Thursday, April 9, 2009

Literary Fantasies

I looked around me. Was everyone else here for the same reason? Probably. There was only one guy, and he was in the corner admiring a model ship. All the women were lingering over the study and bedroom, sneaking glances at the poetry books they had brought along with them. Isn't there only one reason to snoop around Pablo Neruda's home? And isn't that reason to have a stage for your literary fantasies? I knew what they were wondering, because I was wondering it too:
Would he go marking with crosses of fire the white atlases of their bodies?
Was his mouth really like a spider, frightened and thirsty?

I know, I know. Neruda was a politician, an activist. There was much more to his life than writing love sonnets. But who falls to sleep with a smile thinking about expulsions from the senate?

Maybe my imagination remains over-stimulated from a childhood full of make-believe friends and pet rocks, but no matter what book/poem/essay I read, I find myself thinking about the author's interior life (within the restricted frames of my life their works). Who doesn't daydream about the conversation you would have sitting beside Dostoevsky on a 12-hour plane ride with free booze? Or...
  • How often Bukowski's house would get rolled? Would he bogart that shit or pass it to the left?
  • How Nabakov would act the subway?
  • If William Carlos Williams would wash his dishes right after dinner, or would he leave them in the sink, dirty, with a half-way apologetic note?
  • Would TS Elliot laugh or cry watching CATS! live on Broadway? Was he really a dog guy?
  • Would Thoreau make the trek home from college to have his mom do his laundry every weekend?
  • How would couch-cushion fort building go with JRR Tolkien? Would he be pissed when I destroyed his painstakingly intricate construction with one giant leap from the arm chair?
  • Would Salinger dress in tight American Apparel jeans and an ironic cat T-shirt, talk sourly about Death Cab for Cutie, and drink coffee at Victrola?
Maybe Keats was right, and an author can be totally divorced from their work altogether. But who fantasizes about Keats anyways?

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