Post Road Magazine #17

The Freud Notebook 20062008 - by Ed Park

24 Nov 2006
I like metaphors of self-reflexivity, cause-and-effect loops, contradiction, homeopathy. At what point does one have to wash the laundry bag itself?

‘Rosa’s self-satisfaction was embarrassing and irritating, for he boasted that he had surpassed Michelangelo, and Passeri quickly changed the subject.’
            —Born Under Saturn

Ingredients for a writing project à la Sebald:
1. An old anonymous photo
2. A photo from your own life
3. A business card or matchbook
4. A passage from a magazine or newspaper
5. A photo or illustration from a catalog
6. A recipe
7. A logo
8. A passage from a book, real or invented.
Pick at least five and write a text inspired by them.

‘The place smelled of dog, of wet dog, of a wet dog who had been smoking a pipe.’
            —Queneau, The Last Day

Character for novel (entitled Klein): A Korean American who goes out of his way to indulge every stereotype (e.g., eats dog once a week).


Arte festum


25 Nov 2006
In a park in Japan, deer have been trained to bow twice for food.

After the tsunami, an orphaned hippo became attached to a tortoise.

There are reports of elephants raping hippos.

Skeletons of prehistoric camels have been found, twice the size of today’s dromedaries.

‘[Rustici] had made a porcupine so tame that it stayed under the table like a dog, and sometimes it rubbed against people’s legs so that they drew them in very quickly.’
            —Born Under Saturn


Last night on the verge of overtime the Canadiens broke a 1-1 tie by scoring with 1.4 seconds left in regulation.

On the flight Wednesday, I watched an ESPN Classic game—Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary with no time left on the clock, giving Boston College the victory over Florida.

I am happy if, at the end of an otherwise dull or insignificant game, a flurry of activity in the last minute changes the outcome. It can even be between two teams that mean nothing to me (e.g., that game I went to with H., Rangers vs. Carolina, the former scoring goals in the last minute and last second to tie and win). To relish sports in this way is to love drama, to appreciate the aesthetics of surprise.

The Weirdest Book project (a/k/a The Aesthetics of Surprise): Chapters on Keeler, Edward Payson Vining, Ernest Vincent Wright, Robert Kelly (The Scorpions), The Worm Ouroboros, Cards of Identity, It Happened in Boston?, Strange Life of Ivan Osokin.

B. insisted the “P” in “Prussia” was not pronounced, like the “P” preceding “psychology.”

Frenesis magna, the great frenzy of the brain.


26 Nov 2006
Anecdote: C. and E. saw someone at the theater who looked like R. They tried to get his attention but he didn’t notice, or else he wasn’t R. Gradually they realized it was him, but that he had a new chin.

‘One of his central projects is to find ways of feeling that nothing is ever lost.’
—Ann Snitow on Anthony Powell

29 Dec 2006
psephology: Study of elections
irenic: peaceful


14 Jan 2007
A pseudonym can be a life raft, a jest, a breather, a career.

What I liked about C.: She had no use for Borges, Kafka, Beckett, Céline, anything too postmodern or self-reflexive or grim. Though these were the kinds of things I read. Why indeed was I reading them?


18 Jan 2007
On Monday, in a rush and on an N train that paused overlong at each station, I muttered aloud, “What is this, a worm?”


24 Mar 2007
Two nights ago I saw some of a documentary on TV about deaf people and sign language and I was learning many things, such as how ASL shouldn’t

Frenesis magna,
the great frenzy
of the brain.

be considered a form of broken English but a language in its own right, with its own rhythms and expressions and grammar and nuances, its dialects and its accents, and I suddenly felt the mystery of all language, the bittersweet yearning for connection.

Then last night around 2 a.m., there was a travel show about Chinese culture, focusing on mysterious old red drawings on a steep and inaccessible cliffside in a
fertile region of China. (I thought they were calling it ‘Hua Mountain.’) I had many insights once again, wrote them down on a magazine business-reply card that I can’t find, that I will never find.


9 April 2007
Great first paragraph: ‘My name is John Jones. I am the only person in the world who knows exactly what he is doing—and why. I am the only person in the United States, at least, who contemplates the future with confidence and serenity.’

Great second paragraph: ‘I said my name is John Jones. My father told me I was thus named to challenge me. “In a world,” he explained, “where millions of Joneses are annually furrowing tens of

She had no use for Borges, Kafka, Beckett, Céline.

thousands of additional Joneses in a race of procreation with the Smiths and the Cohens, it will take diligence and ingenuity to become the John Jones.’
—Walter Karig, Zotz! (1947)

Cf. Harry Stephen Keeler’s ‘John Jones’s Dollar’ (Written 1914)


8 Sept 2007
Two ideas for science fiction stories came to me in a dream:

1. ‘Smart ads’ that insert names of viewer’s beloved/family members.

2. Group of friends suspect one is an android, his family a hologram. The friend under suspicion manages to dissuade them—but he is an android. (‘He would have to be more careful in the future.’) At the end of the story, we realize that he’s been telling it all along.


9 Sept 2007
Freud and L. Frank Baum both born in May 1856

1 Jan 2008
Saw a delivery guy on a bicycle, carrying another bicycle.


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