The Art of Tetman Callis

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

The Art of Tetman Callis header image 4

Entries from September 2013

Behind Closed Doors

September 30th, 2013 · 2 Comments

Memo in the inbox at opening time today. From Divisional Headquarters, Department of Intimate Affairs: There will no longer be any fucking between the husband and the wife. Forms have been submitted, a closed-door hearing has been held (to preserve the privacy of all involved), and the decision has been reached. What little has been […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Oniontown · Poems · Words

Don’t touch that!

September 30th, 2013 · No Comments

“The old God, all ‘spirit,’ all high priest, all perfection, promenades in his garden: but he is bored.  Against boredom the gods themselves fight in vain.  What does he do?  He invents man—man is entertaining….  But behold, man too is bored.  God’s sympathy with the only kind of distress found in every Paradise knows no […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Friedrich Nietzsche · Lit & Crit

My family fears for my soul when I post such quotes as this

September 29th, 2013 · No Comments

“The great lie of personal immortality destroys all rationality, all naturalness of instinct—all that is salutary, all that is life-furthering, all that holds a guarantee of the future in the instincts henceforth excites mistrust.  So to live that there is no longer any meaning in living: that now becomes the meaning of life….  What is […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Friedrich Nietzsche · Lit & Crit

Son of a preacher-man

September 28th, 2013 · 2 Comments

“Even with the most modest claim to integrity one must know today that a theologian, a priest, a pope does not merely err in every sentence he speaks, he lies—that he is no longer free to lie ‘innocently,’ out of ‘ignorance.’  The priest knows as well as anyone that there is no longer any ‘God,’ […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Friedrich Nietzsche · Lit & Crit

For instance, education

September 27th, 2013 · No Comments

“The entire West has lost those instincts out of which institutions grow, out of which the future grows: perhaps nothing goes so much against the grain of its ‘modern spirit’ as this.  One lives for today, one lives very fast—one lives very irresponsibly: it is precisely this which one calls ‘freedom’.  That which makes institutions […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Friedrich Nietzsche · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law

Spit

September 26th, 2013 · 5 Comments

High over the lake on autumn afternoons gulls flutter flutter? They fly in lackadaisical manner, not in any formations or groups The angels this afternoon have been having a party and threw confetti Gulls flutter and soar and glide above the lake sidelighted by the afternoon sun, lifted by the breeze What do angels eat […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Oniontown · Poems · Words

Nothing to stick your tongue out at

September 26th, 2013 · No Comments

“The struggle against purpose in art is always a struggle against the moralizing tendency in art, against the subordination of art to morality.  L’art pour l’art means : ‘the devil take morality!’—But this very hostility betrays that moral prejudice is still dominant.  When one has excluded from art the purpose of moral preaching and human […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Friedrich Nietzsche · Lit & Crit

Dancing on the ceiling

September 25th, 2013 · 6 Comments

“No one can spend more than he has—that is true of individuals, it is also true of nations.  If one spends oneself on power, grand politics, economic affairs, world commerce, parliamentary institutions, military interests—if one expends in this direction the quantum of reason, seriousness, will, self-overcoming that one is, then there will be a shortage […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Economics · Friedrich Nietzsche · Lit & Crit

The City Has Flocks

September 24th, 2013 · No Comments

The city has flocks of big fat finches A factory on the far South Side that turns out Scottie-dogs dog after dog after dog The forges blaze through the night Fresh-cast dogs clatter onto the factory floor Released into the parks by vested City workers the Scottie-dogs chase finches pecking in the grass The big […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Oniontown · Poems · Words

No retirement for you, mister

September 24th, 2013 · No Comments

“One is fruitful only at the cost of being rich in contradictions; one remains young only on condition the soul does not relax, does not long for peace.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols (trans. Hollingdale; emphases in original)

[Read more →]

Tags: Friedrich Nietzsche · Lit & Crit

Whistle while you work, that’s an order

September 23rd, 2013 · No Comments

“To stay cheerful when involved in a gloomy and exceedingly responsible business is no inconsiderable art: yet what could be more necessary than cheerfulness? Nothing succeeds in which high spirits play no part. Only excess of strength is proof of strength.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols (trans. Hollingdale)

[Read more →]

Tags: Friedrich Nietzsche · Lit & Crit

Controlled Access

September 22nd, 2013 · No Comments

The police knocked on my door last night. I was pleased they weren’t looking for me. The doorbell rang and I got up and looked through the peephole. I told my wife, It’s the cops. I opened the door and they identified themselves. Hello, we’re Chicago Police. They wore uniforms, badges, guns, and bulletproof vests. […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Oniontown · Poems · Words

Eternal verities

September 22nd, 2013 · No Comments

“Unfortunately, we are bound up in ourselves, and we really can only perceive through our own eyes and our own heart, and what we see is us. We think we’re exploring exterior worlds, but we’re not, so undoubtedly it’s the same consciousness, the same voice. But the intellectual excitement is when you tap into the […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Diane Williams · Lit & Crit

Image

September 21st, 2013 · No Comments

I’ve lived my entire life afraid to live and afraid to die How does that become a poem? It doesn’t contain any metaphor No imagery No beautiful language It’s No, it’s not even that There’s a man in a room and a light is on.

