From Book 4: Another Way

            It was at the Dôme, Artaud’s favorite haunt, that a ghost caught up with me. I was already in a particularly wretched mood that evening when my gaze suddenly lifted from the table to lock with a twin pair of eyes, with familiar but never-before-seen blue-green accusation from the face of Marie-Ange Mallausséna. IContinue reading “From Book 4: Another Way”

From Book 2: Car Thief

            “Don’t mind him. He’s had too much to drink,” I interjected, rising from my place on the floor to go to the fireplace. “Again.” I threw on anther log and surreptitiously dragged a finger across my throat at Desnos. He merely beamed at the murderous glare I gave him. As I turned back toContinue reading “From Book 2: Car Thief”

From Book 1: Men versus Women, Part One

            “You’re all right,” Desnos said. “You need something in your stomach, that’s all.” He turned and raised a finger to signal a waiter while I shriveled in embarrassment. When the plate of bread and cheese was set before me I picked up a hunk of bread and held it to my mouth, chewing automaticallyContinue reading “From Book 1: Men versus Women, Part One”

From Book 1: Lucifer

            Desnos was contemplating my blank page, his fingers drumming alongside his jaw. “You’re resisting… In automatic writing you need to speak from your unconscious.”             “I know a quicker way to reach my unconscious,” I rasped, and reached for one of the cognac glasses in the middle of the table. I filled it fromContinue reading “From Book 1: Lucifer”

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”