Sunday, January 15, 2012

CONSUMER CRIME: pd mallamo's novella" Sol Niger"

Spent a sunny afternoon reading your "Sol Niger."
It's a wild ride, funny and deeply depressing and so completely foreign that I was right at home (Freud's uncanny/unheimlich).
Holy shit! How do you do this?
Who the hell are you that you can think your way into lives like this?
I mean the TV lives. The stairstepper lives. 
And, of course, the war-strewn African immigrants' lives and speech patterns and histories and wide-eyed incredulous witness of self-inflicted American idiocies and humiliations.
Not to mention the pigs' lives.
I'm so proud, after reading this, to be an all-consuming AMERICAN.
So proud to be from the PEOPLE of DONNY and MITT and MADOFF.

"Hero's journey thru the discount store that is America
tattoo, lingerie, quick-loan, cigarette, liquor, peepshow, divorce
TV-gay Japanese vampire chipmunk ninjas from outer space with stigmata in
similitude of chipmunk Jesus. . . ."

Holy evangelical methsnorting homophobic shit.

"His hope lay in the possibility, which occurred to him one evening while remembering the hippo, that an answer lay between the two extremes -- between 'there is' and 'there is not.' In fact, the answer may be in the inquiry itself, irrespective of outcome. Or the answer may be somewhere in the hit program Dancing With The Stars which Beeko L.A. never misses. The sight of inflexibly married Mormon Donny Osmond grinding hips with a half-naked showgirl in front of twenty-million rapturously fanatical American Evangelical Christian television viewer who vote him 'Winner!' certainly puts frisson into the larger quest of a public god."

I'm turning off the TV.
Sticking with beer.
Staying away from Dostoevsky and Judge Judy.
Driving a souped-down Subaru.
Eating only chicken.
Avoiding hippos.
And writing short declarative sentences for fear of all-consuming consumer contagion.

With admiration for your meth-producing Achilles Muckelroy who "is an indispensable component in that extraordinary symbiosis identified by its fullest flower only in America, where distributors, users, police, courts, legions of lawyers, full divisions of psychologists, prisons and prison guards, boutique detox spas, rehabilitation centers, DEA, weapon manufacturers, gun shops, car dealers, jewelry shops, banks and investment houses (some but by no means all offshore) depend on producers like him for a great deal more than just a nodding percentage of their very livelihoods."


. . . pd mallamo's story in GRANTA:

Sign of the Gun

He buys a thrice-wrecked Maule in Alaska after his second season in the business, a brown-and-white STOL tail-dragger that doesn’t look like much but gets off the ground in 200 feet. He sells his truck and most of his things, stuffs the rest into the airplane and leaves Georgia forever.
With a new set of topos he scouts north-west New Mexico for a week before he sees his spot, an abandoned airstrip with a wobbly hangar on the lip of a deep canyon just off the Navajo reservation. He wonders at its purpose all those years ago, the runway so short and close to the canyon’s edge it may have been for helicopters instead of fixed-wing. Now sage grows through the pavement and tumbleweed piles against the west side of the shed. The desert is full of old strips. For his purpose this is the best.
The maps indicate springs nearby. A self-published guidebook written by a hippy explorer forty years earlier says they are good springs. In a thousand square miles he’s seen nobody and figures he is alone.
His back story, if he needs one, involves aerial mapping for the United Nations Cultural Agency. Uncharted Anasazi settlements detectable only from the air are scattered widely across the long red waste.
In truth he is a grower of high-grade marijuana for certain young lawyers in New York City who prefer organic, sun-grown bud, preferably from a desert with a whiff of Castaneda. He’ll call his crop Verse of Eden and should anyone care to read the fine print on the packaging he’ll describe it as That Which the Lord in His Infinite Wisdom Hath Brought Forth for the Joy and Benefit of Mankind. Like the prophets of old the desert makes his plant purer and stronger, altogether unlike that grown in the feeble artifice of civilization.
You are going to be lonely for a while, he says to himself at six p.m. on a Thursday and orbits the field three times before dropping in like he’s crashing, just beyond the edge of the canyon he’ll fall back into when he takes off again. He stops abruptly before a dilapidated hangar, cuts the engine, opens the door. Footsteps absurdly loud in the deep silence, he walks through the ruined old building, returns to the plane for a pair of leather gloves and commences rearranging.
The plane barely fits, with all the falling-down junk inside. He jockeys it in with a hand winch and goddamnit. He figures the shed has weathered many big winds so he’s not too concerned with structural integrity, but just in case shores up two pillars with four-bys and wire he finds on the ground. He plugs the engine where it needs plugging and covers from prop to wings with a waterproof tarp cinched tight at the bottom but cut for the doors. He lowers a light dirt bike, fuel and oil, provisions and grower supplies from the packed-tight fuselage and passenger side, jacks up the rear of the craft to make it level, removes the passenger seat, lays his bed out, then, further back, checks the germination of his seed in the damp folds of the bluetowels.
[for the rest of the story click HERE]


michael morrow said...

oh yeh...nice scott story...thats your work isnt it??

Scott Abbott said...

my work is only the letter to Paul. The quotes are from his novella, and if you'll look at the Granta site, you'll see that's his story, and also a very nice interview with him.

but i'm flattered.

michael morrow said...

hey scogtt....i would like to know more about the relationship between your letter to paul and his well written story pls....

Scott Abbott said...

the novella "Sol Niger" is not yet published. I was blown away by the draft of it I read, as you can read in the letter. Then I linked to the published story so readers could get a taste of Paul's work.
That's the story.