nothing like nano-writing to make synchronicities become glaring. i take a break, i comment on a comment about doc holliday by recommending paul west, i go back to west and find a most anxious influence. that anxiety, considering the love/hate audience for west, may be a good thing . . . but it does not change the basic fact that i can open almost any book of his to almost any page, and get my literary swoon on. there are worse writers to ape.
“It was never until he left his condign little hovel for the bright lights of the saloons and card rooms that Doc recognized how little padding there was in his days, that the miscellaneous noise of the rabble—shots fired into oil lamps, horses ridden into stores, fireworks let off like exclamation marks in the midst of the general outcry, screams of affront and howls of pain, long slithery sounds of throwing up, undisguised groans as hangovers bit home—all this kept him chipper, out of himself, away from the sullen recognition that most of his life he had lived against the odds, delighted usually to wake each morning, not much afraid to go to sleep, never in much need of company so long as he heard the racket of the mob, the untuned pianos, the strident fiddle, the click of gambling chips, the diminutive clatter of cup on saucer, the tiny suffocating ping of fork on plate, and could, with Wyatt say, stride out along Allen Street munching one of Pucette Romany’s redhot morning buns known to the local gentry as earps (or early acting roasted pussy).”
“A lost word came back to him, evoking fabulous scenes of chivalrous conduct and elaborate social finesse. Gracegentry, he murmured. Now what the hell was that? Was it even a word back then? Who said it, used it? Did it mean a true aristocrat reserved the right to shoot at anybody who appealed to him as a target? Droit de seigneur applied to last things? The answer would not come, but the word remained to torment and beguile him as he wondered at its sudden appearance, its aroma of excess. Somewhere still, he thought, they use it, somewhere in Georgia or Alabama, where I will never go again, never see that greensward abounding. He would never be a mountain man, nor a seafarer, a rustler, an Indian scout, a tracker, a shoesmith, an aviarist, a cavaliere servente, a balloonist, a governor or senator, a painter, a poet, a lawyer or a dentist. It was a matter now of gathering up the various remnants of his being, even as his lungs turned to sludge, so as to have an entity with firm edges while awaiting the end, promised him long ago and not to be denied him.”
-Paul West, from O.K. The Corral, The Earps, and Doc Holliday: A Novel