Monday, June 15, 2015

the golf club

The experience that I am circling around as I go over The Glass Canoe is a remote irreducible tickling, the idea that that Ireland senses the possibility of a calm stillness and believes that the things of this world are either taking us towards that point or away from it, whereas Crowley by contrast perceives a net, without that poised, central, gladelike place.

No, you say, that's not a tickling, it's bloody obvious: look at the Meatman when he thinks about the scenery at the golf club. But I believe that the concentration of the still place in those clear and physical phenomena, the sunshine and the grass, and the mowing, is not that place itself, it is too outwards, too specific, and it's doing double duty, it is telling us that the Meatman is a sensitive person – it is sketching and dumping it in very crudely.

He likes dew! – well – there must be more to him than drinking at the pub – the book insists.

It's a defensive blow against the reader who wants to call him a yob.

The pub is a parody of that calm place or another species of it, a deformed species; the men are not calm so much as paralysed, and the fights are like spasms against the restraint of that paralysis.

The calm place exists somewhere outside the prose, and outside anything that is in the prose, and the noise of writing in this book exists in order to highlight a particular silence.


  1. whoa silver! i'm a bit confused about parody. choosing a venue to represent another venue but not having the second one represent the first in a recognizable way except to claim that something is being pointed at seems a long way around robin hood's barn. doesn't it?

  2. The first venue that I'm thinking of (that calm, still, imaginary place) isn't in the book. It's a platonic ideal that the author seems to have in his mind when he's writing. The protagonist can't reach it, all he can do is feel a somehow-transcendent pleasure when he looks over the quiet landscape at the golf club where he works. Then he goes to the pub where the patrons exist in suspension, away from the world outside, wanting to believe that this is their own territory and private kingdom. A university student comes in to research them as if they're an undiscovered tribe. Most of the book takes place in this pub. I'm thinking of it as a parody of the ideal private, supernatural place that the book keeps pointing towards. 'Parody' might be the wrong word. Call it an imperfect version of that place; maybe a shadow version.

    1. (As for the question of why the author doesn't just describe this ideal place instead of dancing around it, I believe that indescribability is one of its qualities. He can't tell you what it is. The most he can do is point to everything else and say, "This isn't it, and nor is this. This isn't it either ...")

    2. i get it. sort of like a line drive off the tee in one's imagination before the event which usually turns out sliced or hooked. tx. i'm learning stuff here lately.