September 10, 2009

sometimes I just won't go
sometimes I can't say no



Cara Ober, Sad & Beautiful World, 2009

Love Letters by Cara Ober opens Friday, September 11, 2009 and will be on view at Civilian Art Projects (406 7th Street NW, Second Floor, WDC) through October 17, 2009. There will be an opening reception on Friday, September 11, 2009 from 7pm to 9pm.

* From a 1970 Interview of Sterling Morrison. excerpt:

Q: Didn't Andy use Dylan in a film?

Sterling Morrison: There was one film with Paul Caruso called, The Bob Dylan Story. I don't think Andy has ever shown it. It was hysterical. They got Marlowe Dupont to play Al Grossman. Paul Caruso not only looks as Bob Dylan but as a super caricature he makes even Hendrix looks pale by comparison. This was around 1966 when the film was made and his hair was way out here. When he was walking down the street you had to step out of his way. On the eve of the filming, Paul had a change of heart and got his hair cut off - closer to his head - and he must have removed about a foot so everyone was upset about that. Then Dylan had this accident and that was why the film was never shown.
...
Q: Do you consider Zappa more appropriate to that title?

SM: Zappa is incapable of writing lyrics. He is shielding his musical deficiencies by prolelytizing all these sundry groups that he appeals to. He just throw enough dribble into those songs, I don't know, I don't like their music. I like some of the people in the group. Zappa figures how many opposites can I weld together. I'll take this phrase from god knows who (i.e. Stockhausen - the magic name!) never heard of him. What is Zappa? I say Frank can I hear a song leaving out the garbage cans? I think that album Freak Out was such a shuck.

For instance, the following is something that would haunt me to the grave. He had this utterance in one of his albums - god knows which one - "I'm not saying I want to be black but there are times I wish I weren't white." Now how can anyone come on like that? And he just keeps going on. Now as a satirist, or something, he might be okay. Satirists are capable of knocking things. It's a label you can hide behind. You might say that I myself am knocking him, well, not really. He's doing something nobody else is doing. So in that sense he has his little niche.

Q: There have been some comparisons drawn, somewhat outrageously, between The Velvet Underground and the MC5.

SM: That's a comparison that would drive me to an early retirement.

Q: What do you think of the MC5?

SM: I think seldom of the MC5.

Q: Is there anything we've left out?

SM: Well I don't want it to appear that I'm knocking Zappa because too much has already gone down between us.

* 1981 Raymond Carver piece on why he prefers the story to the novel. excerpt:

"It's possible, in a poem or a short story, to write about commonplace things and objects using commonplace but precise language, and to endow those things—a chair, a window curtain, a fork, a stone, a woman's earring—with immense, even startling power. It is possible to write a line of seemingly innocuous dialogue and have it send a chill along the reader's spine—the source of artistic delight, as Nabokov would have it. That's the kind of writing that most interests me. I hate sloppy or haphazard writing whether it flies under the banner of experimentation or else is just clumsily rendered realism. In Isaac Babel's wonderful short story, 'Guy de Maupassant,' the narrator has this to say about the writing of fiction: 'No iron can pierce the heart with such force as a period put just at the right place.' This too ought to go on a three-by-five.

"Evan Connell said once that he knew he was finished with a short story when he found himself going through it and taking out commas and then going through the story again and putting commas back in the same places. I like that way of working on something. I respect that kind of care for what is being done. That's all we have, finally, the words, and they had better be the right ones, with the punctuation in the right places so that they can best say what they are meant to say. If the words are heavy with the writer's own unbridled emotions, or if they are imprecise and inaccurate for some other reason—if the words are in any way blurred—the reader's eyes will slide right over them and nothing will be achieved. The reader's own artistic sense will simply not be engaged. Henry James called this sort of hapless writing 'weak specification.'
...
"VS Pritchett's definition of a short story is 'something glimpsed from the corner of the eye, in passing.' Notice the 'glimpse' part of this. First the glimpse. Then the glimpse given life, turned into something that illuminates the moment and may, if we're lucky—that word again—have even further-ranging consequences and meaning. The short story writer's task is to invest the glimpse with all that is in his power. He'll bring his intelligence and literary skill to bear (his talent), his sense of proportion and sense of the fitness of things: of how things out there really are and how he sees those things—like no one else sees them. And this is done through the use of clear and specific language, language used so as to bring to life the details that will light up the story for the reader. For the details to be concrete and convey meaning, the language must be accurate and precisely given. The words can be so precise they may even sound flat, but they can still carry; if used right, they can hit all the notes."

* "The reward of a thing well done is to have done it." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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