Rudy Gay Traded Roberto Bolaño Roberto Bolaño


I had an idea for a post and then my brother asked me how to spell “Rudy Gay” and I forgot my idea for a post. That’s not strictly true: I had an idea for a post and then I started to leave the room in order to write my idea and then I looked at my brother’s computer and saw he was looking at the results for the NHL game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins which the Bruins won by a score of 5-2 and I wanted my brother to look up the information about the Rudy Gay trade (which I’d already read over several times and privately determined was “mostly non-compelling”) and so I asked him why he wasn’t already reading about Rudy Gay and he asked me how to spell Rudy Gay and I made a pretty bad joke and continued walking out of the room and by that time I had completely forgotten what I was going to write. 

I think it was something like “publicly writing about my actual life, which for various reasons I have been largely afraid to do, for a period in excess of one year, is a good exercise and has stimulated every other kind of writing I do.” But I’m not sure if that was it exactly. 

Rudy Gay played for the Memphis Grizzlies, then the Toronto Raptors, and now the Sacramento Kings. He was drafted in the same year as Andrea Bargnani, Bargnani who was drafted first overall by the Toronto Raptors. Now Andrea Bargnani plays with Metta World Peace and Carmelo Anthony on the New York Knicks. Amar’e Stoudamire, who also plays for the Knicks, is injured (I think). 


I might have also wanted to write about Roberto Bolaño, because I just made my brother read a story, “The Colonel’s Son,” that one of Bolaño’s translators or maybe his heirs, or more likely a translator on behalf of his heirs, had published in Granta in the fall of 2011. My brother read the story and liked it but asked me what is it about Roberto Bolaño’s writing that makes him so good, because he honestly didn’t know, because he didn’t think the story was all that special, and I said something like “No one writes about those things the same way he does, no one else could write that story about a ‘B’ movie and make it both more and less than a ‘B’ movie…” which seemed to satisfy him but didn’t satisfy me. If I continued in that vein I would have said something more about the ‘B’ movie Bolaño invented for that story, which was more elaborate and depraved and better than probably any ‘B’ movie I’ve ever seen or will ever see. A ‘B’ movie that somehow seems to question not only the reality of the character narrating the events of the ‘B’ movie but also reality itself. Why? I don’t know, it has something to do with the nature of love as portrayed in the movie, the way it all ends in fire and violence, and, probably, the boredom of the narrator, who, though transfixed by the movie he watched, relates its events in a provisional or half-remembered style. As if despite the violence that love engenders, and its real effect on him, it’s just as commonplace or mundane as everything else. Which makes everything either full of meaning or devoid of meaning, depending on how you see it. 

Thinking about it later, on the couch before I got up and started talking about Rudy Gay, I realized I should have said something about the way that Bolaño’s writing seems to revoke itself constantly, as if Bolaño realizes that nothing can truly be said because everything written always contains its opposite, and maybe not only its opposite but its true negation: everything that could possibly be written but wasn’t. That’s what makes Bolaño so good, that he knows what he’s writing is maybe a little bit bullshit, because all writing is performance, but he’s got to say it anyway, or it has to speak itself. Somehow, because of this, he doesn’t pull any punches. Even the most vacant Bolaño story is never boring. 

There’s more that I could say about Bolaño, but I’m not going to write it all down now, because this is just an exercise and even though I don’t want to treat like an exercise—ie, as something I can just brush off—I’m done for the moment, long out of the room where I left my brother with the copy of Granta and his open computer and Rudy Gay, and I’m ready to move on.

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