I have lost my mind, yet it was not the editing of Dolt, which led me to this telluric state. No! In fact, Dolt has proved a most valuable tool in calibrating my remaining sensory organs. The war between observable phenomena and unseen, occluded, processes taking place inches below the surface of our fair city still rages on. Who set these forces in motion, seeking to ensnare all of mankind? Extraterrestrials? Trilateralists? The Illuminati? Space Nazis?
All I will say is that Eisenhower went to his grave with a Vatican-style vault of confidential information, information so incriminating that the dissemination of The Dead Sea Scrolls, the Fatima revelations, and Gurdjieff’s Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson were done without the batting of an eye.
Over the past year of editing I have grown close to this young man. Born of humble beginnings, at the age of twelve he began going door to door selling bootleg VHS copies of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, he was later chased into the hinterland by angry townspeople once the town had been infected and was dripping with extraterrestrial spores and parasites. There in the safety of the woods, this man (no longer a boy) developed a taste for fast cars and fast women, a taste, which would only be trumped by his love of pneumatic drill operation and the art of refrigeration repair. Residents of Ashers Fork Kentucky regaled me with stories of this young man, this “John Rickel,” fleeing a disposed refrigeration unit with the freon casing chained tightly to his chest; his screams coupled with the cries of MMA hotheads who met him in the street and were pummeled relentlessly.
On stormy nights he would strap on his home-made “Condor Wings,” sit perched atop a motor home, and recite H.P. Lovecraft stories to the night in preparation for the approaching winter; only pausing occasionally to interject: “I don't fear the silence.” Then one night he was gone, leaving behind only a windswept note. Read through a veil of tears it read: “The human body is a stupid thing, at all times it acts wholly unaware of the fact that its treacherous and unruly employment can be terminated, violently, with a bullet.” Herein lies the thoughts of a man of exacting, mechanical acuity who penned tales considered too outrageous by the patrons of Fire Island. A man who used a petting zoo as a cover while running guns for the IRA. A man who dealt Cialis to troubled teenagers in a radical bid to raise spirits.
Many years ago, Providence would place us side by side, strolling through his palatial estate. Well-travelled as I was, and still am, I had never before seen a man in a tuxedo, with tails and a monocle. I assure you it was quite a sight. For most of the visit we discussed taxidermy, a passion of his at the time; however only when practiced on arctic wildlife. To show, the Author displayed several stuffed penguins and one petrified polar bear. The showroom for the animals was an enormous hall with a ceiling that cycled from dusk to dawn. Unfamiliar with the Author’s work at the time, I was unaware of the significance.
Now familiar, what do we make of Dolt? What did Gaddis make of “J.R.”? Rhetorically speaking, if Richard Farina, were alive today, he would promptly commit suicide; for Mr. Rickel has taken the title of that man's most famous book, Been Down so Long, it Looks Like up to Me, and turned it into a knock knock joke. A work punctuated with wavering intensity, a ceaseless drum machine of endless revelation and re-evaluation; the only logos being, no matter how much is revealed, the work must remain artifactual. Missiles seek heat, this missile seeks rage, blind intoxicating rage; so very real because it is touched with a very apprehensible sense of self-annihilation.
I have spoken with Mr. Rickel about Henry Miller’s use of autobiography, often glimpsed through a kaleidoscope of time and travel, in his novels. Mr. Rickel seemed to approve of my allu
About John Rickel
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Published November 21, 2011
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