I didn’t have time to write anything this morning, and that makes me crazy!

Frantic. That’s a fairly apt description.

Steampunk, anyone?

Steampunk, anyone?

I have to leave home in an hour. My paper grading is finished. I am more or less ready for class. We are going to discuss how Robert Louis Stevenson’s short story “The Body Snatcher” does not fit Flannery O’Connor’s definition of the “grotesque.” Hint: O’Connor says everything in a grotesque story could possibly happen. The writer of the grotesque, however, leans away from the “probable.” That is, it’s possible Parker’s tractor could explode when he isn’t paying attention and runs head-on into a tree, but it’s not probable—especially that his burning shoes would go flying off him in order to complete the image of the voice from the burning bush, “Take off your shoes; this is holy ground.” No one these days writes anything nearly as bizarre as O’Connor did.

Stevenson had to rely on the “other-worldly” to make his story grotesque. The corpse of an old lady turns into the corpse of a young man whom the body snatchers knew and whose body was dismembered and dissected by a medical school class. Right. Nowhere nearly as grotesque as Sarah Ruth beating Parker nearly senseless because he doesn’t get her Christianism.

So, you see, I’m ready to lead the discussion in my classes. I’m actually going to have them pair-up and write a debate on the question, “Stevenson’s story follows O’Connor’s definition of the grotesque.”

By the way, how much Steampunk literature do you know? Just thought I’d ask my (obviously erudite and educated readers). There. That’s O’Connoresque. The writer of the grotesque will leave strange gaps and skips in the narrative that most writers would fill in. Is this a short story, an essay, a frantic bit of hypergraphia? Doesn’t matter. What logic did I leave out (skip) in getting from a debate about Stevenson and O’Connor to Steampunk, the definition of which most of my readers don’t know (gap).

I’ve been writing something that I think can only be called a Steampunk short story, but I don’t think I can ever finish it. And a poem with the image of the water-faucet in my bathroom as a stainless steel bird. That’s how far from the probable my thinking is today.

I’m just glad I’m not Peyton Manning this morning.

Joanie loves Chachi (and her box is clean)

Joanie loves Chachi (and her box is clean)

His frenzy (the noun form of frantic if you write it correctly) must be worse than mine. He’s lost the prerogative of deciding whether or not his opponent should die in the gladiatorial ring. That’s not so bad, of course except that his opponent won the right to decide that about him. I suppose that’s a bit ghoulish for what actually happened yesterday. The only real physical disaster ensuing from the “game” is most likely a concussion or two. But who’s keeping track of the senile old (at 45) former football players running around? All that will happen to me as a result of my frantic morning is that eventually it’s possible (not probable, thank you Flannery) that I could end up in Zale Lipshy’s mental health unit because no one wants me to be out on the streets when I’m in the middle of a rapid cycling mode. Which I guess I am because the cat litter boxes are already scooped out, my lunch is packed, the papers I needed to read are read, and I’ve got a plan for my day which will probably not be followed (followed by whom? I’d ask a student who wrote that passive sentence; does your clause have a subject?).

I just now started to put the coffee grounds in the cone without the filter and caught myself just in the nick of time (how does time have a “nick,” anyway?), and that was because I was pouring the milk (Silk) onto my Grapenuts at the same time because I have to eat something before I take my meds so I won’t be dizzy all day. And all of that interrupted by running into the bedroom (well, the sleeping area—this is, after all, a loft, and I have no “rooms” per se) to see if I really should have done laundry yesterday instead of waiting around to hear Renee Fleming sing the national anthem (at least she sang only the official notes, even if she stretched the rhythm a bit here and there). And, no, I don’t have a shirt to wear.

And all of that frenzy/franticness is the result of my waking up about an hour later than usual and not having enough time to write anything before I have to go to class. And that will leave me about crazy all day long. At least these days I can immediately look back on the last hour and remember what I’ve been doing. I’ll bet there’s hardly a person alive (there’s no person alive) who has ever seen me at the top of the cycle. You, if you know me in real life and not just here in cyberspace (does anyone know anyone in real life anymore or is it all cyber? are you a cyberanyone to me?) probably would be a little surprised to see me running around like this wishing I had time to write something.

So now it’s too late, and I have nothing written although I had a lot I wanted to say about the Super Bowl and about the fact that I’m going to hear Bernadette Peters live on Thursday night, and I’m reading Joe by Ron Padgett, and lots of other things. But now I have to find something to wear and try to make myself presentable.

My public awaits.

I wonder what SMU students think when I come into the class room feeling this way. No more coffee for you, bud.

Not a thing to wear

Not a thing to wear

About Harold Knight
Retired English prof, SMU. Old man. Musician. Passionate about justice, equality, freedom. Therefore, I am a fervent supporter of and advocate for the Palestinian People as they struggle to survive genocide. That also means, of course, I have no use for US 45.

One Response to I didn’t have time to write anything this morning, and that makes me crazy!

  1. Kay Shapiro says:

    This is an example of what I call Stream-of-Consciousness writing – SOC for short. And yes, some mornings are exactly like this, internally and externally.

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