I made myself great works; I build houses for myself; I planted vineyards: I made myself gardens and orchards and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: I made pools of water, to water therewith the wood that brings forth trees:
Compton Gage
Once or twice, at night, he planted himself in front of the type-writer, trying to get back to the book he'd come to New York to write. It was supposed to be about America and freedom and the kinship of time to pain, but in order to write about these things, he'd needed experience. Well, be careful what you wish for. For now all he seemed capable of producing was a string of sentences starting, Here was William. Here was William's courage, for example. And here was William's sadness, smallness of stature, size of hands. Here was his laugh in a dark movie theater, his unpunk love of the films of Woody Allen, not for any of the obvious ways they flattered his sensibility, but for something he called their tragic sense, which he compared to Chekhov's (whom Mercer knew he had not read). Here was the way he never asked Mercer about his work; the way he never talked about his own and yet seemed to carry it with him just beneath the skin; the way his skin looked in the sodium light from outside with the light off, with clothes off, in silver rain; the way he embodied qualities Mercer wanted to have, but without ruining them by wanting to have them; the way his genius overflowed its vessel, running off into the drain; the unfinished self-portrait; the hint of some trauma in his past, like the war a shell-shocked town never talks about; his terrible taste in friends; his complete lack of discipline; the inborn incapacity for certain basic things that made you want to mother him, fuck him, give your right and left arms for him, this man-child, this skinny American; and finally his wildness, his refusal to be imaginable by anyone.
Garth Risk Hallberg