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Letters & Glossolalia
A Common Reader
by Andrei Codrescu
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I have been filling notebooks with quotes and thoughts from my reading since 1965. Occasionally, I re-read of these entries and find them useful. This will be an occasional column.

Oct 4 2001

“The work of madmen is always based on a law that has ceased to operate. Madmen are men who have lost their imagination. Their manual memory belongs to a realm of rigid mechanism. It is an infernal machine that breaks down and not an intelligence that progresses and constantly creates in order to progress... The work of a madman is dead work; the poetry it contains is like the ghost which refuses to give up its corpse.” Picasso (Quoted in Semtext, Plastic 3, ed. Louis Armand, Prague, 2001)

“A body by itself doesn’t mean anything. You have to surround it with a story.” Czech police detective, forensic team, nov 1, 1999 NY Times (quoted by Susan Gevitz in Aufgaben 1, 2001)

This assumes there was a crime.

“Berg’s femmes fatales” by Alexander Coleman, The New Criterion, June 2001. On opera over-the-topness. Karl Kraus played the African prince in “Pandora’s Box,” Wedekind’s most over-the-top Lulu play.

Nov 5, 2001

Nick says that I should be writing about everyday things, from the street, like his idea for a gameboard-cum-antfarm... I can’t remember exactly. Well, sometimes I do, I write down just what the street serves, but sometimes I don’t care so much about the street... its grandeur is tarnished; I care more about public discourse & its discontents. Of course, Nick wants me to report on him. I have made folks famous in the past: why not him? Good question. What Nick no comprende is that to me it’s just material. Grist. Umplutura. Stuffing. El dumplingo.

Nov 27 2001

In the crappola art store at the corner of Royal & St. Philip a photograph of Jim Morisson on a French Quarter Balcony with cigar end in his mouth -- he looks just like Jim Gustafson. It’s eerie. The guy wants $2,000 for it, says there are 150 copies & he raises the price $100 every time he sells one. Photographer: Nancy Davis.

Jan 10 2002

Chistoc pe buza de rechin

Sharks, man. What are THEY all about?

No, no, we are the Other Thems!

Jan 16 2002

I like all ideas until they become institutionalized. Then I turn against them. Very few ideas deserve to be institutionalized. Before they are institutionalized, ideas become commonplaces. That’s about the right time to discard them.


Difference bt Rom and Eng:

R: “A fost rapit de=o boala nemiloasa.”
E: “Was killed by an incurable disease.”

The Romanian is romantic, he was “taken away” by a “merciless disease,” as if all was a journey and diseases were moved by mercy; the pragmatic Englishman notes the fact and describes the state of the disease, not its feelings.

April 26 2002

I know everything minus what I’ve articulated, that is to say I know “something,” because everything is something plus what you articulate.

Essay=attentat, attempt, an assault on a person or idea that might be shaken, overthrown. Anarchism+Surrealism=Politics+Art=Living and Acting Mindfully.

Inainte, scriitorii erau vedete, acu vedetele’s vedete.

May 31 2002

Pretty Mommy Magazine No.1
Damp Heat, Dry Humour

How did Elea end up in Vanilla Sky? L.E, that is.

Oct 12 2002

My students have no talent and my publishers are thieves.

Oct 21 2002

Not how many
Languages you can speak
How many languages
Can you fuck in

Twenty seven

Oct 29 2002

I wonder how much airplanes have feminized the world by compelling men to surrender to their fate? Women know the art of surrender, but men have a harder time abandoning themselves to a flying tube.

What was the geographical shape of the Roman empire on One a.d.?

Oct 31, 2002

New Orleans where they all come
To pour out their discharges to celebrate
Their survival
Needs Quakers with assplugs
And Mormons with horse whips

May 12 2003

I’m an ombudsman between people and the media, an intermediary, in other words, between the media and the mediated, advocating on behalf of the mediated.

Aug 8 2003

Writers die from typos, not accidents. IB Singer, retranslated from Romanian as quoted by Ioana Parvulescu in “Intoarcere la Bucurestiul Interbelic.”


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