Grotesques: Part 1

I have frightened my peers.

Yes, I am starring in Dante’s Inferno now. Here I am demonstrating the first rule of the transculture: taking off my self and lugging it around like a garden Buddha. A Moai on Rapa Nui would do just as well.

There is no certain knowledge to which I may return.

I lectured about transcultural observation in Prague, Lisbon, Swaziland and even at Oxford. I wrote a novel particularly to illustrate it. It did.

Will the Real Richard Rathwell please stand up.

Especially the writing of it. The book is hitting the streets any day now.

It’s a visual work, designed to read itself to you. Language is just another of its visual effects. In return, its images are sound.

I became a fable.

At Oxford, they failed to see this pose as a novel. I guess they mistook this narrative for the gravestone of Robert Graves, who trained Nassar to read, well, Robert Graves. The Egyptians have revolted ever since. I thought they’d get the reference. Instead, John le Carré got credit for the plot in The Night Manager. Good on him.

In this package, I was bullied, as if I were a proverbial ass. Then I was expelled from my PhD course, because transculture wasn’t based on gender, class or race interpretation of cultural phenomena. ‘O.K.’, I said, that too, but also this.

I joined the police in Nice to prove it to you. You’re welcome.

Torn out of that package, I learned that the politics of culture, like sex, resemble the politics of my own memory.

I was still trying to figure out which is the memory of my years as a chicken in the colonies and which one is remembering, then I forgot why it might matter. They don’t respond to close invocation.

When I was more distant, I was in Nigeria, at the foot of the mountains near the Cameroon border. The mountain was aflame from the fires of “those people.” The school was still smoking from the fires of the first fundamentalists.

That’s when I realized that we needed a new culture, and a new literature. Even John le Carré is dead. Come on.

It was a new world. I was a teacher of women teachers. None were fundamental. Some were Madonna-like, demanding purdah, second wives, some were fifteen-year-old liars in too-tight uniforms, who had to be kept from the fences at midnight when the gowned boys came to howl and the old men in government Peugeots with offers.

Here I am at the first day of creation.

The rain was coming in a wall across the horizon then. Dust cast before it in billows reddening skies.

These are my memoirs of the transculture.

It is time to prevent men from becoming books and books from becoming men.

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