Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Phebe's on Bowery, excerpt from The Anarchist's Girlfriend 12/11 debut published by Pelekinesis New review!



"Somewhere along the Bowery the Anarchist's Girlfriend walks herself, her spirit taking her body. She wants to see the sunrise..." 

This New Edition has significant new material. It's released by Pelekinesis at http://pelekinesis.com/catalog/susan_...
 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-a...
and at Amazon but do make sure it's New Edition!

FROM: The Anarchist's Girlfriend free reading at Dixon Place, Dec.8th




It was 4 P.M. when the dreamy blonde crossed to Cooper Square. She was dressed Rangerette style; white boots with pom-poms, a red satin cowgirl mini and vest, a silver belt, and a gray pull-string hat. One cur, a yellowish thing, followed her. I fell in line, pausing at a music store to offset any suspicions. The racks of sheet music were exhaustive. I waited five minutes before following her into Phebe's restaurant on the Bowery. The dog waited outside. I ordered a coke from an alcove, where she couldn't see me. I watched and waited, drinking in some local  color. 

A Mayflower truck pulled over at Bowery and Fourth. The door fell open. The driver fell out of the cab, writhing on the cement. Two people tried to lift the insensible driver. A waiter ran out of Phebe's with what appeared to be a #2 yellow pencil. All were stopped by words from the AG. Honking cars were directed by the two people around the driver. A cool white hand removed the pencil before it could dangerously be chomped in two. She put the waiter to keep the crowd at bay and kept him in her sights as…That same cool hand deposited a dime in the payphone over my head. 



REVIEW--The Anarchist’s Girlfriend, a novel by Susan Weinstein; Pelekinesis 

Known only as the AG, the anarchist’s girlfriend is a fey beauty with ESP, and an unlikely Go-Go Dancer in an out-of-the-way Brooklyn bar. The Anarchist, an Irishman who wants to fix the Irish troubles through organic food, having founded Food for Vendettas, plasters his subversive silkscreened posters all over the streets of 1980’s New York City. There is a sense of déjà vu as Sandy, the meanie of the story, sets in motion a terrorist act that will cause the country to believe in its eventual downfall, using dust as the weapon. “There will be a sigh that a catastrophe has finally occurred. Yet it’s limited in extent and duration.” The key to the anarchistic meme is effect, not result. It’s all eerily suggestive of 9/11. A deaf mute, Wayne, a con artist-like Llama, founder of the Denotational Church, and the Anarchist’s Girlfriend shape the plot in this past tense futuristic novel that taps into the absurd with sure-handed writing and a voice that does not judge but carries on quietly through downtown New York before it became real estate fodder, when artists and anarchists could still afford to roam the streets, with time to listen, to dream and to plot grandly, if naively. Susan Weinstein’s freewheeling prose, wry humor and inspired, madcap observations have created a romp of a good book.



Janyce Stefan-Cole, author of The Detective's Garden

Sunday, November 20, 2016

THE ALL SIDES DICTIONARYon-line now. If you're left, right, center, Hot button words mean different things. Take gun control.....


THE ALL SIDES DICTIONARY. All Sides

What should you do now that the election is over? Since the results, the nation has been rigorously divided. People are feeling joyous, upset, rebellious or thankful. More than ever, these times show how divided we have become. But whether you're delighted or depressed, it's important to understand why the "other side" is feeling the way they do. And to make that easier...Well... 

You could check out the All Sides Dictionary, where you can look up how different people - from left, right, and center - understand and use hot button political terms, from Abortion to Zionism (400 entries, and more are on the way). 

The idea is to reveal how different people with different political backgrounds think about and react to 
controversial terms and concepts. Through this vehicle we can teach each other; learn from each other, form new coalitions, and reduce hatred and misunderstanding. If, that is, the dictionary becomes like Wikipedia, a go-to place to look up things. Please help us by clicking a lot in the site and by telling everyone you know about it.

http://www.allsides.com/dictionary- Let's look at "gun control"


The term "gun control", referring to initiatives designed to restrict unfettered access to guns for all people, is unusual as a word that both liberals and conservatives use - albeit with very different feeling. Also note that "gun control" and "gun rights" are not synonyms but mean very different things to different people.
For advocates of gun control, "gun control" connotes a reasonable effort to create a greater level of accountability and regulation when it comes to firearms. They have supported a range of efforts under the gun control banner, from background checks and waiting periods to bans on assault rifles and certain other weapons.
Opponents of gun control use the term pejoratively. In their view, it connotes a threat to individual freedom, a contravention of the Second Amendment, and an inevitable slippery slope towards the restriction of public ability to bear arms. Gun activists point to the difficulty of purchasing and owning guns in traditionally progressive cities and states as evidence that these rights have already been restricted. Dialogue efforts around gun rights and gun control have shown success. Pioneers in this effort include Anne Batzer and the Public Conversations Project.
QUESTIONS TO PLAY WITH:
-If you think of yourself as being against gun control, is there any place you would set a limit on the private ownership of weapons? Do private citizens have the right to nuclear weapons? tanks? missiles? machine guns? Where would you draw the line?
-If you think of yourself as being for gun control, where do you draw the line? At handguns? rifles? semi-automatics?
-Where, when, and to whom do you think guns should be available?


