23 June 2006

Marianne Hauser Changed Tense

Email from Raymond Federman:

marianne hauser changed tense yesterday - have you read The Talking Room - if not order it imediately --

it came out from FC at the same time as TIOLI and Marianne and I became friends immediately -- she was a fabulous writer -- she was 93 yesterday when she changed tense [and still smoking pot which we did together regularly once upon a time -- she had an antique silver cigarette box full of joints and she would offer them to her friends or even to strangers -- she was quite a woman -she was from Alsace had traveled all over the world -- she had married some mediocre orchestra conductor who conducted the kirkville municipal orchestra in nebraska -- she dumped him -- but not her son michael whom she loved and still loves -- and became an outrageous lesbian -- at 80 she was more gorgeous and seductive than those young broads [excuse the term] who walk around with their jeans exposing the crack of their asses and they boobs falling out of their blouses --

I swear the world is full of such exposed young ladies -- and too many of them are fat around the hips

but marianne hauser she was something else

when she published that marvelous little book called ME & MY MOM I wrote her to tell her that Erica and I had just gone through that with Trude [E's mother] -- if you have not read ME & MY MOM -- drop everything -- it's explain to you your relationship with mother or your mother in-law --

I am sad that marianne is gone and at the same time happy to think that she hung in there and still wrote a couple more fabulous books before she decided that she was fed ufp with this fucking world of ours --- if you want to read about the demolition of the father read SHOOT OU WITH FATHER by Marianne Hauser -- it's as great as the letter Kafka wrote to his father --

she was complaining one day to me after ME & MY MOM came out that no one payed attention to her work -- maybe we were complaining because my work was also being ignored --

and so I wrote a little piece for Marianne

you may have seen it before - but here it is again

For Marianne Hauser
As we old bums [you & me & your mom & the other bum in peeoria] contemplate what appears to others to be l'âge [vieillesse ou vieilles fesses] as we admire [with a touch of disdain] our own amazing present mental agility [and virility too] as we delight in the fact that we are becoming so good [so dexterous] so much better with words as we get older [perhaps even wiser in spite of the cliché] as we listen [especially at night] to those protracted echoes of the void [excuse the terminal lyricism] but without asking [as in days of youth] whence the original sound [I almost said original sin) came [sometimes unwanted] as we contemplate the landscape of words we designed and left behind us [not without pain] yes as we contemplate the not too distant moment when we will have to change tense [inevitably so] we wonder [often aloud] how the hell have we managed to come this far [to do that much] with words [words words our whole life was but a pell mell babel of words] and look oh look how they fall in place now so easily so quietly our words as they say [or fail to say] what they want to say before crumbling into the great void [excuse the romantic agony] alright crumbling into the motherfucking abyss of forgetfulness [le grand abîme de l’oubli]


Anonymous said...

for federman:
Three Friends by Chuang-tzu

There were three friends
Discussing life.
One said:
"Can we live together
and know nothing of it?
Work together
and produce nothing?
Can people fly around in space
and still forget to exist
World without end?"

The three friends looked at each other
and burst out laughing.
They had no explanation.
Thus they were better friends than before.

Then one friend died.
Confucius sent a disciple
to help the other two
Chant the traditional funeral ritual.

His disciple found that one of them had composed a song.
While the other played the lute,
They sang:

"Hey, Sung Hu!
Where'd you go?
You have gone
Where you were before.
And we are here--
Damn it! We are here!"

Then the disciple of Confucius burst in on them and exclaimed:
"May I inquire where in the funeral ritual it allows you
to sing so irreverently in the presence of the departed?"

The two friends looked at each other, smiled, and said:
"Well trained in liturgy,
but the poor fellow doesn't understand life and death!"

Freely adapted from Thomas Merton, The Way of Chuang-Tzu
(New York: New Directions, 1965), pp.54-55.


Richard said...

Marianne was a terrific writer and a terrific person. I too remember when I was an MFA student working as an editorial assistant at the Fiction Collective and we were doing Ray's Take It Or Leave It and Marianne's The Talking Room. I still treasure my copies of both books.

My favorite of Marianne's books is Prince Ishmael. She will be missed.

blonde said...

this woman's writing made me less inclined to quit. i can't even get the words to say. talk about redefining the beautiful, wrestling language, staying present within being.


Anonymous said...

Marianne was a professor at Queens College in New York when I took her creative writing course back in 1972 or so. She was a tough old broad back then and I worked my ass off and pulled an A- which I cherish till today. I wish there were more like her today. Alas, she is of a dying breed.

Anonymous said...

I too took Creative Writing and also a Short Story Writing course with Professor Hauser at Queens College in 1971-72. I loved her.

Although my path led me to writing music rather than literature, she kindled a creative spirit in me and gave me confidence in the truth of my insights. I did not know of her passing till today when for the first time I Googled her. I am happy to see she was respected and appreciated.

I own a collection of Short Stories "A Lesson In Music," which I have read and re-read.

Marianne, thank you.
Fred De Sena