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These Details in Preference to Nothing

By Azevedo, Neil

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Book Id: WPLBN0003468564
Format Type: PDF (eBook)
File Size: 674.32 KB.
Reproduction Date: 10/3/2009

Title: These Details in Preference to Nothing  
Author: Azevedo, Neil
Volume:
Language: English
Subject: Fiction, Literature, Literary American Fiction
Collection: Authors Community
Subcollection: Literature
Historic
Publication Date:
2009
Publisher: William Ralph Press
Member Page: Neil Azevedo

Description
These Details in Preference to Nothing is the story of a relationship, or rather it’s a meditation on one, that is, a mediation on love, faith and an existence caught in transition told from a perspective not fully capable of seeing all angles. The narrative is in the first person and in the present tense as is every love affair between very young adults. The title sums up a lot—These Details in Preference to Nothing—a line lifted from Becket. To quote John Barth “heartfelt ineptitude has its appeal and so does heartless skill; but what you want is passionate virtuosity.” A story told in intense moments of meditative stupor, it sometimes reads more like poetry, and so it began as an extended sonnet sequence, but emerged into this record—to be added to all the others throughout history--of the truth in the sincere and authentic passion of the young, or at least some of the relevant and more illustrative details. ISBN: 978-1-932023-36-7. https://www.facebook.com/williamralpheditions

Summary
These Details in Preference to Nothing is the story of a relationship, or rather it’s a meditation on one, that is, a mediation on love, faith and an existence caught in transition told from a perspective not fully capable of seeing all angles. The narrative is in the first person and in the present tense as is every love affair between very young adults. The title sums up a lot—These Details in Preference to Nothing—a line lifted from Becket. To quote John Barth “heartfelt ineptitude has its appeal and so does heartless skill; but what you want is passionate virtuosity.” A story told in intense moments of meditative stupor, it sometimes reads more like poetry, and so it began as an extended sonnet sequence, but emerged into this record—to be added to all the others throughout history--of the truth in the sincere and authentic passion of the young, or at least some of the relevant and more illustrative details.

Excerpt
I have begun every impulse to speak with hesitation, suspended on the edge of doubt, mindful of my inability to say how it was. It was the year of the roar of lions, humid nights, the soft breaths of waterweeds and kisses. It was the first year alone with my son. I had always had enemies of my sleep. I had come to know them. My response was always hesitation. The world was very large. It was true that a specific combination of things often conspired to lead my telling what happened back to an ecstasy of memories of melancholy and through a long, long night. Saudade the Portuguese say, the sadness inside each joy. All my life I have been haunted by a dream of heaven.  It was true. For me, anyway, for the way I told things, and the way I have always told them. I was somewhat absent of myself where the words came to carry the telling from me. I was touched by the words the way the butterfly wants to be still in the hands of the breeze, to be untangled from the air that makes the soft current, carries the preliminary push, something unformed and unclear, to be unsnarled from the waft, to be unfurled as the sound from the trees, to be undone and begin. It was not quite any of these things. I was trying. It had been a cold, cold winter. I wanted very much to hold my son.  I had been driving all night, the night ringing by, a dark, visual refrain, reflections blurring the scent of cigarettes and soda, the flavor of dawn coming but taking so long, a summer night without sleep. I had been alone for eight days. I had been trying to get away from something. My racing was running, the seclusion had deepened my being far from anything I could remember, my home, the language of the gravel roads and the dark, a seclusion unfamiliar with what I normally saw, and I was unable to reconcile it to the endless whispers from the silence of the trees. They were audible, distinct, and formless. I had not slept for a long time. I was hurrying somewhere southeast of Montana heading farther southeast, past and through sluggish well-worn hours, into a future of aching brightness that kept receding. Fatigue opposes tranquility. I was looking in vain, but I was escaping. I followed the highway by intuition, a future scurrying through me and scratching outward on my cheeks, scalp, and irises. I could still feel the creature from the night before, that was of the night before, of the forest’s stillness quickly leaning over, opening me up and peering into something clear and cavernous, an icy hand shadowing my heart with its own memories, a foreign sense of time and sin, horror stirred by the utterance of the word cease. I had ceased in all practical understanding of the word, a sensation I could not avoid or embrace, ineffable, redoubtable. A cold phantom preparing. Operating. Whispering. Perhaps it was exhaustion claiming me. But that doesn’t sound precise when I say it. She felt human. She felt me through the interior, valley and surge, as though the evening in my skin had stolen the sun. Was she looking for the sun? She had seen me before. I lay naked and still for hours hearing her slowly circle my tent and later, for perhaps the first time, nothing. I heard nothing. An artery in my left arm pulsed. The throb pressed and pressed trying to say her name. Say it and be done. I stumbled outside following my racing heart, looked and looked, prepared to face her and flee but I knew before I knew that looking for nothing I would find nothing. I stood as still as I could breathe and breathed in the fragrance of the pines. I packed up. I drove but was soon haunted by exhaustion, consciousness, the faint nascent highways. I was haunted by the memory of the black specter come to life. I rationed my cigarettes, found music in the mess of cassettes scattered over the passenger seat, remembered something. And then I remembered something else. I stayed awake by imagining the reasons I chose to travel alone, chose to be gone so long. I tried hard to stay awake and held onto myself and kept myself from sliding out of my feet. I imagined St. Andrew crucified bound to an X, clean of all sour speculations, full of the rush of impending death and blessedly free of any thought of the future or uncertainty. I drove looking or waiting for I know not what. The horizon had been gradually changing shades and growing red, the dazzling fire rising around a martyr. I am no martyr, I said to the car. I was with solitude, in full awareness of all my jitters, restless and dimly past serenity’s edge. Was there a secret to be learned by questioning closely enough? At noon I rented a motel room in Wasta, South Dakota, and collapsed into what I’ve come to accept as sleep.  I remember driving to meet her. I could not find a song I wanted to listen to on the radio, but I wanted music because I did not want to listen to what I had lost. I found the filter through which time could pass in simpler forms, then focused. This was the pattern. The gathering darkness after work that night approached me at a red light. It was simple and humid. These are the things, in order, as I say them. I was meeting Skinny at a bar-and-grill near his apartment. I had not known Skinny long. He had been in one of my classes. He lived close to the suburbs. I drove there from work. I had been pulling returns in the bleakly though well-lit mall bookstore where I worked. She was his friend from college who had recently moved home. I ordered a soda and talked to Skinny about what was on the television, Neil Young a faint but distinguishable falsetto loitering somewhere in the back of the evening and the odor of burnt steak and beer. It was cold outside. It was late fall, and basketball was on television, and we were sitting there eating, my friend and I.

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These Details in Preference to Nothing About the Author Also from William Ralph Press

 

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