Item of Interest || Random Notes

from John Gallagher's web log Nothing to Say and Saying It:
Never worry about the reader, what the reader can understand. When you are writing, glance over your shoulder, and you'll find there is no reader. Just you and the page. Feel lonely? Good. Assuming you can write clear English sentences, give up all worry about communication. If you want to communicate, use the telephone.
I want to tattoo this on my forearm for future reference— a constant reminder. Or across my shoulders as a warning.

A few days ago I found a list of practical approaches to poetry created by William Matthews. See number three.

Random Notes for a Bar at Last Call
• a tray of glasses falls
• he stands under clump of devil's ivy or mother-in-law tongue
• in the corner of his eye
• another moment
• lights rise / fog of alcohol lifts
• then he hears soemone call his name

The above random notes establish phrases for possible later use— a situation undefined and without cohesion.


  1. The human instinct to construct meaning from any pattern which can be discerned (or more often I think)*created* by the person looking for the meaning.
    So we take what are simply random incidents and attempt to decipher "what they are saying to us when taken as a whole"...As if life were ever lived like that! life is surely lived in just the way the quoted poem reads - a flow of disparate images/incidents from which we seek to make sense.
    And that in the end is what is special about writing. Because we have something whole-in-itself to study.
    So the poem quoted makes perfect sense - it is just what last orders sounds like to a drunk.

  2. Interesting how you merged the indivdual fractures into a whole picture— which I never intended— I'll need to re-examine the core intentions now. You shifted the idea to a new level.

  3. Haha! Perfect example of what I was trying to describe. You see - I sought the meaning and constructed one - from unconnected fragments which (to me at least!) really do capture a bit of the schewed drunk experience.
    Now - whether that makes me intensely smart or very very dim is a matter for I am still laughing.


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