Panting for Nonik

As the deer pants for water, so our souls long for a collection of essays exploring the life and work of the late great Yevgeny Nonik, Russian madman and avant-garde writer extraordinaire. Earlier in the year I announced the existence of such a project, claiming that it would appear before the end of the year. Someone wrote in, mocking my confidence. I replied, mocking his mocking.

Did I speak too soon? It wouldn’t have been the first time. Still, I had every reason to believe that Full Stop?: A Tribute to Yevgeny Nonik would be completed before 2010 poked its mule-like head through December’s cheery pane of glass. What’s more, it should be said that Egg’s argument (for it was he) was illogical at best. It did not revolve around a sensible suspicion of publishing dates for important literary projects. It revolved around the fact that he doesn’t like me, and thinks I am lazy.

He may be startled to discover, therefore, that any setbacks from which the Nonik project has suffered (and there have been a few) cannot be blamed on my having done too little work, but too much. A hungry child first in line at a church buffet has less on its plate than I do at the moment. Eschewing my duties I am most certainly not. Duty and I roll in the hay like two young lovers. I barely have time to pause for breath.

What does all this amount to? Well, firstly, I think I can safely say that the Yevgeny Nonik book will be arriving a little later than I’d hoped it would. When it does arrive, however, I can confidently claim that it will be much the better for its long gestation period. When one oversees a project as important as the first collection of critical essays on Yevgeny Nonik, one doesn’t wish to scrimp on quality. Suffice it to say, the wait will have been worth while.

Secondly, there are other projects on the horizon (if not a little closer than that). One of these is at least as exciting as the Nonik book, if not more. In fact, I’m almost certain that it will stuff a sock into the mouths of all my critics. I can’t say any more than this at present, for various reasons, but I trust that this is enough to turn all your anticipation meters up to some high number (seventy-seven, perhaps, or eighty-two).

Needless to say, more on this later.


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