Book of Days – Steve Rasnic Tem

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Quilt 2003 – Crossroad Press (2010)

My previous reviews of this author: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/steve-rasnic-tem/

My previous reviews of older or classic books: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/reviews-of-older-books/

When I read this book, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below….

77 thoughts on “Book of Days – Steve Rasnic Tem

  1. Sept 1 – Sept 4

    “Dates were ghosts.  Pulling.  Annoying.  Nagging.”

    Absolutely entrancing start to a 16 month calendar-as-story-quilt starting on Cal’s Birthday. Each day, so far, itemised with one or two significant events in history, itemised by the calendar itself, if not by third person singular Cal, for that day, and his childhood, circumstances of birth, his mother, where he stayed with his mother’s friend Cora who died when he was 10, how he near broke his mother’s pelvis at birth, as I did to my own mother with my big head. I am one of the big-headed people, you see. Cal, a name I might use as short for Calendar, talks of exploding heads. And Cal’s guilt as a daddy himself. A previous theme with characters created by this author.
    And my wife of near 50 years’ marriage makes quilts, but that’s possibly beside the point….if it turns out to be relevant, I may post pictures of her quilts during this review. A book that, so far, has a literary tractability reminding me of much I relish in reading. Or perhaps it is too early to tell. I shall eke out this book of days, over the days, I hope, so as to savour the book’s days as well as my own perforce diminishing days…

    “He was a monster, calling himself a daddy.”

  2. Sept 5

    My short interpolation in Cal’s sporadic journey day by day, with event-marked years in counterpoint chronology, for me to compare travelling back with Cora’s gun to his hometown to get his Dad for the sake of his Mum, leaving his own children behind, cf Tem’s Excavation just read…

  3. Sept 6 – Sept 9

    Visions of Cal, within Cal, gather apace. This is more a roadmap with a crazy GPS of a mind, with all its fallibilities, dreams , nightmares and truths. Obliquely like putting stamps upside down on letters to one’s dead Mum. I am not sure whether quilt is the right word for this book. It is so revolutionary in a ‘fiction’ way, it deserves a better word. Perhaps it will come to me before I finish it. Perhaps it is the book I have been waiting for to crystallise my personal raison d’être of Gestalt real-time reviewing, aka dreamcatching, aka hawling.

  4. Sept 10 – Sept 12
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    “The bullet approached slowly, indecisively, as if trying to determine for itself what kind of man he was.  Finally the bullet drifted to the ground and waited. 
    Cal went back inside the cabin to go back to sleep.  The bullet followed.  The bullet got into bed with him.”

    I am not sure yet what I have taken on here. This seems like a constructively experimental novel that’s set, I feel, to blow my socks off. Why have I not heard of it before? A precursor novel to Auster’s 4321? (My review here). I am wondering whether you can tell which sons belong to whom from looking at their two respective fathers, fathers watching them from the edge of a sports ground? We hear of Cal’s sparse wedding day. And why does an old crazy woman with Mason jars of blood disrupt someone’s else wedding day…?
    I am in for the ride, in for the long hawl.

  5. “Flattery, bribery, and a keen insight into the human condition facilitate Capote’s visits to the prison where the accused are held.” From Wikipedia

    SEPT. 13
    1876: Sherwood Anderson, author of Winesburg, Ohio is born.
    1971: New York state troopers crush a prisoner revolt at the Attica State Prison.

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    “You should know better, getting my boy in trouble.”

    My reviews of Truman Capote in case they are relevant to my reading of this book, as linked from here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/5420-2/

    And of Flannery, not Flattery, O’Connor’s complete stories: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2016/07/01/flannery-oconnor-complete-stories/

  6. “We have to be taught to see here, because here is everywhere, related to everywhere else,…” — William Carlos Williams

    Sept 14 – Sept 18 (5 entries)

    “Some years it seemed that all over town children were falling out of open windows, falling out of the backs of trucks, falling off the tops of playground equipment, losing their hands in machinery, riding their bikes downhill into rush-hour traffic.”

    I love the way each day’s entry relates in some way with the headline or headlines given for that date in history. And here they lead, inter alia, to concerns of parenthood, the paralysis of doing the right thing.
    There seems to be something special about this book upon which I cannot yet quite put my finger. Did you notice, by the way, how the letters in the Scrabble game above form the letters of: Steve Rasnic Tem?

