(A man who once had the street-name of Lone Wolf paces between various rooms in his house, incapable of remaining in any one of them for very long; he is incapable of thinking about anything at length, and yet he will talk the night away about a fair of number of arcane subjects. His given name never appears later in the text.)
How the fuck did I get into this? Why do I feel as though I’ve been innoculated with a broad series of questions? . . . Why have I read so much Nineteenth Century literature? How did I manage to live to the age of my mid-fifties? And why did I once disingenuously wonder how I had managed to reach the age of thirty?. . . I was nineteen when I began taking Beckett seriously, I had seen a film on television with my friend, Steve; he was still in high-school, and I was year out. We watched a British actor recite the words from his three novels, Malloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnameable. From about the time I was seventeen, I’d always wanted to be a playwright or a novelist. That’s what I yearned to be, without knowing a’tall just what that would involve. I had no conception of what it would mean to spend hour upon hour alone, without the slightest sound to hear anywhere in the house apart from the motor-driven air from the furnace or the air-conditioner, or the sound of a coffee pot gurgling, or birds chirping outside, even the high-pitched barking of squirrels during their rut in the fall. . . . And I would say all that again if I could, but then I would have to sacrifice what I might otherwise have said. Not that it would be particularly of any value or use, but at least it would be something different and new. . . . But of course I would need to actually do this, just to prove that I had indeed done what I’d claimed that I’d done, if only to prove to myself that I wasn’t a born liar. . . . One has to laugh at the reasons one laughs. Listing those of an individual would tell you nearly all that you needed to know about the man or the woman in which you were interested for whatever reason. . . . For a long time I hung out with people I never would have thought of as friends; I never would have trusted any of them with personal matters; and there was only one personal matter that I ever really cared about enough to sacrifice all the others—you see, I was rather obssessed—I would not have entrusted them with my fear of never building into my identity as a writer with sufficient authority to really pull it off. Because what the writer implicitly always seeks, even if only writing about the most craven instance of a loser imaginable, is some form of acceptance, particularly critical or financial acceptance, hopefully both. And I found not by accident so much as perhaps simply drawing inferences that it was actually a vast and important game for many people, something I hadn’t really realized. And that’s why I have been avidly watching the DVD of the Jerry Seinfeld sit-com as though it were a primer for entry into the New York literary scene. . . . That world I would guess is a world guarded thoroughly by a door which has at least four or five different locks, all requiring different keys; and if one was quite mad enough he might even insist upon five different pockets just to contain each key and keep things interesting. But I’m not interested in permutations merely for the sake of permutations and to act deliberately odd. That’s not my intention nor my desire. . . . I’m not the sort of man who likes to live without the comforts of a woman for very long; and I say this since I’ve lived for years at a time completely alone with only books and my own blank pages in trade as companions. I have lived in a continual struggle to fill these pages, since I don’t know how to write about anything except what I’d already experienced; and if what I’d experienced wasn’t very interesting, than I had to learn how to spice things up a little, lend some physical reality to my dreaming. . . . What irritates me most about the current New York literary scene is all the recent talk about the South American born author who spent most of his life in Mexico, Balaño, and his nine-hundred page posthumously-published novel. If he was so fabulous, then why hadn’t they been raving about him twenty years ago? The dark-robed and well-compensated literati cum journalists might have said something about him back then. But did they? I tend to think not. In the late seventies Gabriel Garcia Marquéz was frequently spoken of in glowing terms. And prior to him had been Jorge Louis Borgés. And maybe the Beats had their favorite Puerto Rican and Latin poets and novelists, I don’t know. But those that I had read, I knew that they were talking about the world in ways that had never been done before and were entirely original. At least from my perspective. . . . Borges was more cerebral than Marquéz, and Marquéz much the opposite and his books were filled with an assortment of characters. They both used historical allusions quite often. Their books appealed primarily to a small sub-region of the reading public, those who tended to be well-read. But it would only be a cliché to grumble about the inequities of the art and music and literary worlds. Everyone wants to become famous these days, or so it seems. . . . Edmund Wilson wrote a couple of novels in his youth and then later became one of America’s most respected literary critics. H.L. Mencken, the often splenetic critic capable of the most arresting ironies, fancied himself a philosopher, a type of man who tends to be egregiously naïve in his youth. Yet Mencken managed to broker taste in novels and poets almost entirely on his own in the twenties of the previous century with his ever-Olympian viewpoint. Fitzgerald had even mentioned him in one of his books. . . . Taste in America is filtered at best. Taste in America is proffered by both advertizers and critics, religious leaders and politicians, Hollywood and the rest. Some of this taste now suffers from a case of extreme illigitimacy. Sheer habit and cronyism can infect even the most nobel of groups. But a man should be careful exactly where he aims his more public criticisms. Some who take offense merely . . . forget about it; others more quicly offended are not hesitant to extract whatever revenge they have long since been convinced they can conduct.