Man On First

06.02.11 | | Comment?

Q: What on Earth do you do to follow up when somebody hits it out of the park?

A: You play small-ball.

Genno Kane seems to have taken a cue from her new interest and our national pastime and drilled one over the left-field fence with her post ‘The Antidote To Infinite Jest?‘*. People are just now sitting back down in their seats.

I had heard a lot about The Pale King in the months leading up to its release. I read all about its major themes and ideas, and because of this, I had a lot to say early on. Lately, however, I’ve been struggling to put together a post that’s thought provoking and that isn’t repetitive. When I expressed this to my friend Daren a couple of weeks ago at one of our Pale Ale / Pale Spring meet-ups, he suggested that not every post has to be some elaborate, metaphor filled, interpretive essay of what I had just read. Play small-ball. Just put something up worth reading and don’t worry about its scope.

So for this entry, I’ve decided to simply let The Man himself speak and list some of my favorite quotes from the book thus far. Hopefully I’ll get on first and someone will be kind enough to move me over.

“It was true: The entire ball game, in terms of both the exam and life, was what you gave your attention to vs. what you willed yourself to not.”

“Men who cannot bear to wait or stand still forced to stand still all together and wait.”

“One of these, Mother Tia, told fortunes, leathery and tremorous and her face like a shucked pecan fully cowled in black and two isolate teeth like a spare at the Show Me Lanes, and owned her own cards and tray on which what ash collected showed white, calling her chulla and charging her no tariff on terms of the Evil Eye she claimed to fear when the girl looked at her through the screen’s hole with the telescope of a rolled magazine. Two ribby and yelloweyed dogs lay throbbing in the smoke tree’s shade and rose only sometimes to bay at the planes as they harried the fires.”

“The Sun overhead like a peephole into hell’s own self-consuming heart.”

“…at which there was no answer after three rings and a shave-and-haircut knock.”

“The average molecular weight of peat.”

“If you think of the locusts as actually screaming, the whole thing becomes much more unsettling.”

“Doesn’t the term corporation itself come from body, like “made into a body”? These were artificial people being created.”

“He stood very still–noticeably stiller than most people stand when they stand still.”

“For those who’ve never experienced a sunrise in the rural Midwest, it’s about as soft and romantic as someone’s abruptly hitting the lights in a dark room.”

“The bus had a lavatory in the wayback rear, which no one ever made any attempt to use, and I remember consciously deciding to trust that the passengers had good reason for not using it instead of venturing in and discovering that reason for myself.”

“I can remember hearing one middle-aged man who sat nearby saying ‘Simmer down, boyo’ to another older man seated kitty-corner to me across the doorway to one of the hallways extending out from the waiting area, except when I looked up from the book both these men were staring straight ahead, expressionless, with no sign of anyone needing to ‘simmer down’ in any conceivable way.”

“Diablo the Left-Handed Surrealist”

“Gaines blinked slowly in a stony mindless way that reminded Hurd of a lizard whose rock wasn’t hot enough.”

*At the time this was written, her latest post, ‘The Ghost in Wallace’s Machine wasn’t up yet, but having now read it confirms my suspicions that she’s ‘juicing’ in the locker room. Genno, Genno, Genno, please turn me on to your connection.

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