  7. Sept 19 – Sept 26

    “Sometimes I lay awake thinkin’ it’s somethin’ I brought up out of that mine, on my hands, on my clothes.”

    There are some intensely poetic moments and thoughts and structured prosodies in this work. And the struggle of life, and who is abandoning whom, who is threatening whom. Weak against even weaker, or vice versa.
    Linda or Sally? Such questions, too. A plain life is always paradoxically a mixed up life, I guess, with here the potential poetics to describe it. And echoes, in the CALendar text, of the famous authors incorporated in its dates’ headlines. Including, my favourite, TS Eliot. Although I see him more English than American. More a spiritualist or even mystic than an Anglo-Catholic. A bit like Blake.

    “When meat has children, there is no comedy involved.  When meat has children, it’s a tragedy.”

    This author should be a famous one, too, based on my reviews so far of his work: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/steve-rasnic-tem/

    Some of my previous reviews of famous authors that may turn out to be relevant to this one: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/reviews-of-older-books/

  8. Sept 27 – Oct 1

    “SEPT. 30 1924: Truman Capote is born.
    1949: The Berlin Airlift is officially halted.”

    Moving stuff regarding fathers and their children, the slippery attachments between them, from TV chat show philosophies about it to wearing papa or Pope hats as a naive disguise, then gratuitous, non-germane memories of black Cora’s black lover: a Sunday School woman — and visions of General Franco talking of his own children, and then the next calendar due day that brings thoughts of the Berlin airlift: hitting out food parcels in either direction, God to man, man to God? And an old man with his one big hit skyward after a series of failed hits. Long’s you do at least one of them hits in your life, he say. And if I had written this book, that would have been my one big hit! Sure this author can’t spare it me? We are fathers each to each, I guess.

    “Fathers are the hands that embrace you, and then hold you too firmly.  Then they become merely the landscape you walk through on your way to somewhere else.”

  9. OCT. 2
    1879: Wallace Stevens is born in Reading, Pa.
    1985: Rock Hudson dies of AIDS in Paris.

    “Dried mushrooms against their cheeks, a brittle scrabble of insect wings.  Skreak and skritter.
    When Leon died he had not seen his friend in weeks.”

    This is perfect study of a single male friend from the point of view of Cal and his family who welcome him. Like a jolly uncle. Someone whose kisses outlasted his death.
    Perfect, too, as connected, if not perfectly, with what I just read and spoke about in connection with today’s Tem story in a different book of days here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2019/03/31/figures-unseen-steve-rasnic-tem/#comment-15581

    “Whispering into her ear.
    Telling her a story.
    Skreak and skritter when the kiss’s tale was finally told.”

  10. Oct 3

    “The angel was a miniature: only five feet or so, with pale skin and mousy brown hair.  The edges of her ivory wings had yellowed…”

    Strong inadvertent harmony, for me, with the ‘miniatures’ and dwarves/ dolls, by happenstance, in two chance concurrent reviews earlier today here and here.

  11. Oct 4

    An amazing SF section, if SF at all, where two boys open up a landed spaceship, a can of worms or hornets’ nest, of worms or hornets shaped from toothpaste into people they know, including themselves! But who are whom? This is a striking prophecy – in 2003 when it was published – upon how we all have changed recently, be it by social media and the new entrenched polarities of politics and social history. And those Mason jars again…

    “The bad thing, though, was that some of the Mason jars were accidentally broken so some of the people weren’t restored but they couldn’t tell who got restored and who didn’t because people were spilling out of the building in all directions and fighting their duplicates and pretty soon you couldn’t tell which from what and who from who.”

  12. Oct 5

    “1982: Johnson & Johnson remove Tylenol from the market after eight people die from strychnine poisoning.”

    “For any particular cruelty, there will always be at least one perpetrator who will derive pleasure from it. “

    A sort of Russian Roulette (with Novichok?) that we all play today, since this book of days was written. Not sure whether Cal is the man here trying his best for his children, or someone far more insidious masquerading as something called CALendar. In assonance with the Cullender or Colander of strained time?

    “We have been poisoning the rest of the world with our wastes, our failed drugs and pesticides, for decades.”

  13. OCT 6 – OCT 8

    “A man leaves his wife and children and becomes… “

    An incantatory refrain of excuses or eventualities, or, on a different day, fiction fabrications wherein he is hero to his children.
    You need to continue seeking to read and understand all of Tem before understanding a part of him.

