February 10th, 2009

grinning bastard

Demon Drop.

I wonder about it. It is my estimation, & that of others in the Learned College, that we have worlds within us. I consider it & turn it over in my mind, look at the eyes of people on the train. Read the words spilt out as ink. I will say-- I will always say-- that I can't accept that there are others, or Others, in everyone, behind their faces & shirts. So I think inside most is nothing, not a lacunae or void but solid stone, solid flesh. Then there are others, who are world-builders. There is the Rememberer, who is also called Narcissus, who has inside of them only the history of their own Self. There is the Namer, who dissects the world, calls a thing a new thing, or a new thing he calls Nothing. But inside of some there is a new world, of digested & created from the old, as a star is born from a nebula, & they are calle Demiurge. This is apart from any question of Self or Other, really-- this is perhaps more akin to the Mind-delusion. Perhaps there is the Critic, as well, the Maw, that is like a Tree whose roots drink of the worlds within others?
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Malice-striker! (16)

The Ice-Shirt by William T. Vollmann.

The Bear-Kings die out,
The wicked Blue-Shirt rises.
I bear my BLACK HANDS!

I read this under the sturdy recommendation of kingtycoon, saying that if I cared about The Worm Oroboros then The Ice-Shirt demanded reading; later, ravenface enthused about it as well. You can add me to that pile, though slightly more reservedly-- I suspect having the book talked up so much might have something to do with that, though. The Ice-Shirt is a mythohistorical look at the Norse exploration of America. The myths are religious & historical, & both Norse & Inuit. I'll say Inuit-- normally that "only real people" thing gets me-- but I'll say it here & I'll say Skraeling too-- though the Inuit never call the Greenlanders "dog-faced"! Call them dog-faced, they so are!

Vollmann succeeds best when the myth is running strong in his veins, when the warlock songs are on him, & the witch is climbing the ice glaciar that is a god at the same time, or when the epic Bear-Kings are clashing in dreams, rising from the dead to menace bad-hearted princes, princes stolen away by Lapps (who are all wizards, as anyone will tell you), Freydis Eriksdottir searches desperately for the World Ash in America. Besides that, there are passages that, well, can really be best compared to the Biblical "Begats." Which even then aren't so bad-- he'll turn a kenning, or harken back to another Norseman's dream in a clever way, & make a paragraph shine. He'll beat out a word or two with EMPHASIS & he'll MEAN that, it is very honest. The nadir of the book are the personal interjections-- oh, you gonzo journalisted with those terrible people, did you, I'm so impressed. Those aren't ever dwelled on, & sometimes, yes, sometimes those work too. In the "Notes" he talks about using untruth to foster a greater sense of truth. It isn't just talk. He dreams up the Ice. I've got the notes to prove it-- did you know the Norse word for "black" & "blue" is the same? Well how about that. Influenced? I'd say certainly: expect Bear-Kings to clash with Wolf-Shamans while the Seal-People look on; also, I think The Aeneid is probably The Bjorning in Oubliette.