Sunday, June 27, 2010

Kris Saknussemm's prose: “IT'S ALIVE!”

I was thinking about something this morning. Not sure if it's worth a paragraph or a few. When I ramble, you never can tell what it'll stack up to for anyone else.

One can read many swell writers on various topics. Their writing is clear, and it communicates. Whatever argument, opinion, or impression they wish to convey, the reader's time is not wasted nor his mind injured. But...even such writers, during their opening sentences, make the reader take a deep breath. It's like, “This could be interesting, so I'll trudge ahead through this clear, poised, informative prose." Maybe after a paragraph or so, you'll forget that the writing is on life-support – the topic itself has taken precedence over its exposition. But...*yawn*.

Then there is Kris Saknussemm. With the first sentence, you experience the rich air of life underneath the words, making them buoyant. Normality gets a cold splash in the face. There will be prose.

How come? Maybe it's owing to his rich personal experience. But I don't think that necessarily animates a writers output. I think it rather has to do with being fully awake. Being awake means always looking over your shoulder at your own self. It's about operating from a perspective of hyper-irony. You know you're partly nuts, so you recognize the implicit nuttiness of the whole world. You draw life from that bizarre bazaar.

Kris writes sentences that won't sit behaved on the page. They spiral up into reading eyeballs and get sucked into hippocampuses. The reader's brain gets soul-whacked, and it's like having one's spiritual adrenaline activated. This is writing that brims over with life. Concepts don't unfold. They sit up amazed like Frankenstein's creature after a lightning bath. People described aren't content to be formally clothed in self-conscious words. They want to be dressed in feathers and flourescent robes. They want to stand out and breathe on the page. So they love it when Kris wraps them in visceral words. They nod approvingly when they find themselves in sentences wrought from empathy, sympathy, and perpetual amaze.

If Kris decided to write an essay on the relationship of Heidegger to the accumulation of library dust, you would never look at philosophers or drifting motes in the same way again.

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