November 22, 2018

"I have for a long time believed that a person reveals at least as much when he reports what he cannot do or has never done."

"I become confused, or even distressed, whenever I find myself among streets or roads that are not arranged in a rectangular grid. ... I have watched few films during my lifetime and hardly any in recent years. ... I cannot recall having gone voluntarily into any art gallery or museum or building said to be of historic interest. I have never worn sunglasses. I have never learned to swim. I have never voluntarily immersed myself in any sea or stream. ... I have never touched any button or switch or working part of any computer or fax machine or mobile telephone. I have never learned to operate any sort of camera. ... In 1979 I taught myself to type using the index finger of my right hand alone. Since then, I have composed all my fiction and other writing using the finger just mentioned and one or another of my three manual typewriters."

Said Gerald Murnane, quoted in "Is the Next Nobel Laureate in Literature Tending Bar in a Dusty Australian Town?/With the publication of two new books, Gerald Murnane might finally find an American audience" (NYT).

I'm using my "nothing" tag to avoid needing to create a tag like "things not done."

This subject reminds me of a post I wrote in 2015, "Ten things I've never done." For the record, I have now done 3 of those things — one once, one twice, and one many times.

45 comments:

D 2 said...

Dirty Harry for the continued win, many years on. Stole some egg sammies and landed in a Norwegian jail. Heh

rehajm said...

Let’s hear about the involuntary sea/stream immersion.

tim maguire said...

So many th8ngs he hasn’t done I thought maybe he was Amish.

Humperdink said...

Maybe he was water boarded.

rehajm said...

I can’t throw an American football.

I played quarterback on an American football team for a week.

BarrySanders20 said...

Based on that disclosure, I have no interest in whatever it is he wrote.

Of the AA nevers as of the day posted, I only share #10. Now I wonder which Three are checked off.

loudogblog said...

I'm one of those index finger typists, too. When I was in High School in the 1970s, the football coaches (who all had big sideburns) taught the typing classes. The coach I had used to play Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young albums during typing class. For decades I did so little actual typing that I never felt the need to improve my speed. To this day, I can't hear Judy Blue Eyes without thinking, 'f d s a j k l ;.' Now I'm in an extremely high tech profession and all this technology intimidates me. In 1986, the manual for programming the Avolites QM500 light board - state of the art for all the big rock shows of the era- was 40 pages. The manual for the ETC Ion - the basic light board for small theaters - is over 400 pages long and it still doesn't tell you everything you need to know.

Ken B said...

Was it, Debby Does Dallas?

BarrySanders20 said...

15 minutes of training and anyone with minimal strength can throw a football. It’s just technique and learning where/how the hold the ball. It’s easier using a non-regulation NFL ball such as a high school or college sized ball.

rehajm said...

It’s just technique and learning where/how the hold the ball

Can you show me online running back personna?

MikeR said...

I have never - read anything by Gerald Murnane.

rehajm said...

If the game is I Never I am drinking on seven.

Henry said...

I have never operated a forklift. I have never spoken a complete sentence in Russian. I have never intentionally put a spider in my icebox. I learned to play the trombone when I was eight, yet no one has ever paid me money to play trombone. I own no longbows.

Comanche Voter said...

I read an Amazon description of Murnane's novel "The Plains". I think I will give it a pass. OTOH if you want to read an Australian novelist, try Thomas Keneally.

The two are near contemporaries--Keneally is four years older than Murnane. Both studied for the Catholic priesthood for a while, but after giving that effort up became schooltecachres.


Unlike Murnane, who has rarely travelled outside the State of Victoria, Keneally has been all over the world. Including to Poland where he was doing research on his book Schindler's Ark--which became the movie Schindler's List. I've read or an reading a couple of other books by Keneally. His Daughters of Mars is a great novel; and I'mi in the middle of Gossip from the Forest about negotiations to sign the treaty ending WW I.

tcrosse said...

I have never won the Nobel Prize for Literature. But you never know. Maybe next year, if the award one.

Hagar said...

Well, we know AA has gone skiing - sort of, and she has probably gone camping - sort of, and she may have met a gentleman of such age and status that she called him Sir.

narciso said...

as a pitch for consideration, it fails mightily,

http://theconversation.com/the-case-for-gerald-murnanes-the-plains-26797

narciso said...

I guess the times requires that one abjure their talents,

http://www.hungarianreview.com/article/the_angel_s_son_why_i_learned_hungarian_late_in_life

narciso said...

maybe the times is that incompetent:


http://www.musicandliterature.org/reviews/2014/8/5/gerald-murnanes-a-million-windows

Jeff Gee said...

For the record, I have now done 3 of those things — one once, one twice, and one many times.

I'm going with: Seen "Apocalypse Now" once; Used a non-MAC, twice; Gone camping several times. Can't see the deviled egg thing happening...

David Begley said...

.”I have never worn sunglasses. I have never learned to swim.”

Big mistakes.

lohwoman said...

I remember contributing money so you would eat egg salad. Your post is from 2005, not 2015. Time flies.

David Begley said...

Odd list by Ann. What about sky diving? Brain surgery? Pheasant hunting?

One can pick a giant list of things not dove.

FullMoon said...