ABOUT THE ALL SIDES DICTIONARY

.A team of 30 educators and mediators volunteered over 1500 hours on this project for the past year. Members of this team were carefully selected to ensure a mix of perspectives across the socio-political spectrum - from religious to atheist, far left to far right, and everything in between. Rather than trying to avoid bias or presume neutrality, we openly examine all biases – attempting to "map" different meanings and feelings associated with important words in the American political vocabulary.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

When Kafka makes you laugh, KONUNDRUM, a new translation by Peter Wortsman published by Archipelago Books




Kafka spoke for millions in their new unease; a century after his birth, he seems the last holy writer, and the supreme fabulist of modern man's cosmic predicament. --John Updike
Why a new translation of Kafka?  Don't we already know The Castle, The Penal Colony, Metamorphosis, The Hunger Artist?  Perhaps we know too much about Kafka?

In KONUNDRUM: Selected Prose of Franz Kafka, translated from the German by Peter Wortsman, (Achipelago Books) I met a Kafka I had never known but long suspected. Wortsman has said Kafka laughed aloud, when reading his work, as did others. Not being a translator, I have imagined a direct line from Kafka's K to Philip K. Dick. I liked a production of The Hunger Artist, as a sporting event in Madison Square Garden. The laugh's not from the belly, but from the pained heart, especially ironic in our 21st century. 

Besides classics; Metamophosis retranslated as "Transformed," The Penal Colony, The Hunger Artist; Wortsman selected  letters, journals, darkly comic parables, fairy tales, reflections, even aphorisms, This is the first volume in English to have Kafka's very humane personal letters and journal entrees alongside his major works, The result is that you get a unique sense of the writer's "voice," who Kafka is, with little separation between the man and the writer.

Wortsman, who is both a fiction writer, and a translator, changed the way I think about Kafka. Along with ironic chuckles were surprised guffaws, as thoughts circle back to unexpected endings, like in "The Bridge." For me "Transformed" (Metamorphosis) was a dark fantasy that moved to real and hard truth about human relationships. Then there is the wit, just for fun. Who would think of poor Poseidon, saddled with accountancy of the seas?  Here is an example from this volume.

THE BRIDGE by Franz Kafka

I was stiff and cold. I was a bridge. I lay over an abyss. With the tips of my toes on this side, my fingertips dug in yonder, I clung to the crumbling clay. My coattails dangled at my sides. The icy trout brook thundered below. No tourist ever strayed to this forbidding precipice, the bridge was not yet inscribed on any map.So I lay and waited. I had to wait.Barring collapse, no bridge once built can ever stop being a bridge.

Once toward evening--was it the first, was it the thousandth time, I don't know--my thoughts were always muddled, running in circles. One summer evening, the brook thundered darker than ever, I heard the sound of a man's footsteps!  Advancing toward me, toward me. Stretch yourself out, bridge, mend your rift, you rafter without sail, hold up the one entrusted to you! The uncertainty of his step levels off out of earshot, but if he falters make yourself useful, and like a mountain goat hurl him safely across.

He came, with the iron tip of his hiking pole he tested me out, then with it, raised my coattails and arranged them neatly on my torso. He jabbed the tip into my bushy head of hair, and probably peering wildly about, left it dug in. But then--I was just then dreaming of mountains and valleys--he leapt with both feet into the small of my back. I writhed in excruciating pain, altogether ignorant of the identity of who or what bestrode me. Who was it? A child? A dream? A highwayman? A suicide? A tempter? A wrecker? And I turned myself around to catch a glimpse. Bridge upends itself! I had not yet managed to turn over completely when I tumbled, I tumbled and already I was torn to shreds and pierced by pointed rocks that had always peered so peaceably from the bed of the rushing river.


I would suggest you, like I, might enjoy a new look at this darkly comic genius. Could we call him pre-cognitive of both the 20 and 21st centuries?  In this translation, he's a man for any time.

S.W.