2005-01-04 - 10:52 a.m.

First off, the Diarist.Net Diarist Awards are taking nominations for the next 11 days. If there is a great diary you've been reading, you should nominate it. I nominated someone. You should, too. Democracy in action.

Next, I wanted to mention a book I'm reading. It's been out of print for decades, so don't bother to look for it. You ain't going to find it. I stumbled on to it quite by accident. It's called The Book of Sloth. Jorge Borges talked about it in one of his... stories? essays?... I don't even know what to call some of the things Borges writes...

Anyway, the title jumped out at me as I was walking through the book stalls because of the Borges reference. I thought the book was fake because of the way Borges described it. You see, the first thing you notice about the book is its size. It makes your average study bible look kind of smallish. The next thing you notice is the weird material with which the cover is made. It has a real oily feel. Whenever I put it down for a few seconds I think I've got some thick, gooey yuck on my hands. Given my neurotic tendencies this was pretty frustrating but I've convinced myself that this feeling is an illusion. Anyone know what this material might be? Drop me a line.

So, what's the book about? Fiction? Non-Fiction? Poetry? Prose? It's kind of hard to nail down. If you were to just skim the thing it would seem like a collection of personal essays on a variety of topics. The connecting theme seems to be that they all are written from the perspective of someone who has a lot of time on their hands. The narrator is isolated and lonely and has no job or activity to tie him down. He writes about watching buses come in and out of the terminal or the shifting behavior patterns of the waiters who work at the cafe where the narrator seems to drink endless amounts of espresso.

Sometimes he has remarkable insight. For example, he wrote about one time he came into the cafe and there was a blank space on the wall that had not been there before. He could not remember what had been there despite the fact that he had been coming to this place for years. Was it a sign? A painting? A lamp fixture? Even after writing endlessly about the arrangement of the tables in this cafe (which was remarkably gripping despite the mundanity of the subject matter) and checking through his endless notebooks and sketches, he could find no clue as to what had been there.

Like me, he's a total freak when it comes to human interaction so he never asks anyone what used to be in that space. Instead he tries (and fails) to elicit the information by trickery. No one falls for his ploys and that is what makes this essay beautiful. There is no closure, just a sense of emptiness and disorientation, which is exactly as he felt when he first noticed this empty space. Talk about drawing the reader in!

And yet I am confident that this is a work of fiction. Towards the end of each essay you get hints of thing happening behind the scenes which would not happen in reality. The author refers to people following him, his phone being tapped, dreams of future events coming true, visits from occult entities, all introduced as asides as if they are common occurrences. I have yet to determine what the actual story arc is, but I'm sure if I keep reading I'll be able to piece together what is actually happening to this odd character.

Another clue to the fictional nature of these... pieces? ... is the way the end. They always seem to fragment into bizarre, disconnected prose poems leaving one adrift without safe haven... simply wondering. The eyes, the angles. They seem wrong. I wonder if they can see this. I wonder if they are listening. I don't know, it's as if I was left. I can't say where. Can you hear me? Is this normal? Is this real? I am left speechless. The words, they seem to change meaning in mid sentence. Clouds take menacing shapes. Breathing through my skin. Could He have really lived here?

Reading Gospel Fear by Jeremaiah Burroughs
Wishing that someone would read between the lines of my entry and do something really cool for me but I can't say what!
Plotting to watch more episodes of Invader Zim tonight!

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