Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Hanging out and procrastinating with a couple of other laggard Pynchon bloggers

It seems some of us who set out to scale the heights of Mt. Against the Day are falling behind. Granted, the Chumps of Choice are still flying briskly along, as if in their own private airship with a full crew (the "Convenience"?) with seemingly nothing but blue sky ahead. These intrepid Against the Day group bloggers are up to p.317 as of today. Their attention firmly fixed upon their goal, they're annotating and commenting up a storm, and Telluride is mentioned, as well as Butch Cassidy.

Some of us more solitary pilots of our own private craft seem to be lagging a bit. Moi, I haven't ATD-posted since Feb. 26, when I noted my bookmark was on p.49, though it's unclear how long it rested there.

"Recovering academic" SteelR at Blogging Pynchon has not posted since Jan. 29. (In the interim, I went to his profile and discovered two other blogs well worth your time: Limited Jest -- "talking back to CNN, NPR, the NYT..." -- and the self-explanatory Shaky: a Parkinson's blog. The latter contains only six posts over the last several months, but each spare, laconic entry is unforgettable, and the first, "Pay attention," is truly remarkable. Thank you, SteelR.)

Meanwhile, The Bedside Crow hadn't posted on ATD since Jan. 30. And after such a promising start, too. In Against the Day a page a day#4 he noted in passing a fear no doubt shared by many readers.
Blige, I almost dropped it down the toilet this morning. You want Cloakroom Classics? I'll give you hardcore Cloakroom Classics. Imagine calling out the plumber.
Have you any Idea what might be blocking your pan?

Yes, 1084 pages of prime Thomas Pynchon in the UK Jonathan Cape edition with the white cover that marks easily.
And then in his next post -- Against the Day a page a day#5 -- he expands on both the complexities of the book and his near miss, with accompanying photo that illustrates the hazard.
And suddenly I have the distinct, queasy feeling that I am in this way over my head. There are people here linking to people here who are reading ATD as a multi-dimensional inter-narrative of coinciding realities in differentiated time and space whilst, at best, I am talking about what might happen if you were to accidentally drop your copy into the crapper.
Presumably he continued to preserve his copy of ATD from disaster, but his Pynchon posts became infrequent and then stopped. I hardly noticed, because Bookseller Crow has so much other neat stuff on his blog about life, literature, bookselling and customer relations in his London bookstore. And then -- blimey! -- he reappears today after an absence of more than a month from the Pynchonian ranks with Against the Day a page a day #8.
Nikola Tesla pioneer of electrical engineering is working on a World-System for producing huge amounts of electrical power that anyone can tap into for free, anywhere in the world, because it uses the planet as an element in a gigantic resonant circuit.

Of course, it is the free bit that Vibe objects to. He asks Vanderjuice to invent a counter-transformer to nullify the effects of Tesla's invention.

Finance is arranged and the Professor is left to stare into the depths of his ancient hat, as if it were the vestiary expression of his present situation.
I welcome Crow back to the quest, even if he has only made it up to p.33 or thereabouts, and I am moved to offer my own birthday tribute to Tesla, which I posted last July 10 -- influenced, no doubt, by my future reading of ATD. That's the way things are in what Crow referred to as "a multi-dimensional inter-narrative of coinciding realities in differentiated time and space," or what I thought might be a chronosynclastic infundibulum, where time flows in both directions. Which is why, in the end, there's no real hurry to complete my journey -- against? up? through? -- Against the Day. It will happen in its own time.


Dr Diablo said...

So you're going to take YOUR OWN SWEET TIME reading and reporting on AGAINST THE DAY? If so, either you didn't see my post just below or you have a heart of ice. I'm in a jam here, pal. As I've said, I need regular commentary on ATD so I can impress friends with it.

This noon, a friend asked me how I would characterize ATD so far. I didn't want to lose my spot in the cafeteria line--Salisbury steak today--so I was trapped. I said, "I would call it Bunyanesque, an ironical, postmodern allegory." He was preternaturally eager to hear more, I think because he sensed I was BSing. I've never even been able to skim the Cliff Notes for PILGRIM'S PROGRESS, so I took a desperate measure. I claimed my cell phone was vibrating and blurted into it, "Hello. Mom? Who passed away?" This caused my interlocutor to slip away discretely, but...he'll be back.

So please let's hear from you soon. Is the book in any sense allegorical? I need to know. Soon.

Madison Guy said...

Not sure I can help you, Dr. Diablo -- you really put your foot in it with that allegory thing. You would have been much better off telling your friend it was an aubade with utterands or a chronosynclastic infundibulum. Or perhaps you could have tried to deflect the questions by shrugging and reminding your interlocutor that Luc Sante characterized the book as "a baggy monster of a book, sphinxlike and intimidating in its white wrappers."

I am sympathetic to your plight, however, and had you in mind when I wrote this post and put in all those links. I hoped that if you really needed your regular ATD fix as much as you said you did, you could be pointed to the Chumps of Choice group blog, where they really are zipping along at a pace more to your liking. (And lots there to pass of to your friends as the result of your own cogitation.) Or, if you'd like to continue hanging with the dabblers, but just want more of them, I added links for The Bedside Crow and Blogging Pynchon.

Finally, there is always the possibility of acquiring your own copy of ATD and in a true gesture of Emersonian self-reliance becoming a Pynchon blogger yourself. Pynchon bloggers everywhere would welcome another contender with your keen and penetrating insights.

jonathanm said...

Hi, just noticed that you noticed. Thanks for that (and the kind words) There will be more.