IJ quote of the day 15

I think this quote is a day behind. But seriously, who’s counting?

The section that most pleases me in the book, thus far, is the selected transcripts from drop-in hours of Pat Montesian. Laughed out loud. Laughed so hard I shook the bed and Spouse awoke, grumbled something about “that f—ing book” and went back to sleep. Then I read the next line and laughed again.

“So yeah, yes, OK, the short answer is when he wouldn’t quit with the drumming at supper I kind of poked him with my fork. Sort of. I could see how maybe somebody could have thought I sort of stabbed him. I offered to get the fork out, though” (177).

“So I’m sitting there waiting for my meatloaf to cool and suddenly there’s a simply sphincter-loosening shriek and here’s Nell in the air with a steak-fork, positively aloft, leaping across the table, in flight, horizontal, I mean Pat the girl’s body is literally parallel to the surface of the table, hurling herself at me with this upraised fork, shrieking something about the sound of peanut butter. I mean my God. Gately and Diehl had to pull the fork out of my hand and the tabletop both. To give you an idea” (177-8).

5 thoughts on “IJ quote of the day 15

  1. I used to love it when he would use “sphincter-loosening” and “eyeball rattling,” was that it? Rattling…? Like the coffee at the AA meetings?

    By the way, you know the story “Another Pioneer” from “Oblivion”? That always makes me laugh out loud…”…and by this time the entire village had come to revere the child and had collectively decided that the child must in fact be a special emissary or legate or even incarnation of the primitive Dark Spirits on which their pantheistic religion was primarily based, and some of the village’s shaman and midwife castes…claimed that the child had in fact come spontaneously into incarnated form deep in the circumambient rain forest and had been suckled and protected by divinely mollified jaguars…”

  2. I love Another Pioneer, too, maybe because I was suckled and protected by divinely mollified jaguars, myself. I found Oblivion one of my least favorite collections, but the bright points are blinding. Mr. Squishy SLAYS me, Another Pioneer makes me shake my head at both his prowess and the clarity with which he saw our false worships. And Incarnations still makes me want to just close up shop forever: on a human scale, I have never wanted more to erase something from my brain. Absolutely the most depressing thing I’ve ever read, more than The Depressed Person, more than Kate Gompert in the hospital, more than the intellectual claustrophobia of IJ’s opening. Ugh.

    I am not the same person since I first read the phrase “howling fantods.” Infinite Summer’s reading schedule has us just past usage number four of that fabulous phrase, including Avril’s “howling maternal fantods” over the fungus, and I cannot get over how brilliant that phrase is. For every reason “heebie jeebies” is okay but Wallace takes everything six steps higher.

  3. I admire your ability to interpret…I never get past the text with Wallace. I remember sitting with the editor on the train as he explained the ending of IJ to me…or the non-ending at least. So Another Pioneer is twice and meaningful to me in the context of a discussion of idol worship and even more so in the wake of Michael-mania (can you believe the news this AM was asking whether the media overdid the coverage of the funeral; with absolutely no apparent awareness of the fact that the very discussion was a further contribution to said overdoing…
    But I digress. Do you use howling fantods in your day-to-day interaction with the world at large? My daughters invented a curse word so they had something to say when something bad happened or something upset them (although I’ve never said they couldn’t use the other words and have told them a la George Carlin that “they’re just words”) – KNACK is their word. It works. Try it when called for. I’m going to start using fantods…

  4. Year of the Gold Casket

    I’m laughing out loud and in public, John.
    Poopbox is *great*. KNACK is great—open vowel words with terminal fricatives are fabulous curse words. That’s why we get the use we do out of things that end in -uck. We have the same basic approach to language at our house, except that he knows some words are not for public or grandma’s or school. His use of damnit (do we colloquialize that dammit? whatever) is splendid. Just splendid. “Mommy, when chopsticks don’t work I just say damnit and try again.” Yeah you do, buddy.

    I haven’t had the guts to use howling fantods in either writing or spoken discourse It feels like appropriating. As though I go around trying to name post-postmodernism and use ontological in daily conversation. I do feel, though, that I should gather the courage and do it. It’s just phenomenal, as an expression.

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