He goes, “I can see you for what you are!”
(Screaming. He throws a ceramic dachshund at the wall. Etc. Man, if the morning starts this way, what about the afternoon and evening?)
I say, “I can’t argue now. So kindly shut up and get a social life or something.”
“You are not a nice person! I don’t like you anymore than I hate me for liking you!”
“What? Did you steal that shit from a Bruce Smith poem? Leave me alone. Go grow or kill something. Anything.”
(Crash. Drywall wounds. There goes another one of my frosted souvenir Kentucky Derby glasses…He enters the room.)
“Listen, I love you, seriously. Let’ s calm down here. I just read this bright pink book. You know about books. Tell me, what is the deal with Tao Lin and the quotation marks?”
I say, “Well, you know, it started as a gimmick. Dude loves gimmicks. This is the guy who tied little Tao Lin flags to the back of all the city’s fireflies. He first used the quotation marks circa 2000, by accident, and he liked the look and already he was thinking Brand. He was going to call them “Lin Scarves” and had this whole campaign planned about “clothing” your words for the upcoming season. Anyway, Lin Scarves was already copyrighted by this dude in Kansas who sells toilet seats for a living, and anyway Tao was broke. He used to be broke a lot but now things are better. Tao loves money, as we know. This guy is like a dumptruck of P.T. Barnums. He would bottle and sell you his dreams–the actual fucking dreams he has at night about Gerbils and Hegel and cabbage-headed policeman and shit–if he had thought about it before reading the idea right here. I met Tao once, in a bar in New York named Guam. He tried to sell me stock in a diagram (more a rough drawing) of a tiny machine with suction cups that kids could stick under the table and spoon or fork food into when they didn’t want to eat the food themselves. Nice try, Tao. Nice try. The quote thing then became characterization at times; it evolved. And the Brand established itself. He would use the quotes when writing fiction, essays, or even checks. (I kid; Tao has no checking account, or banking account of any kind.) The quotation marks became an element of Tao’s characters, their flat affects and distrust of everything, their layering in the perceptions of individual reality. The quotes added yet another layer. The word/world does not Mean what it Means. “Get it?” Three years ago the quotes became so ubiquitous in Tao’s work that they disappeared. Like air, or beige paint. They just stood for nothing. They existed, but we could not even “see” them. This is when Tao started switching, one quotation mark, two, maybe three. The man was desperate. This was the Shoplifting, the Time of Running, when Tao took to marathons (or cities that held marathons–where he would shoplift) and attempted to enter the Olympics. He quickly dropped that dream, because, you know, pain sucks. Black Toenails! Raw nipples! He was lost, really. Lost. Drifting in an infinite void. He felt contradictory and complex, which is no fun. Where was The Attention? Attention–from all arenas, self, virtual self, narrator of printed page, voice—is the oxygen of life for Tao. Now, he felt suffocated. He turned to drink. Beer mostly, some red wine. A year ago the quotes matured, and finally reached semi-fruition, in a way. Tao left drink, became vegan and started driving a truck, a little 4 cylinder Toyota. His quotes began to lock themselves into a matrix of meaning. To me, the quotes started asking what truth can exist in the world, if Death exists alongside? Or to put it more plainly, Why are ketchup packages so small? Once again, as the quotes clearly showed The Reader, art is fundamentally untrue. It has to be, right? Because art is perceived with the senses, and we all know the senses (along with the artifact of the art) is fleeting and will disappear as if it never existed. It is a shadow, really. Already half gone. One finitude exposes itself essentially in time, correct? OK. So now you understand the quotes. Let’s move on. Let’ s move on with our lives. I love you too. BTW. Nachos?”
All pics from LATFH.
I had nachos for lunch and then for dinner. The dinner one had less black beans than I wanted. I hate that, when the weight is off, the topping ratio all group therapy, but it happens, man. I almost ran to the store. But did not. God made pickled jalapenos, though I am not yet sure which god.
I’m going to send them something, I think. I’ll look in my “files” or write something. Something magical like Finland, or elevator shoes.
Yeh, I still have a literary crush on Kim Chinquee, so what? She writes flash fiction and is a distance runner, what did you expect.? I just wanted to say that she is editing/judging two new flash fiction venues:
I think I will enter maybe three, four flash contest this next year, that seems about right. Why enter contests? Hmmm. That’s a good question, and one you will have to answer yourself.