From Book 1: What’s Your Idea of Adventure?

            Long after I heard Desnos’s heavy breathing in sleep I lay awake, listening to the rain turn the city into layers of chatter like so many synchronized timepieces: the blunt drumming of the houseboat, the slaps on stone, the hollow tinging of a metal roof somewhere. That odd sleepiness, when my heart beat hardContinue reading “From Book 1: What’s Your Idea of Adventure?”

From Book 1: Scatterbrained

            Finally I entered a small, seedy lunch counter and stood looking around at the crowd, mostly men at the zinc counter, wolfing down eggs. Then I meandered to the back of the place and leaned against the wall next to the small telephone station, where a man with his back to me jabbered intoContinue reading “From Book 1: Scatterbrained”

From Book 1: The Surrealist Research Bureau

            In a small storefront on the rue de Grenelle where the Surrealist Research Bureau made its headquarters, we sat on hard chairs with about a dozen young men in a cramped room, and were subjected to a long and tedious lecture by the founder of the movement, André Breton. He seemed a pleasant enoughContinue reading “From Book 1: The Surrealist Research Bureau”

From Book 1: Sleep-Driving

JACQUES RIVIERE TO ANTONIN ARTAUD Dear Sir, Something puzzles me: the sharp contrast between the vagueness of your literary efforts and the excruciating precision with which you diagnose your inner erosion. Had I no other evidence, your handwriting—tortured, wavering, as if pulled in by hidden whirlpools—convinces me of the reality of these phenomena you describe.Continue reading “From Book 1: Sleep-Driving”

From Book 1: Breton Makes It Official

            Finally he finished, rolled up his rug and stood up, his face collapsing into brown wrinkles as he smiled. He nodded to me, and reached out to playfully slap Artaud’s cheek, again startling the young man. “Peace be with you both!” the Muslim cried, and slipped into the crowd. Artaud’s hand flew to hisContinue reading “From Book 1: Breton Makes It Official”

From Book 4: Someone is Imitating Artaud

The Sins of Nin, Part One. The Sins of Nin, Part Two. NOTE: While I use Anaïs Nin’s Diary as a source for events, after years of studying Artaud’s letters to both men and women I find her conclusion that Artaud was gay and attracted to Nin’s husband Hugh Guiler to be a load ofContinue reading “From Book 4: Someone is Imitating Artaud”

From Book 1: All I Ask is Life

            Artaud stood over me as I leafed through the strange little piece I’d written the day before, but his face, when I finally looked up at it, showed no anger. Genica had held her tongue, it seemed. I resolved to apologize to her; then I decided not to and save both of us theContinue reading “From Book 1: All I Ask is Life”

From Book 2: We are in a Novel

            “Do you want to know the truth?” Louis said, suddenly despondent. “I don’t sense the presence of any great mystery. The only reason I’ve blundered into being a painter is that I don’t know what else to do with myself. I’m not religious. I’m not interested in getting married or starting a family. GoodContinue reading “From Book 2: We are in a Novel”