[Read more →]

Tags: Oniontown · Poems · Words

It’s non-negotiable

September 21st, 2013 · No Comments

“It seems like one of the things really great fiction-writers do—from Carver to Chekhov to Flannery O’Connor, or like the Tolstoy of ‘The Death of Ivan Ilych’ or the Pynchon of ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’—is ‘give’ the reader something. The reader walks away from the real art heavier than she came into it. Fuller. All the attention […]

[Read more →]

Tags: David Foster Wallace · Lit & Crit

Intruder

September 20th, 2013 · 2 Comments

Things happened at night and I don’t remember which of them was real and was happening outside my head. Someone was trying to break in through the back windows or the front door. I got up in the dark and went to my closet and pulled my rifle out and walked down the hallway in […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Oniontown · Poems · Words

Submitting to the bondage of the word

September 20th, 2013 · No Comments

“The really tricky discipline to writing is trying to play without getting overcome by insecurity or vanity or ego. Showing the reader that you’re smart or funny or talented or whatever, trying to be liked, integrity issues aside, this stuff just doesn’t have enough motivational calories in it to carry you over the long haul. […]

[Read more →]

Tags: David Foster Wallace · Lit & Crit

Fire Sale

September 19th, 2013 · No Comments

You don’t have what they want to buy. You’re reading Thomas Aquinas on the corporeality of angels, spiritual substance made manifest through form, and not even you will buy that. It goes in the back room, with the boxes of used quill pens, and the jars of cold and hardened phlogiston. Crowded back there. Arson […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Oniontown · Poems · Words

So, occupy this if you will

September 19th, 2013 · No Comments

“What’s been passed down from the postmodern heyday is sarcasm, cynicism, a manic ennui, suspicion of all authority, suspicion of all constraints on conduct, and a terrible penchant for ironic diagnosis of unpleasantness instead of an ambition not just to diagnose and ridicule but to redeem. You’ve got to understand that this stuff has permeated […]

[Read more →]

Tags: David Foster Wallace · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law

When the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city tremble

September 18th, 2013 · No Comments

“Rock music itself bores me, usually. The phenomenon of rock interests me, though, because its birth was part of the rise of popular media, which completely changed the ways the U.S. was unified and split. The mass media unified the country geographically for pretty much the first time. Rock helped change the fundamental splits in […]

[Read more →]

Tags: David Foster Wallace · Lit & Crit

The Church of Edmund

September 17th, 2013 · No Comments

Edmund sat on the corner in front of the Fourth Presbyterian Church. He rattled a battered McDonald’s cup at passersby, Excuse me, could you help me get a shower? Sir? Lady? His eyes were tired, very tired. No one stopped, no one dropped anything into his cup. Someone had earlier, I looked into the cup […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Economics · Oniontown · Poems · Words

Take their smart phones, too

September 17th, 2013 · No Comments

“Twenty-five year-olds [sic] should be locked away and denied ink and paper.” — David Foster Wallace (interview with Larry McCaffery in The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Summer 1993, Vol. 13.2)

[Read more →]

Tags: David Foster Wallace · Lit & Crit

Her Tells

September 16th, 2013 · 2 Comments

When she stops talk ing in the mid dle of a sentence or even of a word and looks at her plate or the table top or her glass or a fork or who can tell— it means she remembers what was said. When she sits with her hand in her lap and picks at […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Oniontown · Poems · Words

Watch yourself!

September 16th, 2013 · No Comments

“Once the first-person pronoun creeps into your agenda you’re dead, art-wise. That’s why fiction-writing’s lonely in a way most people misunderstand. It’s yourself you have to be estranged from, really, to work.” — David Foster Wallace (interview with Larry McCaffery in The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Summer 1993, Vol. 13.2)

[Read more →]

Tags: David Foster Wallace · Lit & Crit

Shower Curtain

September 15th, 2013 · No Comments

Lunch is a plastic cup of instant noodles. Pour boiling water in the cup and let it sit for three minutes. Be careful serving it to children, it is hot. You can eat it straight out of the cup. I am not a child. The cup of instant noodles is beef flavor and tastes of […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Economics · Oniontown · Poems · Words

Crank-turners on the split shift

September 15th, 2013 · No Comments

“When you talk about Nabokov and Coover, you’re talking about real geniuses, the writers who weathered real shock and invented this stuff in contemporary fiction. But after the pioneers always come the crank turners, the little gray people who take the machines others have built and just turn the crank, and little pellets of metafiction […]

[Read more →]

Tags: David Foster Wallace · Economics · Lit & Crit

Chicken Noodle Soup

September 14th, 2013 · 2 Comments

She knew right away. He saw it in the look on her face. He never knew how she knew. He rolled away and said, Sorry. I can’t I can’t do this, she said. I can’t —it will be six weeks before graduation and I can’t. He told her whatever she wanted to do, he would […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Economics · Oniontown · Poems · Words

And how many pushups can you do?

September 14th, 2013 · No Comments

“Examine all those epochs in a nation’s history when the scholar assumes a prominent position: those are always the crepuscular times of fatigue and decline; the times of reckless health, instinctual security, confidence in the future, are over.  It does not augur well for a culture when the mandarins are in the saddle, any more […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Friedrich Nietzsche · Lit & Crit

The Storm of the Street

September 13th, 2013 · No Comments

There are matters of sidewalk etiquette that now should be addressed. Whom to say hello to and whom not, and principles of eye contact and gaze aversion. The skinny old retired grey-haired Professor of Avuncular Studies, with his kind and gentle smile and his friendly good morning, to him you not only can return the […]

[Read more →]

Tags: Oniontown · Poems · Words

Swinging all ways

September 13th, 2013 · 2 Comments

“All great novels, all true novels are bisexual. This is to say that they express both a feminine and a masculine vision of the world. The sex of the authors as physical people is their private affair.” — Milan Kundera (interview with Lois Oppenheim in The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Summer 1989, Vol. 9.2)

[Read more →]

Tags: Lit & Crit · Milan Kundera