Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A small room inside a bay window. A single bed, a table and chair, and a sink. I could manage something larger, with more conveniences, but I could never match the view.

Atop the pile of books at my bedside is an 8.5" x 5.5" perfect-bound issue of Frank: An International Journal of Contemporary Writing & Art . The journal was founded in Boston in 1983 and was edited and published in Paris by David Applefield, who was profiled by Elizabeth Venant in a September 21, 1986 issue of the L.A. Times, entitled "The Third Wave: Paris' Expatriate Literary Scene." The issue in my possession (Number 4, Summer-Autumn, 1985) was purchased at the People's Co-op Bookstore, where I found it in the "Twoonie Bin."

There are a number of readable pieces in my issue of Frank , one of which is a first publication of William S. Burroughs's  "Ten Years and a Billion Dollars," where the late author facetiously asks for time and money to undertake research on "Word," language, and its viral implications.

Here is the fifth paragraph of his fifteen paragraph essay:

William Randolph Hearst had two house rules at San Simeon: one, everybody staying in Mr. Hearst's house must appear at dinner no matter what condition he or she is in. That's very understandable -- otherwise people would be goofing off in their rooms, imitating his mannerisms, and he would lose control of the situation. It's the old Army game of Roll Call. And number two: nobody may mention the word DEATH in Mr. Hearst's presence. There is a very good magical reason for that rule: Mr. Hearst was playing Death. Playing Death means you must always be able to affect others, but they may never be allowed to affect you. Someone comes down to dinner in a skeleton suit, the old man could lose his position.

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