    “People are capable of anything, Mr. John.  Someday I’d like to explain about that to my kids, if I could find a way that wouldn’t scare them.”

  14. OCT 9

    This will now evermore be called the Lord’s Brain entry in this book. Certainly shocked me. This book is quite extraordinary. Still unsure what has grabbed me. Not a novel, not a colllection of connected stories, not a patchwork quilt, not an Auster choice of parallel calendars whence to choose life’s audit trail. So I know what it’s NOT. So what is it? A man’s gestalt of discrete dreams triggered by dates and histories, geared to the responsibility of parenthood, feeding oneself by proxy into the swathe of perceived existence as a soul-hatching-souls? Just brainstorming…

  15. OCT 11

    “…every writer was a medium for the mysterious force, a darkness, that rises within – that darkness needed to be put on paper.”

    Incredibly, this day’s entry seems to have the perfect chance but specific mutual synergy with another Tem work I read this morning here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2019/05/04/out-of-the-dark-steve-rasnic-tem/#comment-15678 The impulse to put darkness on paper, Cal wanting to be a writer and guilty about his unconventionality towards his children… here with their face bits accidentally moving about like the fleeting piecemeal bodies and heads in story just linked above!

  16. OCT 12

    “I claim this in the name of the anonymous!”

    Columbus Day, and everybody is staking their claim in the name of … with everything in sight. A bit like taking photographs, I wonder, especially of people, taking their souls, staking them…?

  17. Oct 13 & Oct 14

    “i wake up in
    complete.”

    Cal’s childhood concept of Jesusman as a super hero…
    And then a poem as a gestalt of three headlines for Oct 14

    “1894: E.E. Cummings is born in Cambridge, Mass.
    1917: France executes Mata Hari.
    1944: German field marshal Rommel commits suicide.”

    I thought the poet more often called himself e.e. cummings or i.
    A lower case christ…

    ‘As he matured, Cummings moved to an “I, Thou” relationship with God.’ – Wikipedia

  18. OCT 15 – OCT 18

    “Sometimes they built stories as essential as the words themselves.”

    Words as words that become associations, from sound and look, story extrapolations, like the act of a human REALLY flying as a human, like the things IN darkness being more worrying than the darkness itself and memories of what happened to his Mum, but then flying again like words in the air or like words AS air itself. My own flying here with this review, a review as in-spired by what it is reviewing.

  19. OCT 19 – OCT 21

    “Kandinsky classified his works as impressions, improvisations, and compositions.  Cal had always preferred Kandinsky’s improvisations: ‘largely unconscious spontaneous expressions of inner character.’”

    Much here is just that! I really think this book should be read by more people than I suspect have already read it since it was published.
    Here with flying, this time on Concorde, absurdist obliquity, coming out of the angst of our past eras (evoked here earlier today by Tem himself), the tornado of time or death’s nuclear button, and sacrifice of our own children, all children. Never to become adult students, unless they are ones who don’t know the capital of Brazil!

  20. OCT 23 – OCT 25

    “In his head he’d practiced going to his own children’s funerals almost since the day they were born.”

    Some striking passages self-posed in funeral parlours and in the contiguity between two days with panty hose as skin. This book continues to surprise me, to startle me, sometimes. The angst and guilty conscience are profound.

  21. OCT 25 – OCT 27

    “He wondered sometimes if animals had truly individualized thoughts, or if it was instead a collective sort of experience.”

    Humans are animals, I say. Hence the Jungian Collective Unconsious as gestalt. But then, I thought I spotted between the trees – amid judicious or catalytic or preternatural sunlight and shadows in the grass – Flannery’s gorilla, not the girl who was given a baboon heart transplant. Earlier, a couple of old fogeys sit on bench listening to my pompous book reviews. Except, like Cal, I listen to presumably respectable people like lawyers, talking even greater nonsense than me!

  22. OCT 28

    “So back when the boys were only seven or eight their father had set them to constructing a building with a tower in their back yard, a building which they would erect, then tear down, then erect again (usually with some small variation in the plan) every year.”

    An incredible extract or entry, about the recurring building of buildings, built by a father with his sons, a father of sons whom Cal once knew, a father who looked like Mussolini, and the preservation of nails between one incarnation of the building to the next, nails used also as stigmata…
    I really wish I could have quoted the whole of this day’s entry, instead of just that part above. Books have nails, too, I guess.

