going to tell a story about a butcher who practiced “in ancient times.” I think I read about him in some kind of Buddhist text, whether it was a primary text or just a commentary, I don’t know. This butcher was able to take apart an entire animal with almost no effort, because he understood where to put his knife where it would meet with the least resistance. A good butcher would have to change his knife every 5 years but this man, who was now quite old, had used the same knife since his apprenticeship.
What I’m trying to say is that if you wait for the right moment, sometimes things come easier to you than if you try to force it. I think there is a book for every moment.
(Of course there is value in reading through something you don’t want to read, because you come to understand something you’re not accustomed to.)
In the second photo I’m sitting in a coffee shop. But not the coffee shop I’m sitting in now.
This is a real blog entry. This is a real blog entry.