Gripes, Idle Musings and Vague Meanderings

If things have been a little quiet on this blog these past months, it is in no way a reflection on the quality or quantity of my thoughts. Like the smoke from the power station, the ideas never stop billowing forth from my oh-so-noble head. I call them ideas: you may call them gripes, idle musings and vague meanderings. No matter. The important point is that my silence cannot be put forward as evidence that I, Georgy Riecke, have in any sense stopped piercing the mists of obscure european literature.

If these ‘ideas’ have not reached this blog, where then have they gone? Underneath the Bunker (which continues to expand, albeit slowly, in all directions) is one answer. However, I have also been working on a larger non-digital piece of work. What this is I cannot say right now. Nor can I promise that I will divulge further details at a later date. All I can say is that another project exists, which has diverted my attention somewhat these last few weeks.

The inevitable question follows: for how long can my dear readers expect my attention to be diverted? Once again, I refuse to provide an unequivocal answer. I am not finished on this blog by any means, but one can hardly expect me to keep updating at the usual pace. Nor should this be expected of anyone. In our desperation for ‘new’ ideas and thoughts we overlook the wealth of information that is already out there. There are more than six hundred posts on this blog. Do not thirst for more when you might easily satiate your appetite on what is already there.

More on this, and other things, later.

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Article and Correspondence

Lucia Raus’s new novel, Article and Correspondence, comes out later this month, and it promises to be an invigorating read. Raus’s fictions, as you will probably recall, tend to take peculiar forms. Her most famous work, When I Stepped Out, It Was Then I Saw The Sky (reviewed here) purported to be the visitor’s book stolen from a holiday house in Albania, whilst the less popular Papa He Is Still Sick presented itself as a collection of letters written by a bored teenager in the late nineteenth century. Both works were, of course, fabrications – but Raus is a pig-headed soul, and stubbornly refuses to spoil her own party, remaining refreshingly silent on the question of authenticity. She clearly likes the idea that some readers will continue to be ‘taken in’ by her texts. And well they might, for there is (on a first reading at least) little to suggest the hand of a single master storyteller.

As far as I can tell, Article and Correspondence will continue the trend set by earlier works. According to the press release, the novel takes the form – as hinted by its title – of a newspaper article, followed by correspondence relating to that article. Much like Papa He Is Still Sick, the narrative (such as it is) builds up through a series of multi-authored letters. Because these letters are public, rather than private missives, a shift in tone will nonetheless be expected, which should yield interesting results.

I will of course say more as soon as I know more.

An Open Letter to Mediocrity

Hello Mediocrity. We meet so often, it’s no wonder we seem like friends. I have embraced you many times, shaken your warm and sweaty hands, kissed your crimson-cushioned cheeks, taken a walk in the park with you and your mediocre family. I have done all of these things at one point or another.

Despite this, we are not friends – for I love you not. I shiver every time your shadow touches mine. I have come to resent your constant intrusions into my life and work. As for your influence on the world at large: of this I can hardly speak.

I used to see you a lot: now I see you everywhere. Why so busy Mediocrity? How does your schedule allow for such copious movement? Have you ever considered the possibility that we writers may not enjoy your company at all? Oh, you are generous with your time – and affable enough in person – but one fears the repercussions of such sociability. One can have too much Mediocrity, methinks.

Perhaps some sort of holiday is in order? I hear the Maldives are marvellous at this time of year. Mongolia, meanwhile, might prove a memorable trip. How about it Mediocrity? I’ll pay for half the air fare, if that’s what is keeping you back. Or is it simply that you cannot leave us alone? You love us, I know. You have a ‘thing’ for us. Our culture fascinates you. You must have your say, day after day, month after month, year after year. You will not be silenced, I see that: not in the long term, anyway. But a break, just a brief break…

You’ve left us before, or so they say. In ancient times you were always taking holidays. During the fourteenth century, I hear, you were hardly ever seen – at least, not in Italy. Nowadays, however, you appear to have developed something of a sense of duty. You think we can’t get on without you. Well, I believe that you are wrong. I think we can. In fact, I think we can get along just fine (culturally speaking, that is).

Go on, prove me wrong. Take a break and see what happens. Get on a boat, a plane, a horse, a hovercraft, a rocket, a train, a lorry, a tram: whichever mode of transport suits you (I see you on a train, personally speaking, or in a family car). Get on that bus, that ship or that helicopter and give us a chance to work outside of your shadow. It needn’t be long. I’d take a month. But it needs to happen, some way or another.

Are you listening, Mediocrity?

Some More Superfluous Words

There are too many books in the world, too many websites in the world, too many words in the world being used in too many pointless situations. No wonder so many words remain unread.

Sadly, the balance is not as it should be. Greater writers are ignored, whilst lesser talents take the limelight. This is as it has always been. Some of us are, however, continue to fight for change by aiming the beams of our torches towards the more shadowy corners of the literary world. I am one. ‘Writers No One Reads’ is another.

A word of warning. Not all of the writers they feature are completly unread. For instance, I’d hazard a guess that more people read Stefan Themerson than Egor Falastrom. For all this, the general message is both clear and correct. There is an untapped spring of esoteric european literature out there, where the water runs sweeter than it does in the great rivers of mediocrity that we call ‘popular culture’. Go forth, reader, and drink!

The Death of Vincent

A couple of money-spinning spiders masquerading as investigative biographers have recently claimed that Van Gogh did not commit suicide, but was in fact shot by a couple of bullies. Their one thousand page book suggests that they’ve done more research than your average conspiracy theorist, but the rest of the world remains sceptical of their thesis.

And rightly so. As any fool knows, Van Gogh died many years later than previously supposed, in a house in Denmark.

More on this, maybe, later.