  23. OCT 29

    Absolutely incredible synchronicity or coincidence (or preternatural cause-and-effect?) as literally minutes ago I put down a Rhys Hughes book after having mentioned his reference to ‘Black Tuesday’ in my review of it here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/engelbrecht-again-rhys-hughes/#comment-15761
    And now I have picked up this Tem book where the title for this date’s entry is: OCT. 29 1929: “Black Tuesday,” the Great Depression begins.

    • Please forgive an irresistible long quote from the OCT 29 entry, in relevance to Cal leaving his wife and children. Literary landmark, I would say, but who else has read this book, to be able to countersay me?
      “…Linda grabbed their son and stalked out the door, that scratchy door, the one with the wolf behind it.  Cal had been ashamed.  Then he had walked over to that door she had just slammed, that scratchy door, and put his face up to it.  He could smell the thing through the door: that stench of poverty and despair.  And he could hear that thing breathing on the other side of the door, that wolf-thing with its long jaw and massive curved teeth designed to scrape the flesh from the bone, because sometimes flesh was all that was left to be had.
      The wolf’s at the door.”

      Warewolff!

  24. Pingback: Synchronicity rampant… | DES LEWIS GESTALT REAL-TIME REVIEWS: I’m gettin great hawlin here.

  25. OCT. 30 1938:  Orson Welles panics America with his broadcast of H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds.

    Spurred on by this day’s entry, I am now going to panic you all out there. Aliens have created Wi-Fi to spread senile dementia among us, even among some of our younger ones.

  26. OCT 31

    “…waiting apprehensively for the words of the story he was about to read.”

    This is genuinely the creepiest, most frightening Halloween-based work I have ever read. Who’s tricking whom, who’s treating whom? Where’s the pain deepest? A short short as an emblem for our times.

  27. NOV 1 – NOV 4

    “The little boy walked toward him, and seemed to fragment, vanish, then reappear again in the fading light.”

    Markers in a graveyard, remind me of others markers, like words, another story called Markers. Playing with two dead children having abandoned his own. Still in contact with them, though, with words, these words as a diurnal entry, turned out as a letter about the fear of flying. Or letters, in the plural, making, marking words. An old man masquerading as an American President. People themselves are perhaps words that they make mean something, or they are letters rather than words. Like LBJ.

  28. NOV. 5
    1991: approximately 7,000 people are killed in floods in the Philippines.

    “But there must come a point, he thought, after the mind has snuffed out, pushed out by the water rising inside the body, that drowning must seem quite natural.”

    A revelatory evocation of drowning that somehow fits perfectly, if obliquely, with the evocation of being born that I was granted by Blood Moon, having just read it less than an hour ago here.

  29. NOV 6 – NOV 7

    A chap who is a saint like Gandhi, always doing good gets annoying, so send him out of town, I guess, and next day a commune of revolutionaries or aliens closet themselves IN town till a baby eats the exiting furniture creatures, eats each squirming bit by bit each day. I think I read that! A bit like a hermit who is scared of his own shadow out of dark, out of dream. There was a scaredy hermit in Warewolff! today, too! Dreams and writings that one sends out each day, as I do, trying each day for my diurnal dose of Tem, synched with other daily doses, and yesterday trying to put a stop to it all, by crystallising this review at the point I left it yesterday by means of frozen unchangeable print in a book of my entries, my book of days: http://www.lulu.com/shop/d-f-lewis/gestalt-real-time-reviews-of-steve-rasnic-tem/paperback/product-24113711.html
    An addiction to my own daily entries. Keeps the nightmares inside. Because if they are out of here and out there, there is no accounting for them?

  30. NOV. 8 1923:
    Adolf Hitler attempts to seize power in Germany with a failed coup in Munich.

    “…and she said “delusions” were the key.  He asked her what that meant and she said it was like a fantasy that you believe is real, usually something you’re scared of.”

    A prophetic brainstorming, based on the local politics election, in how to create a Trump? Or not?

  31. NOV 9 – NOV 11

    “The tears collide into each other as if in an earthquake.  Their googly eyes blur.”

