I’m gonna take a stab at this
Surely we’ll be alright
Make a decision with a kiss
Maybe I have frostbite
And when I shuffled on back home
I made sure all my tracks in the snow were gone
Tissue and bone it was a tryst
This isn’t a gunfight
Checking it off of my list
Unable to write
Five years, countless months and a loan
Hope I’m ready, able to make my own, good home
They go we go, I want you to know, what I did I did,
They go we go, I want you to know, what I did I did.
—Grizzly Bear (Warp Records), “Ready, Able”
Words that escort you—even follow you. Flash fiction, sudden fiction, short shorts, very shorts, prose poems, proems, mini-memes that might help you sort through the chaos, zoom in on the overlooked, reassess any given position in the world. The Ready, Able project is designed to compliment the reader’s active lifestyle—one that is not always lived from the confines of one’s abode. Words that fit in your pocket; they talk to you when you’re alone on a street, on the metro, walking home, running from something or someone, standing in the middle of a crowd or quiet forest.
Some of them want to protect you. Some tell you to be strong, to take a time-out, to find the redeemable in others, to keep your head up: to be ready, able. Others are amicable tools to use at your leisure—dependent on your free will. And even still: some are bound to be illogical, silly and youthful in spirit. Not only is text provided but text meant to be combined with changing factors and reference points: environment, location, time of day, sound, volume, mood, pace, display, mobility, the presence or absence of others, ad infinitum.
If I read this sentence, this story, or this word with pleasure, it is because they were written in pleasure (such pleasure does not contradict the writer’s complaints). But the opposite? Does writing in pleasure guarantee—guarantee me, the writer—my reader’s pleasure? Not at all. I must seek out this reader (must “cruise” him) without knowing where he is. A site of bliss is then created. It is not the reader’s “person” that is necessary to me, it is this site: the possibility of a dialectics of desire, of an unpredictability of bliss: the bets are not placed, there can still be a game.1
Watch them flash across your screen of choice (e.g. smartphone, iPad, laptop); listen to writers from all over the world tell a story or thought in the blink of an eye. Not all ideas require a long time to comprehend—even if they were difficult to construct. Ready, Able aspires to be a poetic archive and investigation into the differences between words as expressions, representations and / or signifiers using a combination of three modes: static text, moving image and sound.
The literary avant-garde experience, by virtue of its very characteristics, is slated to become the laboratory of a new discourse (and of a new subject), thus bringing about a mutation … It also rejects all discourse that is either stagnant or eclectically academic, preempts its knowledge where it does not impel it, and devises another original, mobile, and transformative knowledge. In so doing, it stimulates and reveals deep ideological changes that are currently searching for their own accurate political formulation …2
valeveil is currently accepting submissions for this project.
1. Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text (New York, NY : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1975), 4.
2. Julia Kristeva, Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art (New York, NY : Columbia University Press, 1980), 92.