All Excerpts

  • From Book 3: Portrait of Antonin Artaud

    November 27, 2019 by

    This is based on research of course, but it’s eerie how much I guessed before it was confirmed by research.             He was not what I expected, even after all these years. I discovered there was always more to learn about Antonin Artaud. Like me he experienced sudden vertigo, especially at high places but also… Read more

  • From Book 1: Teacher's Pet

    January 15, 2020 by

    “How can you keep track of so many people?” I asked. I was already thinking how I could devise a deck of cards to remember them all. Soupault, with his lamppost, was the ace, and Desnos was the joker, of course. I figured Artaud for the king, Péret for the knave, and this Simone could… Read more

  • From Book 3: The Cenci

    January 13, 2020 by

                In May, Louis, Anita, Justine and I attended the premiere of The Cenci with Desnos and Youki. It was a gala performance with many society members in attendance, including the Prince of Greece. The nobility stumbled about in the cramped foyer alongside the intellectuals who jabbered with their berets pressed close together. The venue,… Read more

  • From Book 2: Kiki, Foujita, and Duchamp

    January 12, 2020 by

                Kiki of Montparnasse was a voluptuous, ribald woman with a mop of curly brown hair. Born into poverty in the provinces, she had traveled to Paris for work and and was adopted by the artists who gave Montparnasse its special life. Kiki sang in nightclubs and painted and modeled for Man Ray’s bizarre photographs.… Read more

  • From Book 1: Ganymede

    January 11, 2020 by

                Roger looked around in disgust as we sagged over our food. Génica rested her elbows on the table, holding her sloshing cup in one hand and leaning her cheek in the other, her lashes trembling then jerking upward, only to flutter again. Desnos rubbed his eyes, then put on his glasses and scribbled on… Read more

  • From Book 1: Men vs. Women, Part 3

    January 9, 2020 by

                Justine trudged up to the back door, turned to fix Louis with a shriveling look, and went in. “Ah, it’s their turn to cook!” Louis cried, and got up to follow her. I meandered over to the kitchen window to spy, and Artaud was at my side.             “Are you ready?” Justine said mysteriously… Read more

  • From Book 1: The Skeleton

    January 7, 2020 by

                The sun rose, filling the house with light and chasing away the blurry jumble of last night. Whatever I had done in the dark I felt alert now and in good spirits. As soon as everyone dressed and swallowed some coffee we went for a walk on the road. It skirted the forest, which… Read more

  • From Book 1: Language

    January 2, 2020 by

    Suddenly his lids closed and his head fell peacefully against the chair and remained there. His breathing stretched, settling into a steady rhythm. I waited but he didn’t speak again. Like a sage he sat there, hands folded, lips pushed aside a bit from the pressure of the cushion on his cheek, his legs still… Read more

  • From Book 1: Sleepwalking

    January 1, 2020 by

    Previous scene here.             “Sh, Roger, don’t tease,” Justine told him. Then, suddenly startled, she looked past him. I sensed a new presence in the room and turned to see Franz standing over us in his robe, swaying a little and gawking at us open-mouthed. Catherine appeared in the doorway with a bundle of blankets… Read more

  • From Book 3: Gaston Ferdière

    December 30, 2019 by

    As soon as he was settled, Desnos invited Justine and me to his new, shabby flat near the Boulevard Montparnasse for a dinner party with Artaud and Louis and a new acquaintance, a medical student named Gaston Ferdière. After only a few minutes of speaking with this Ferdière, I decided that he was the most… Read more

  • From Book 2: Breton's Speech

    December 29, 2019 by

    We were crossing a long, grassy mall toward a soot-darkened stone edifice, very square and squat, with dull beige tracery. A dilapidated iron balcony in a recessed alcove overlooked the long rows of steps to the entrance, where two huge oak doors were propped open. I swore when I saw Youki Foujita disengage herself from… Read more

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