12 Winters Blog

More on Omensetter’s Luck, et al.

Posted in February 2010 by Ted Morrissey on February 28, 2010

I continue to work on annotating Omensetter’s Luck, William H. Gass’s 1966 novel.  Images of enclosure continue to stand out for me in the text, especially Jethro Furber’s sense of his own body, especially his skull, being a sort of enclosure from which he would like to escape.  The psychological implications, especially when read via trauma theory, are fascinating.  Trauma tends to colonize the psyche of the individual and “haunt” the conscious mind, unbidden.  In an earlier post, I wrote about Macbeth’s visitation of the witches in their cavern suggesting to me the Scot’s exploration of his own unconscious mind, with the witches representing a traumatic event that has been lodged there.  Clearly Shakespeare was interested in, what we would call, the unconscious and its effects on the conscious mind (Macbeth doesn’t know if the bloody dagger that leads him to Duncan is real or a figment of his imagination, as is the case with Banquo’s ghost; and Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking and suicide are due to a “mind diseased”).

Meanwhile:  The Web is an amazing thing.  I’ve had two email inquiries about my dissertation thanks (apparently in both cases) to the Register-Mail article about my completing the Ph.D. that was published online.  Due to the second inquiry (from Raymond Osborne of Boston University), I learned that the article was linked to “Nods Online & In Print” at Tunneling:  A Resource for Readers of William H. Gass website.  When I checked it out (who wouldn’t?), I came across a blog post on Omensetter’s Luck and The Tunnel that is really interesting.  In a comment about the blog I learned there’s a band named Omensetters (the commenter’s daughter is in the new band).  Also, in a subsequent email from Ray I learned of the blog Raul de Saldanha, for lovers of literature, which has some connections to Gass, etc.  It’s amazing, the interconnectedness of the information, but also a little overwhelming to try to take it all in.  Nevertheless, I appreciate people troubling to contact me about my dissertation, and it’s exciting to meet (online) others who appreciate Gass as much as I do.

On the creative writing front, I’ve been working steadily on “The Authoress,” my novel in progress, and have more than 180 manuscript pages at this point.  I’ve been able to add about three pages a week, by writing for about thirty minutes each morning, Monday through Friday, by hand, then typing up those pages on the weekend.  I’m working on a section now that I’ve been writing without editing/revising as I go, which is unusual for me.  Normally I begin each day’s writing by reading/revising the previous day’s output.  I think I’ll wait until the entire section is drafted before revising the whole thing at once, so to speak (revision is always on-going of course)–I’m curious how that approach may affect the revision process.  So far I’m pleased with what I’ve written, but the earliest chapters were begun three years ago.  I fear that the tone and style of those pages are distinctly different from what I’m producing now–reconciling these issues will be one of my chief goals as I revise, revise, revise.

I want to work on my Gass paper this afternoon (but the US does play Canada at 2 for Olympic gold . . . decisions, decisions).

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