Friday, 29 January 2010

The Assignment

The assignment is to read something like 150 pages of Iain Sinclair's Edge of the Orison. I've made it to page 45. I've been hearing about this book since week 1, way back in October. It's been held up as a shining example of psychogeography, as a text we're to explore in this module on nature writing and the wild east. With all the build up, I didn't expect to dislike it as much as I do, especially since I've so thoroughly enjoyed so much of the rest of it. This book is a bit like torture.

I think it's the kind of book that means the most to the academics who pour through it, extrapolating references obvious and obscure and digging deeper into it. If all references uncovered were intentionally, then Mr. Sinclair is either insane or my first sentence is wrong and this book means more to him than it could possibly mean to anyone else. If it's the latter, then he needs to get a life.

I feel like I'm reading something out of the beatnik era. Something William Burroughs on drugs-ish, if you know what I mean. Maybe this is an amazing text, but without the time to spend doing years of research drawing connections and figuring out what he's talking about, I'm going to chalk it up to being unenjoyable, stream of consciousness-esque, and disjointed. Call me a lazy reader, but I do enjoy having a sense of what's going on in the things I read.

Might I think of this text differently if I were to come across it in the future? Absolutely. Might I think of it differently if I had the entire term to uncover the meanings woven into each sentence? Absolutely. Might I like it better if that were the case? It is possible. Am I going to devote anymore time to it at this point? Not a chance. I'll just put it aside, think of it as Mr. Sinclair's little inside joke, and move on to Henry David Thoreau, a man, I believe, who is more interested in making sense and engaging the reader in conversation.

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