AA's list:
I've never:

1. Gone camping.

2. Eaten egg salad, devilled eggs, or cold hard-boiled eggs.

3. Gone skiing.

4. Set foot on any continent other than North America and Europe.

5. Shoplifted.

6. Watched a pornographic movie -- other than in federal court, as part of a forfeiture proceeding.

7. Called anyone "sir" or "ma'am."

8. Used a computer that wasn't a Macintosh (unless you count things like dedicated LEXIS consoles and ATM machines as computers).

9. Seen the movie "Apocalypse, Now." (It was always "Apocalypse," later, for me, and now maybe it's "Apocalypse," never. )

10. Used cocaine or heroin

She did coke several times, she shoplifted twice, called arresting officer "sir"
All in the same day

Duh.

Robert Cook said...

"15 minutes of training and anyone with minimal strength can throw a football. It’s just technique and learning where/how the hold the ball. It’s easier using a non-regulation NFL ball such as a high school or college sized ball."

Unlike my younger brother, who was a natural and active athlete, I have never had any interest in athletic endeavors (not even as a spectator). However, in gym class in high school, they took us to the football stadium one day to have us hurl discuses and put shots. There is a technique to hurling a discus, which they explained. I listened to the instructions, and when it came my turn, I applied the instructions and sent the discus soaring a respectable distance (in the direction it needed to go). I remember a grunt or word of approval from the coach. That was the only time I ever did it, and I recall that my throw was among the better ones in all the class.

(I have no memory of how I did with the shot put...so it must have been less impressive.)

Henry said...

One can pick a giant list of things not dove. It is a tale told by columbidae, full of sound and fury, signifying pigeon.

Ken B said...

Pigeons on the grass, alas
And a magpie in the sky
— Gertrude Stein

Ken B said...

I have never vindicated rhhardin with the thoroughness Althouse has recently.
I have never cooked spam in Thai peanut sauce.
I have never flayed an entire elephant.
I have never spoken Swahili to a busload of Japanese tourists.
I have never spanked a monkey, a real monkey.
I have never hopped from Montreal to Denver on a pogo stick.

robother said...

Typing books with one digit? I'm guessing fiction. The opposite of a Million Little Pieces, One Big Nothing. But equally bullshit.

Etienne said...

"Yet his work has been praised by J.M. Coetzee and Shirley Hazzard, as well as young American writers like Ben Lerner and Joshua Cohen."

I have never heard of J.M. Coetzee.
I have never heard of Shirley Hazzard.
I have never heard of Ben Lerner.
I have never heard of Joshua Cohen.

Dictionary: If you have never heard of someone or something, you don't know that that person or thing exists.

My prayers are unheard.
But Thy sublime indifference will ensure
that I not burn in some everlasting fire.
Give me a place among the sheep
and the goats, separating none from none,
leaving our mingled ashes where they fall.
...O Time, O Elements
Grant them rest. Amen.

traditionalguy said...

Not ever learning to swim makes one a near worthless waste of human life on this earth.

Freeman Hunt said...

No wonder he's good at something; he's not spreading his time over a million different things and distractions like everyone else.

narciso said...

Jm coetzee is a south African writer. It doesn't help murnane that the profilers isn't acquainted with his work

dbp said...

"For the record, I have now done 3 of those things — one once, one twice, and one many times."

Althouse ate boiled egg once and has skied a few times. I am going to guess that she has camped twice.

William said...

Most human activities I haven't done. Most places I've never been to. If you live long enough you lose interest in most human activities-- exclusive of afternoon naps, and the best place on earth to do such an activity is your bed.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I remember that list. So I've been here for more than 14 years. Amazing.

For the record I have done 90% of Althouse's list.

sodal ye said...

No Thanksgiving in Namibia.

Done all of that list. I even shoftifted a pocket sized book on Hundertwasser from a bookshop in Rotterdam, aged 16. Very embarrassed about that still. Remembering it makes me cringe.

Of the things I’ve never done, the only one that I can’t do anything about: I’ve never been in love.

sodal ye said...

But I dream about it occasionally.

whitney said...

The descriptions of his books and his writings sound unbelievably tedious

dbp said...

I have done 9 of 10 things on the Althouse list. Even though I have never done the last item, I may be close: I was given a narcotic cocktail just before an operation and it felt like how Heroine use is described.

Char Char Binks said...

I've gone camping and skiing, but I plan to never do either again. I've never been outside of North America; I'm not sure if that will ever change, or if I want it to. I've never shoplifted, although I did accept a stolen bottle of pop from a friend. I drank it while feeling guilty. I don't think I've ever called anyone sir or ma'am except as a joke. I've seen part of Apocalypse. It looks good, and I want to watch all of it. I've never used cocaine or heroin yet.

Sebastian said...

3 things I've never done: 1, 5, 10.

wildswan said...

I never learned the meaning of "point spread", never (successfully) set the clock in a car, never owned a TV. I have forgotten how to parallel park and have set out for Mexico three times without getting there. But I have eaten seal paws.

wildswan said...

Did nine out of ten on the list but don't want to specify what I avoided.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Ten of ten.
I've never been lost at sea, but it was a near thing.
I've never been attacked by a bear. It was a moose.
I've never been to Antarctica, but my father overflew it a few times.