Distribution Automatique

Wednesday, August 18

::fait accompli::
summer reruns

from a letter to
Gary Sullivan-
published on
Elsewhere {click here}

Hi Gary,

Really enjoyed reading about your conversation with Drew and your
description of Drew's performance at the Bowery Poetry Club (you wrote
Double Happiness-nostalgia?).

> Gary Sullivan's latest post on his blog Elsewhere (see link at left) raises
> some points about the enterprise of blogging that overlap with my own
> thoughts. At this point in its development, blogging is sort of like having a
> cell phone: much of the time spent on it is spent talking about the fact that
> you're on it. ("Yeah, hi, I'm calling you from my cell phone. Hello? Can you
> hear me? I'm on my cell."

(from K. Silem Mohammed's blog site)

I've been looking at various blogs, realizing that sooner or later I will
certainly dive in. But I remember going through long periods of first
resisting getting a computer (after having my first one stolen, then
realizing that I felt relieved-I already missed using the typewriter),
second, not even wanting to get a metro card, not wanting to give up tokens,
taking years to get a new cable box, etc, etc. I know I should get a digital
camera for my collage work, I want to move my collage making towards the
computer. But to do these things means to accept change, and I am such a
nostalgia buff. I wouldn't need to "meet with my photographer" then watch
her work and work with her in the strange old labs at the School Of Visual
Arts. I miss the sound of telephones actually ringing, and having the
receiver feel heavy in your hand. I miss the smell of mimeograph paper and
those soda machines on the subway where the cup plopped down and was filled
automatically. Eventually kids learned to put holes in them so the soda
spilled out and then they disappeared. I miss tiny tokens that you kept in a
metal gadget where you could keep 10 or 20. I miss automats, and trying to
open the little door fast enough the see the person who was filling the
boxes. I miss black and white movies, then black and white television. I
miss when there was no television, only radio and the whole family would
listen while Dad read the newspaper. I miss "The Shadow" and "The Fat Man"
and "Amos 'n Andy." I miss 78 speed records which were ridiculously fragile,
but all the more likeable because when you handled the records more
carefully it seemed they were so much more dignified and then it seemed you
listened more carefully and treasured them more. I miss the funny (strange)
photographs on the "33" speed record albums. I miss "liner notes." I miss
"45's." I miss those little machines you played them on, making a stack and
then listening to the whole stack over and over. I miss the click of hearing
each key hit the paper on a typewriter and the amazing sound of dozens of
them clicking when you entered an office. I miss "corrasable paper" and
whiteout paper and whiteout. I miss "intercoms." I miss looking into
electronic store windows at "transistor radios." I miss "Crazy Eddie's." (I
know I sound like Joe Brainard but all these things happened to me too- and
much more). I miss having to look things up at the 42nd Street library where
I first read Ted Berrigan's sonnets, writing them with a pencil on three
hole lined paper after hearing him read at the Poetry Project. I miss buying
mimeographed poetry magazines at the "Eighth Street" Bookstore. I miss going
to the "Gotham Book Mart" to check out what was happening in
poetry-sometimes I ran into poets I knew there but they were always shy and
I was also and much later going to "Books and Company" to read the latest
books of poetry, philosophy and literary theory. Paul Auster happily signed
his new book "The Invention of Solitude" to me there and now he gets annoyed
if I ask him to sign a book- he seemed proud then. I miss "Dial a Poem"
where you called a number that John Giorno set up so you could hear scratchy
poems read over the telephone. I miss trying to record music and the tinny
sound you got when putting a "mike" in front of a "speaker" and then record
some rock 'n roll like "Buffalo Springfield" before they became "Crosby,
Stills and Nash", with a name like a law firm. I miss "underground"
newspapers like the "San Francisco Oracle" and "The East Village Other." I
miss telephone "booths" that smelled of all the people who had ever used
them. I miss cigarette lighters that you filled with "lighter fluid" but
when you used them the fluid spoiled the taste of the cigarette. I miss
subway cars with woven seats that faced away from each other, and sometimes
perverts hid in corners and scared people. I miss flash bulbs that pop and
then you would see blue spots in your eyes. I miss "roach holders." I miss
"news reels" in movie theaters with their announcers with melodramatic deep
voices. I miss little "record shops" (there were so many more then). I miss
how strangely hypnotic electric guitars sounded the first few hundred times
you heard them. I miss "feedback." I miss people bragging about the sound of
their "new speakers" and showing off their "hi-fi" sets ("listen to the bass
on this1") I miss trick buzzers that goofy kids stuck in your hands- nobody
shook hands anyway so you knew what was up. I miss "telegraph sets" and
using the Morse code I memorized for the boy scouts. I miss
"walkie-talkies." I miss "3 D" movies and "3 D comic books"...see what I
mean? The more I go on, the more I remember...

I'm wondering what my blogs will be like when I write them, but I already
miss the poetics list before there were blogs. The blogs you and Nada are
doing feel warm and I more and more I look forward to listening in. I want
to keep enjoying them, to take it all in and keep it, before it all changes
again and becomes something else ... I just realized how much all this was
brought on by reading Gaston Bachelard's beautiful book "The Dialectic of
Duration" newly translated for the first time into English (Clinamen Press,