Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Aimless Reading: The D's, Part 15 (Samuel R. Delany)

Delany, Samuel R.
The Motion of Light On Water

I purchased this at Talking Leaves Books in 1998, when Samuel Delany paid a visit to Charles Bernstein's poetics seminar. I had never heard of Samuel Delany before I came to Buffalo. My friend Taylor Brady was a big fan and had told me about his work, but at the time I had not read much science fiction (I still haven't, really, but I have read some). I remember he had especially recommended this autobiography. I have never actually gotten around to reading it.

I didn't read it at the time and then at some point a couple of years later I loaned it out, I think, to Jonathan Skinner, who was teaching a course on science fiction literature that included Delany, and who held onto the book for several years himself, returning it just before his departure from Buffalo, which was a sad day for me, despite my being happy to have the book back, even though I had not yet read it, though I still plan on it.

from Sentences: An Introduction:

My father had been sick almost a year. Already he'd had one lung removed. But after a time home -- which he spent mostly in bed, listening to programs of eclectic classical music (Penderecki, Kodaly's Sonata for Unaccompanied Cello) on WBAI-FM, all of which were new to him and pleased him greatly, or sitting up in his robe and pajamas working on a few ordered and geometric paintings of cityscapes in which there were no people (he'd always wanted to paint) -- he began to grow weaker. Soon he was in pain. Toward the end of September, an ambulance was sent for to take him to the hospital. But the attendants who arrived to strap him into their stretcher, there in the apartment hall in his dark robe and pale pajamas, were too rough, yanking down the straps and buckles over his thin legs that, by now, could not fully straighten. After asking them twice to loosen them, he began to shout: "Stop it! You're hurting me. Stop--!" Lips tight, my mother stood, flustered, embarrassed, and worried at once, perfectly still.

My father bellowed at the two white-jacketed young me, one black, one white, "Get out--!"


rdeming said...

Hey Mike--

I'm developing a strange interest in the light or dark from the window just over your shoulder in these various pictures. I look forward to the books and memories but also finding myself attending to the light from the window.

So glad you're back at the blog after your long vacation in FL.

Michael Kelleher, Buffalo, NY said...

If you are interested in the light, you might also note that the light on my face is sometimes quite strong due to the halogen desk lamp being pointed directly at the book cover in order to deflect some of the glare from the LCD screen on my laptop.

Did you get my message about the lost/unlost copy of Let's Not Call It Consequence?

rdeming said...

I'm interested in the window because that light gives a sense of passing time, the fact that there is a larger context, and environment outside the screen of the computer (yours and mine--the same surface, but different). As if the world outside is sneaking in.