Ptarmigan

a grouse with completely feathered feet

9/30/2003

From aerials...

How could any one
so much any way
even fixed breed
enteric: that's my
pallid inner coverlet


(from "Melanin" by JH Prynne)

--to dull actuaries...

The wall between so-called "serious" fiction and speculative fiction is real enough and high enough, but it's not a figment of SF writers' imaginations, and the guard towers on that ugly wall aren't being manned by genre writers.

(interview with Dan Simmons)

It's exhausting keeping interested in a genre whose leading luminaries are complete jackanapes. But that's the truth. One can go blue in the face, trot out one tired encyclopedia-salesman routine, a little leather casebook of myriad examples where the above statement is proven to be mindless, irresponsible falsehood. But the dittoheads (so to speak) aren't interested in buying. They'll trot out the same, faux-wounded lines. And when the party line is kneejerked by someone who has written more than one superb, complex novel, and not some clone-a-hack, you know the genre is d-o-o-m-e-d.

(An aside, D.S. says: " Perhaps I'll believe that this snobby, ugly and unnecessary Berlin Wall between genre fiction and 'serious fiction' has been torn down when I see The New York Times and other heavy-hitter literary makers and shakers of record explaining why Greg Bear's Blood Music is a work of near brilliance..." Right, like the glowing review Alan Cheuse gave of Bear's Darwin's Radio on NPR? Ah, there's that Joseph Cornell-like suitcase again of mine! Can't resist pulling it out. Anyway...)

So, it gets tiring. It gets tiring to (a) continually remind people outside of a given genre of the excellent, necessary work being done that happens to be in a genre, and simultaneously (b) be hammered with charges of elitism, snobbery, whatever one can throw that will stick, for engaging with the first group; these (b) people are not interested in breaking bread, but of protecting their own, needlessly small, astroturfs ("the iconic displacement of substance"--Prynne again.). Which is not to say that this, in the long run, is of cosmic significance. No weblog has much earthly significance, for that matter. But in trying to decide how to tweak the signal-to-noise of my own heart through this little "New post" box, it's sometimes hard to know what constituencies to approach. Which ones nurture and which ones wither. In a year of Ptarmiganing, a year of shuttling badminton-like through different reading communities uneasily on my part. Some people--and I admire them to no end--can do this effortlessly, and with a knotty nuance that I know I lack. Is it good enough to write about only what strikes me? This turns over every 2-3 weeks or so, like a frenetic glacial lake. That's the question--do generalist impulses create enough signal and drown out enough noise to make the effort worth it in the first place? I'd say yes. It's certainly worth writing about. If anyone has any thoughts about this please throw them my way.

1-year Ptarmigan birthday today! Should I take Evening and Quail out of the drawer to tell them?

9/29/2003

Had a longish post last night re: Alehouse Sonnets, by Norman Dubie. Hazlitt in the house.

Then my computer crashed.

Let me rephrase that.

I picked it up for a dollar.

9/26/2003

Open Letter to Person Who Did Google Search for "meaning behind 'Pour Some Sugar on Me' and found this page

It's in the name of love--what more do you need to know?

Instead of blogosphere, maybe the correct term is blogoskerries.

I mean, where is this sphere that people keep talking about?

9/24/2003

Updated blogroll--so no one change their urls for a-while.

More and more, playing chess online, I'm seeing chess (or rather, having chess seep into me) as a form of metacognitive cybernetics. It's a cyberpunk frontline that goes deeper than Kasparov v. Deep Blue. At any given time on ICC, a decent number of opponents online are chess computers. Chess computers have their own tournaments. None of this, in of itself, is necessarily shocking. What has been happening more and more, from what I can garner, are the chess players becoming mechanical mammals: using chess software such as Fritz, grandmaster level software, dictates how games are analyzed and how players improve, creating hegemonical architectures for chess to fracture and slip inside of. With correspondence (postal) chess, when one is allowed to analyze the game during play, when does the computer take the lead in deciding where to move? Does impulse and free will become a cybersquatter to its own party?

This is the kind of sub-ject that poetry seems well suited for exploring. Stepping outside the field of pure tactics.

I'm trying to find a way to integrate dynamic (javascript?) chess boards in ye old chess poetry blog, so that people can interact with the different openings. I'm only a simulacrum of a techie, so I'm not able to kitbash one together myself. If anyone has any ideas, please email me.

I'm still searching for a lack of style.

9/21/2003

Ok, the computer genius that I just married has gotten things up and running. Cables have been lain, though not transatlantically. Hard to believe Ptarmigan is almost 1 year old. Settling back into routine. Pictures maybe as they become available. Silence is twice as nice if you have a sharer. With writing, I've taken the crossroads with me like sticky chess, knapsacked a myriad of different destinations for later arrayment down the road, as in a picnic lunch, an apple, a pringles.

9/20/2003

Back. Dodgy internet connection. Tap tap tap. Amazing week. Reconnect more when I have strung a few more tin plumb cans together...

9/10/2003

btw, my semi-secret chess-poetry blog

OK, I'm really gone this time.

9/08/2003

sorry for the no-posts...will resume regular programming after the marriage... around, oh, 9/17 or so.

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A.