The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

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Entries from May 2012

It is for the security of the homeland

May 31st, 2012 · No Comments

“Evil that is everyday is lost in life, goes shrewdly into it; becomes a part of habitual blood.  First it is a convenient receptacle for blame.  It holds all hate.  We fasten to it—the permanent and always good excuse.  If it were not for it, ah then, we say, we would improve, we would succeed, […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

Black magic writer, I’m just a black magic writer…

May 30th, 2012 · No Comments

“The people by me primitively guess that I am enemy and hate me: not alone for being different, or disdaining work, or worse, not doing any; but for something that would seem, if spoken for them, words of magic; for I take their souls away—I know it—and I play with them; I puppet them up […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · William H. Gass

Happens to civilians, too

May 29th, 2012 · 4 Comments

“For the military historian, failure to maintain focus on the true objective is among the easiest mistakes to detect.  For the soldier it is among the most difficult blunders to avoid.” – Robert G. Tanner, Stonewall in the Valley

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Tags: American Civil War · Lit & Crit

They called it “Bloody Angle”

May 28th, 2012 · No Comments

“The trench on the Rebel side of the works was filled with their dead piled together in every way with their wounded.  The sight was terrible and ghastly.  We helped off their wounded as well we could, and searched for our own wounded in front.  Captain Corey was killed and never found.  Captain Thomas was […]

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Tags: American Civil War · Lit & Crit

The cure is flight and/or avoidance

May 27th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“There is no use in hearing the term ‘apartment complex’ unless it is taken immediately to mean a syndrome, a fiesta of symptoms.” – Gary Lutz, “Femme”

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Tags: Gary Lutz · Lit & Crit

My father shows on my south side

May 26th, 2012 · No Comments

“I have been told that when people say they see my father in me, I am to do one of two things.  The first is just to tell them that it must be only because he’s trying to get their attention because he wants something again.  Otherwise he wouldn’t be showing himself in me of […]

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Tags: Gary Lutz · Lit & Crit

Same as it ever was

May 25th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“Is it one mistake after another, or is it the same one divvied up to make it last from one day to the next?” – Gary Lutz, “The Summer I Could Walk Again”

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Tags: Gary Lutz · Lit & Crit

Res publica and busy bodies

May 24th, 2012 · No Comments

“In no time even the least sneaky of things will have already been handled awfully, will have drawn onto themselves a commonwealth of squandered touch: anything eventually sports the lonelihood of people who could no longer keep their hands to themselves.” — Gary Lutz, “The Least Sneaky of Things”

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Tags: Gary Lutz · Lit & Crit

Squinting may help

May 23rd, 2012 · 2 Comments

“The mind’s eye is the least reliable of the sightholes.” – Gary Lutz, “I Was in Kilter with Him a Little”

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Tags: Gary Lutz · Lit & Crit

Power to the people, right on

May 22nd, 2012 · No Comments

“The people is an animal which can see and hear, but never thinks.  It is in a state of surprising lethargy or of surprising fury and goes constantly backwards and forwards from one state to the other, never knowing where it came from.” –  Montesquieu, “Letter 111,” Persian Letters (trans. Betts)

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Montesquieu

How, indeed

May 21st, 2012 · No Comments

“If the poor be poor in heart and spirit as well as in appearance, how will they be aught but poor to the end of their days?” – “The Poor Turkey Girl,” Zuñi Folk Tales, Frank Cushing

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Verandah

How come these people to feel so entitled?

May 20th, 2012 · No Comments

“When history is missing, it is replaced by fables; it is like a poor country where virtually worthless coins have to be included in the currency.” – Montesquieu, “Appendix 15,” Persian Letters (trans. Betts)

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Montesquieu

The highest law

May 19th, 2012 · No Comments

“Where religion is concerned, the more trivial the issue, the more violent the dispute becomes.” – Montesquieu, “Appendix 13,” Persian Letters (trans. Betts)

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Montesquieu

Ground down and cast away

May 18th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“Piety, a sign of strength in some characters, is in others a sign of weakness.  It is never without significance: for if on the one hand it is attractive in those who are virtuous, it completes the degradation of those who are not.” – Montesquieu, “Appendix 10,” Persian Letters (trans. Betts)

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Montesquieu

Why we never think things through

May 17th, 2012 · No Comments

“To think a thing through meant only hollowing it out, letting it cave in, seeing it to a successful collapse.” – Gary Lutz, “Carriers”

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Tags: Gary Lutz · Lit & Crit

