Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Copy Book: from William H. Gass

In Fiction and the Forms of Life:

"For most people, fiction is history; fiction is history without tables, graphs, dates, imports, edicts, evidence, laws; history without hiatus --intelligible, simple, smooth. Fiction is sociology freed of statistics, politics with no real party in the opposition; it's a world where play money buys you cardboard squares of colored country; a world where everyone is obediently psychological, economic, ethnic, geographical --framed in a keyhole and always nude, each figure fashioned from the latest thing in cello-see-through, so we may observe our hero's guts, too, if we choose: ah, they're blue, and squirming like a tickled river. For truth without effort, thought without vigor, feeling without form, existence without commitment: what will you give? for a wind-up world, a toy life? . . . six bits? for a book with a thicker skin? . . . six bucks? I am a man, myself, intemperately mild, and though it seems to me as much deserved as it's desired, I have no wish to steeple quires of paper passion up so many sad unelevating rears."

This is now at the top of my list of Favorite Sentences Ever (the list currently numbers one); it has everything a man could want out of life: squirming guts, tickled rivers, the suggestion of sodomy-by-foreign object, and most important, naked ladies --naked lords too, I guess, but you don't have to look at them. Oh, apparently it's more than one sentence. Favorite Paragraphs Ever? Pff.

I don't know what a quire is, but I don't imagine I want it steepled up my rear any more than I'd want that feat of reaming consummated by a choir. I also had never heard of steepling things up other things, but I can imagine what it feels like.

Heh-heh. A quire is one twentieth of a ream.

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