I recently had surgery, and now I’m supposed to be recovering. (Actually, I’m feeling a lot better today). Since I hadn’t had surgery before, I assumed recovery meant “lay on the couch and edit.” And then, I discovered that codeine befuddles my brain and exhaustion makes me fall asleep. Even writing coherent emails was hard. One of my minions would look over my shoulder and say, “Uh, I don’t think you mean what you typed.” And the minion was right. It’s a bad thing to write and forget words, especially words like “not.”
So editing is on hold for the next few days. But my experience got me to thinking about modernist literature. You know, stuff by James Joyce, Djuna Barnes, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, et al. Now I finally understand those works of fiction. The authors were all under the influence of codeine when they wrote them. It’s not that Joyce was making some kind philosophical statement when he used pronouns without antecedents. It’s just that under the influence of codeine, he forgot. It’s not by eschewing dialogue tags that modernists hoped to explore fragmentation. It’s that they deleted the tags by accident.