Now for something completely… different

May 16th, 2012 · 7 Comments

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Tags: Verandah

When you can’t even crawl

May 16th, 2012 · No Comments

“When you are no good at what you do, it does you no good to triumph at whatever you might come home to, either.” – Gary Lutz, “I Was in Kilter with Him, a Little”

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Tags: Gary Lutz · Lit & Crit

Kick it, it’ll wiggle

May 15th, 2012 · 3 Comments

“It is no wonder that criticism is a more conservative, more academically elite, more racially exclusive club than fiction writing itself. To be a critic in the manner of Virginia Woolf—the default position of the Anglo-American critic, from F.R. Leavis to Lionel Trilling to John Updike to Helen Vendler—requires more than a simple lack of […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit

Put it back where you found it

May 14th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“Just because there is a place for something doesn’t automatically mean it belongs there.” – Gary Lutz, “Onesome”

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Tags: Gary Lutz · Lit & Crit

The Congress is in session

May 13th, 2012 · No Comments

“Most legislators have been men of limited abilities who have become leaders by chance, and have taken scarcely anything into account except their own whims and prejudices.  They seem not even to have been aware of the grandeur and dignity of their task: they have passed the time making puerile regulations, which, it is true, […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Montesquieu · Politics & Law

Plugging in

May 12th, 2012 · No Comments

“A story is a serving of palpated verbal material with feelings surging through it, and not just some caboodle of data about fabricated people and their antics.  If a reader is asked again and again to travel the distance between a capital letter and a period, every sentence ought to have been routed through the […]

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Tags: Gary Lutz · Lit & Crit

Arms and the man

May 11th, 2012 · 4 Comments

“As far as arms go, I think they’re the one part of the body that tends to get short shrift in fiction, even though they’re the place where the trouble between people usually gets its start.” – Gary Lutz (from Justin Taylor interview in Bookslut)

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Tags: Gary Lutz · Lit & Crit

Filling the drawers

May 10th, 2012 · No Comments

“A job does things to a person, deducts a person pretty brutally from life.  Desks are terrible places, no matter how many wheels a chair might have.  You can’t do much about how drawers fill up.” – Gary Lutz (from Justin Taylor interview in Bookslut)

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Tags: Gary Lutz · Lit & Crit

The dance of the inchwords

May 9th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“Writing is rich to the extent that the drama of the subject matter is supplemented or deepened by the drama of the letters within the words as they inch their way closer to each other or push significantly off.” – Gary Lutz, “The Sentence Is a Lonely Place”

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Tags: Gary Lutz · Lit & Crit

Out of plasmids are paragraphs made

May 8th, 2012 · 4 Comments

“Once the words begin to settle into their circumstance in a sentence and decide to make the most of their predicament, they look around and take notice of their neighbors. They seek out affinities, they adapt to each other, they begin to make adjustments in their appearance to try to blend in with each other […]

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Tags: Gary Lutz · Lit & Crit

Inhabitated is what the man said

May 7th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“The sentence, with its narrow typographical confines, is a lonely place, the loneliest place for a writer, and the temptation for the writer to get out of one sentence as soon as possible and get going on the next sentence is entirely understandable. In fact, the conditions in just about any sentence soon enough become […]

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Tags: Gary Lutz · Lit & Crit

We call it fiction

May 6th, 2012 · 2 Comments

“A lie is a truth struck through with other, further truth.” – Gary Lutz, “This Is Nice of You”

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Tags: Gary Lutz · Lit & Crit

You may rather be in Philadelphia

May 5th, 2012 · 6 Comments

“I have read descriptions of Paradise which would make any sensible person stop wanting to go there: according to some, the spirits of the blessed spend all their time playing the flute; others sentence them to walk about for ever; others again claim that while up there they dream about their mistresses down here, considering […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Montesquieu

The unreasoned reason

May 4th, 2012 · 9 Comments

“The urge to greet every answer with another question is one we find in children not because it’s childish but because it’s natural.  Once you begin the search for knowledge, there is no obvious place to stop.  The fact that the desire for omniscience cannot be met does not make it either foolish or pathological.  […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Susan Neiman

Ain’t no cure for heaven

May 3rd, 2012 · 4 Comments

“Is the desire for transcendence a matter of psychology—in which case it’s advisable to seek a good cure?  Or is the existence of that desire fundamental to any experience we could recognize as human?” – Susan Neiman, Evil in Modern Thought

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Susan Neiman