|"The vulnerable grid."|
Four pages into his 2014 book 10:04, Ben Lerner writes:
I managed to draft an earnest if indefinite proposal and soon there was a competitive auction among the major New York houses and we were eating cephalopods in what would become the opening scene. “How exactly will you expand the story?” she’d asked, far look in her eyes because she was calculating tip.
“I’ll project myself into several futures simultaneously,” I should have said, “a minor tremor in my hand; I’ll work my way from irony to sincerity in the sinking city, a would-be Whitman of the vulnerable grid.”
And then I kept on reading his book this is not quite nonfiction and something other than fiction, its tentacles tangling into the ether of pop meditation and historical tragedy to pull out of the darkness some bleeding mutation of a conservative demagogue, Ronald Reagan, quoting a mad scientist from the annals of Hollywood:
“Never has there been a more exciting time to be alive, a time of rousing wonder and heroic achievement. As they said in the film Back to the Future, ‘Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.’”
|Who said it: Doc Brown or Ronald Reagan?|
But when was that time? And when will that time be again? And was the experience fictive and the memory nonfiction? I will ponder. And I will ponder. And I will turn a page in Lerner’s book, and I will find the words of Walt Whitman and not know more or less about all the possible pasts and futures—but that I am and they were all part of “the vulnerable grid.”
Bryan Harvey tweets @LawnChairBoys.