Saturday, May 8, 2010

Aimless Reading: The H's, Part 1 (Theresa Hak Kyung Cha)


Dictee
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Cha, Theresa Hak Kyung
Dictee


Not quite sure where I bought this --my guess would be Rust Belt Books. This book lead me on an interesting train of thought this morning that went something like this:

1. Did I read this book? I am not sure. I think I started it and put it down.
2. Why did I put it down? I am not sure. I think it had something to do with the fact that everyone in academia has such virtual hard-ons for it. There must be something wrong with it.
3. Maybe I'll open it up to see if I remember reading it. I start reading.
4. I don't remember any of this. This is pretty interesting. Wow, I can't stop reading. Holy cow and there's even stuff about catholicism in here. I wonder if I could read the whole book in an hour sitting at my desk. No, I'll probably get a neck ache. Besides, I want to finish reading the Javier Marias novel I've been reading since forever and with which I am almost done. Maybe I'll read a little more, like two chapters.
5. Wow, this is great. Wasn't she murdered?
6. Finish reading two chapters, perform google search: "Theresa Hak Kyung Cha."
7. Yes, she was murdered. Why is her Wikipedia entry so short? Why isn't there more information about her murder. She was "murdered by a stranger." Period. Thanks -- could you be more ambiguous and mysterious?
8. Google search: "Theresa Hak Kyung Cha murder." Find article from several years later after the fact saying she was strangled, raped and bludgeoned to death by a security guard at the Puck building in NYC.
9. Isn't that the building where some character worked on some sitcom in the nineties, like Will and Grace or something?
10. I always liked that building, with its cute little puck statue on the corner of Houston.
11. The article by Robert Atkins says her killer was named Joey Sanza and that he was also convicted of several rapes in Florida. The article also mentions the fact that at the time it was written (1988), another artist murder trial, that of Carl Andre (on trial) and Ana Mendieta (dead), is going on.
12. Didn't I see an Ana Mendieta exhibition as The Whitney a few years ago? Yes, I did. I remember it. I remember sort of liking it. I remember dirt and blood and her body buried in the ground and photographed and smearing stuff on the wall or on canvas. Yes, I liked it.
13. Google search: "Ana Mendieta murder." Read NY Times book review of book re-counting the trial and acquittal of Carl Andre.
14. Google search: "Carl Andre."
15. See image of Carl Andre sculpture of a checkerboard pattern on the floor, which I realize I have stepped on hundreds of times while walking through the Albright-Knox art gallery in Buffalo.
16. How strange, I think.
17. Look at pictures of kids standing on it during a tour with their art teacher.
18. Somehow, this all reminds me of the title "Hollywood Babylon."
19. Google search: "Hollywood Babylon."
20. I read about all the controversy surrounding Kenneth Anger's book.
21. I see the picture of Jayne Mansfield on the cover, We watched two Jayne Mansfield movies just this week. I go to amazon to see if it is available. It is. I put it in my cart. Also waiting in my cart is "The Cinema Book" by Pam Cook, which I've been wanting to buy, but it is kind of expensive. I decide to buy them both and save on shipping.
22. I take a photo of the cover of Dictee.
23. I think to myself that I like this cover, from the first edition, better that of subsequent editions.
24. I post the photo to Flickr.
25. I start blogging, asking myself, What should I write about Dictee?

from Dictee

Open paragraph      It was the first day      period      She had come from a far      period      thought at dinner      comma      the families would ask      comma      open quotation marks      How was the first day      interrogation mark      close quotation marks      at least to say      the least of it possibly      comma      the answer would be      open quotation marks      there but one thing      period      There is someone      period      From      a far      period      close quotation marks

2 comments:

Jessica Smith said...

I love this book. I have the same edition-- which I think we had to buy for Joseph Conte's ENG 301?-- which is probably why it ended up at Rust Belt-- yup, here's the paper, a 10-pg paper on two pages, 56-57. I know it was A Thing at UB ("everyone in academia has such virtual hard-ons for it") but it actually is also a very ... See Moreinteresting book. (Also, I think that with some things that were fashionable at UB I, at least, developed a sense that they were major everywhere-- I bet very few of the faculty at UVA have read this book; many of them did not know that Zukofsky even existed.)

Michael Kelleher, Buffalo, NY said...

I think I just respond negatively to any implication that I "should" read something, especially when "should" is equated, as it so often is in academe, with some kind of high-minded moral imperative. Once free of atmosphere of such imperatives, I find it much more enjoyable to read books, including this one, which, so far at least, I think is pretty interesting.