    Three discrete scenes of oblique literariness, gay not bleak, a ‘queer’ as was known back then and as is known again today, abandoned by his community as Cal has abandoned his children, the tears of Muppet children on the TV, and lists of those fallen in battle on veteran’s day. People don’t have TV today but downloads instead. Bleak and oblique again? A world in cycles, all different, but all the same, too, as depicted by this old book with old dates, brought UP to date by the contemporary reader today, and so it goes on, until or unless it ends. Nonetheless.

  32. NOV. 12
    1954: Ellis Island closes.

    “In America, they tell me, everybody wears shoes.  Everybody buys shoes, everybody loves shoes, everybody judge a man by his shoes.”

    Their colons, too.
    An émigré from Hungary as would-be rich shoemaker. Me thinks: to be always hungry, too? The route to America is through Americans’ stomachs, I say, not their shoes: a book of days keeps you regular!

  33. NOV 13

    “For a while he’d had this strange notion that when human bodies decayed they became feces, and that bowel movements reminded us not only of where we came from (the exertions of birth), but where we were eventually going as well.”

    … the pure equivalence of scatology and eschatology? Of mud and frogs. And Cal’s frightened daughter in the flood and storm, awaiting an angel to appear, perhaps? An angel, too early, as she is not yet old enough. And frogs usually turn into princes, not angels, I say.

  34. NOV 14

    “…and the long cool Pacific ride until Mount Pelei sends him higher with her hot kiss until he is over the Golden Gate bridge scraping his hand through snow atop the Rockies…”

    Exhilarating ride with Cal as he out-circles Phileas Fogg…
    This is one incredible book. Why is it not noised abroad more than it seems to have been?

  35. NOV 15

    “The static generated pictures in his head of things he had never seen before.”

    A wondrous essay on early wireless static that I lived with as boy, myself. Significant that I think I first encountered Tem in Black Static.

  36. NOV 16 – NOV 17

    “Something is always creeping up, he knew, even if you can’t see it.”
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    Like a race memory. Or your own limbs emerging from sculptured stone, or being absorbed in it first. American Indians, like Jews, learning who they are only after finding out their dire histories. Dire as shorthand for diurnal or diary. Cal short for calamity as well as calendar.

  37. NOV 18

    “…those frozen eyes.  The forever, alltoosolid sadness in them.”

    Cal’s abandonment of his family a new Antarctica of the spirit. And a goose not cooked but colded by its curiosity.

  38. Now to ease myself back into Tremendous Tem, “in fits and starts”, until I hopefully hit a regular diurnality again…

    NOV 19, an anniversary of man’s second landing on the moon,

    “Death must be like this, he thought, shivering.”

    A very effective vision of the singular gestalt man in the moon as seen by the many men in the moon who live among humanity down here on earth. Witnesses often as unseen figures in detachment from all you others who are aware only of your humanity?

  39. NOV. 20

    “I slept through my own decay – like most fathers, I did not even know it was happening.”

    A most moving scene, after the man-in-the-moon watching, whereby even a dictator has to follow his own father and later his children into decay. To coldly sit on someone’s lawn as something else.

  40. NOV. 21 1877: Edison announces the invention of his “talking machine.”
    1893: Adolph “Harpo” Marx is born.

    “The fence became a series of wrinkled lines as it melted, like gray spaghetti on top of the syrupy lawn.”

    This book’s becoming so good, it’s fast becoming unreviewable. Seriously.
    Honkhonkhonkhonkhonk.

  41. NOV. 22

    “Cal went to make some tea and think.  After two cups he realized that insanity was a fitting punishment for someone who had abandoned his kids, and he found this realization oddly comforting.”

    One of the most moving entries in this book, possibly in any book, boyhood dreams of pirates, mixed with what else happened on a Nov 22, and the title of a book by King.

  42. NOV. 23

    “The baby was put together from a variety of hide, fur, and bone, crudely matched, and hardly looked human at all.”

    Another remarkable tranche of guilt, blame and dark dream, as Cal pits the word ‘coward’ against ‘cowboy’ in the wet snow. The eventual red wet snow, now read. But tantalising to think a certain Boris might be implicated?
    Everything means something different whenever and wherever you read it, the when and where of literary synchronicities.

  43. NOV. 25
    1963: the body of President Kennedy is laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

    “The white space between the lines of type in our books is meant to signify all that we have forgotten.”

