The Avenue

Laird Hunt

In my skull is an avenue I stroke

Clark Coolidge


There is an avenue in my skull too—albeit one that is poorly maintained, cavernously pitted, strewn with rubble, whole segments blasted away; one that is curved, possibly circular, that, like the backgrounds in cartoons, maddeningly repeats itself; one that is ill-marked, with many a false turn-off and many a false vista; one that is skewed out of proportion, that is frequently unsafe, almost always unsavory; one that is troubled by converging lanes, of which there are hundreds, that even resembles a parking lot in places and is probably haunted -- hell of a place. And yet, I, narrator, stroke it, speak through its mess, speak of its mess, multiply it. It's an interesting dilemma—aspects of which are taken up in Adorno's seminal essay on the place of the narrator in the contemporary novel -- the narrator, with no story to narrate, narrates anyway, a story that has been blown to bits. Of course not everyone sees it that way. We live in an age of errata, of misinformation, of disinformation, of hoax; perhaps it is little wonder that there continues to be such a hunger for narratives that, as Adorno describes them, largely by way of 19th century techniques mimic the real; that say to us, with disarming earnestness, this, my friends, is how it was. In the domain of the fictive narrative, I tend to have little patience for such works. I am much more interested in (and seem only capable of constructing) narratives that are to some degree aware of the provisional nature of their own authority, in which the fictive quality of recollection is acknowledged, in which forgetting is considered the key constituent of memory, and in which, finally, getting it right shares center stage with getting it wrong.



Issue One
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