This blog has been renamed The Formality of Occurrence because that is the name of my next big project. I started it about 10 years ago and decided it needed to sit, but it’s up and running in my head non-stop these days. I am finishing work on eight short-stories and then will be focused for at least the next two years on bring The Formality of Occurrence to fruition.
First step is research and a shit load of note taking and question lists. I will be reading lots of Percival Everett, Kathleen Collins, William Faulkner, Mat Johnson, Tracy K. Smith, James Baldwin, E.B. DuBois, Jean Rhys, Teju Cole, Claudia Rankine, Ta Nehisi Coates, and will even be attempting a full reading of Ralph Ellison’s monumental unfinished novel, Three Days Before the Shooting, in it’s unexpurgated form. There are many other books on my library shelf as well.
My intention with this blog is to record my reading notes on these books and to indicate how they map onto the grid that is the book I’m working on. It’s not going to be a nice little moral treatise on the horrors and evils done to black people in America. And it’s not going to be a simple story about identity (which is how it started out), or even expanded existential exploration. I don’t yet know what it’s going to be, if you want honesty. I’m mad at the world, that I know. Mad at how limited and stupid everyone is about race, how limited and stupid we are about the language we use to talk about racial issues. I see insanity and mental illness on so many fronts, ignorance, too, and the overt creation of confusion and catastrophe that simply serves no one.
How do you turn that anger into a bomb and a book? How do you use that anger to free your own sense of language and story? How do you rip free of the bonds of all the mental illnesses that seems to have infected everyone in America, making it impossible for them to escape the asylum they have created for themselves and their children?
Yes. Everyone. All of us. Research is all about finding a way in.
Eat fried food. Stay tuned.