  44. NOV. 26

    Thanksgiving, and Cal the father fabulises another father called Jack who thinks he knows best about the well-being of his wife and children, and is thought about by Cal perhaps to absolve his own fallibility as father. We all end up the way Jack does, I guess. Sooner or later, as I continue to learn about my best intentions being not a million miles away from something worse than cruelty! A tomato making this yarn redder than it would otherwise have been? Ill-lobbed. Or hogged, drawn and quartered.
    Owen Booth’s fathers, too.

  45. NOV. 27

    “Cal wondered if all sons wanted, at some time or other, to kill their fathers.”

    Or, even better, abandon them, leaving them with the pitiless inevitability of death. Belt and braces, kill the Pope, too, Pope as Papa.
    This most powerful of books has possibly even more power if left virtually unread. I hope my review of it, therefore, is also left similarly unread.

  46. NOV. 28

    “And he would think about how cold his son had become, and yet how warm his little boy had once been, before Cal had left.
    And the birds above would endlessly circle, spelling 0.”

    Forgive me for quoting so much. Or simply just forgive me.
    This book is sometimes almost sacred.

  47. NOV. 29

    Virtually unbearable section depicting Cal’s writerly-cum-eschatological epiphany, involving his son’s interaction with him, blood in the snow, and adding stuff to the writing of one by the other. A sort of spiritually vestigial plagiarism that infects both parties like a two-way filter? As seen by the father alone? Or as helped by the son resurrecting a late father’s work? Where bad things might lead to good… I could go on about this endlessly, but I fear I will be extrapolating the text beyond its intentions.

  48. DEC 1

    “A wheel was the perfect place to dream.  A hundred, two hundred wheels turning together, and a multitude of realities could be dreamed.”

    Some things just ARE, including the many obliquely revelatory observations constantly being made in my life recently via my Tem reading. Day after day. The odd twisted Mobius day, notwithstanding..

  49. DEC. 2
    1859: neoimpressionist painter Georges Seurat is born in Paris.
    1942: a nuclear chain reaction is demonstrated for the first time.
    1970: the Environmental Protection Agency begins operations.
    1982: doctors at the University of Utah Medical Center implant the first artificial heart in retired dentist Barney Clark.

    “He was reminded that for all its beauty the physical world was a volatile and dangerous place, always on the verge of explosion and collapse.  If the proper notes were played or if the vibrations of things were altered just so there would be this flying apart, this chain reaction which might not be stopped, and the cloud of the world would tear like the sudden disruption of a dream.”

    The agglomeration of anniversaries for this date and the above quote in particular seems to be speaking from a different generation 16 years ago when this book was published to our generation today. I sense an undercurrent of Astrological Harmonics, too. This book, perhaps, is the prime example of pointillist literature….

  50. DEC 3

    “The dead begin their journeys in our dreams.  Our dreams are the journals for their journeys. On his dreaming journey with him were a few friends and the multitude of tiny gray corpses of the children of Bhopal following the shoreline to Heavenly Savior.  There they would complete their trip, but they had to stick to their path. Along the way monstrous bombs dropped out of the anuses of angered adults.  Long serpentine arms entangled the shore, snaring their tattered clothing.  These arms had abandoned the men who owned them: men who wanted to hold children until there was nothing left to hold anymore, and the children broke apart and left their sweet and sour smells on the skin.  The corpse children had to eat from great piles of rotting food in order to cross the borders kept free by uniformed guards with dogs. In caves, mothers’ cries circled and erupted with clock-like regularity.  And everywhere underfoot there was the paper trash the adults had left behind on their own long journeys into night, printed with words the children could not read and pictures years outside their own narrow experiences. They passed headstones which were the living heads of their teachers.  They walked down paths paved with the teeth they had grown out of.  They were guided along their way by moons with huge silly grins spread across their pale yellow faces. And so all the dead children — Cal and his good friends included — passed one by one into the arms of the Heavenly Savior, who looked very much like the local sheriff.  Who apprised them of all their mistakes and reassured them that they were not dead at all, but had become pages in the scrapbooks of their parents’ lives, free to be turned and turned over again and again.”

    Please forgive me quoting so much from this entry. It is brilliant in itself, and also brilliant by synchronicity with what I read only half an hour ago from the same author’s Cascade of Lies here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2019/05/04/out-of-the-dark-steve-rasnic-tem/#comment-16329

    DARKLY brilliant. The Bhopal of the Generations, mutual metaphors, if there can be such a thing as mutual metaphors.

  51. DEC 4

    I thought of the term ‘mutual metaphors’ yesterday for the first time. And since then I have seen nothing but! Here Cal proposes a mutual synergy of hijacks between a hitchhiking boy who looks like his son when older and himself. But with all metaphors you need something as a prop to hang a metaphor on. Sometimes you are tantalisingly not given that prop by Tem.

  52. DEC 5

    A dark synergy created here with Cal’s fear of cartoon characters and child prodigies.
    Yet who does this remind you of below:
    “The commander-in-chief with the big ears, rotating like radar dishes so that he might hear of any plots against him,..”
    The large ears are metaphorical, I guess.

  53. DEC.6

    The Devil’s Tree like a spider or a child in Spidertalk just now, wrapping humanity in its embrace, here causing contiguity with a crashed car and its accidentees. Cal has a lucky escape during the trajectory of this accident. Meanwhile, this book’s own roots reach to the core of the diurnally spinning earth, where lies Azathoth’s heart, the true form of the Devil, I infer. The text itself does not mention Azathoth though.

  54. DEC. 7

    “When Cal left his family three sleeping forms would wait until the morning to be betrayed.”

    An incantatory refrain of “When Cal left his family” as introductory clause for different dependent or main clauses. If a photo replay of the attack on Pearl Harbour were possible, we would see images of all those whose families waited at home for them. Something very poignant about life in whatever direction of dependency it takes. When we die, we will never know if we are still loved or even missed at all. When we die, there can be no dependant clause and even main clauses go missing. When Cal dies, the calendar goes missing, too.

  55. DEC. 8
    1854: Pope Pius the Ninth proclaims the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, to wit Mary, the mother of Jesus, was declared free of Original Sin from the moment she was conceived in her mother’s womb.
    1943: Jim Morrison of “The Doors” is born.

    DEC. 9
    1905: Dalton Trumbo, author of Johnny Got His Gun, is born in Montrose, Co.

    Just the above full titles of the next two entries should suffice as the whole of the next part of my review. But by having added that rider as corollary of the next part of my review has now tended to disprove the rest of my review. So, I may as well now mention the images of a lizard in the road and the freak show… and also mention that I was originally worried that these images here will haunt me and give me nightmares later tonight. But my mind is eased, as these images have just been erased by having just read this author’s other work called WORMS. Eased, not erased.

  56. DEC 11

    “dolls — the ones so thin their edges hurt to touch.”

    Tem fiction is as if by a magician of the oblique – and here we learn, via this magic, more about the child starvations abroad and the relative health of those children closer to us than we would ever learn even if we physically straddled the world and saw the situation for ourselves in one fell swoop.
    A brave obliquity. Not afraid to dab those words like a painter with an instinctive wildness and spookiness. Precise, too. No mean feat.

  57. DEC 12

    “Across the mountain in the next valley a man had raised ten sons by himself.  He schooled them at home, and the boys were rarely seen. “

    Then the oldest boys taught the youngest as if they were sons. And the latter propped up the former as if tutelary fathers they had somehow killed. But the top echelon father had himself come back – like the Drowned Man? Defiant?
    Tem is a gestalt novel.
    You need to read everything he has had published, to read that massive novel – if not linearly from start to finish – certainly as fragments of an eventual jigsaw.

  58. DEC 13

    “In a far room of the house, a room he does not recall ever visiting before, sits a small child with its back to him.  The child has deep lacerations around its head and shoulders, and upon closer examination Cal can see why: the child has unusually long arms, and at the ends of these arms are narrow, spider-leg fingers tipped with claws.  The arms have been tied securely to the child’s body to prevent it from doing itself further injury.”

    Please forgive another long quote, but there was a child in Tem’s ANDREW – read earlier today – with hands tied in a hospital. Experiencing this entry today in synergy with ANDREW is almost unbearable. Well, only bearable by deeming, in writing here, that it is almost unbearable. (Almost bearable, and nothing would have been written here at all?)

  59. DEC 14

    “Cal would walk inside his own skull for hours at a time, visiting the abandoned rooms, ashamed that he had let things deteriorate so far.”

    I am running out of superlatives for Tem’s work and am increasingly conscious myself of becoming over-anxious about the need somehow to share with you each entry’s every significant Temmish moment of angst or fear or spookiness or creative obliquity that I think you need knowing about or perhaps to prove I have read it properly. Mind any gap. Remind me, too, when I repeat myself. We’re in this together.

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