newly discovered story by bruno schulz

Dull sleep rolled over me like a heavy wagon, laden with the dust of darkness, covering me with its gloom.

Then the winter night began to wall itself in with black bricks of nothingness. Infinite expanses condensed into deaf, blind rock: a heavy, impenetrable mass growing into the space between things. The world congealed into nothingness.

In late 2019, Ukrainian researcher Lesya Khomych discovered what would soon be declared a previously unknown story by the great Polish writer Bruno Schulz, originally published under the pseudonym Marceli Weron. Entitled ‘Undula’, after its initial republication in Polish in the journal Schulz/Forum 14, the story appeared in English this summer on the website Notes From Poland, translated by the site’s editor Stanley Bill.

Prior to the story’s publication on Notes From Poland, however, the publisher Sublunary Editions had announced it would publish an English translation of the story in paperback this fall. So now there will be two English translations of what scholars believe is likely to have been Schulz’s first published story, a decade before the publication of his first collection of short fiction, Cinnamon Shops (Sklepy cynamonowe).

‘zones without people’

The title track from Oneohtrix Point Never’s 2009 album Zones Without People—perhaps the ultimate soundtrack for 2020, with other tracks to include ‘Learning to Control Myself’, ‘Disconnecting Entirely’, and ‘Emil Cioran’.

an interview with fustus

Now introducing…Fustus!

review of a set of lines

A Set of Lines has received its first review outside of Goodreads. This perceptive review comes by way of long-time comrade-in-letters and master lipogramist Daniel Williams, aka awildslimalien.

The Immaculate

Over at the Ghost Paper Archives site, the tenacious archivists have accosted an intriguing individual known only as The Immaculate for the purpose of a brief interview session. Methinks Mac could have strolledcoattails flappingstraight out from the pages of a Angela Carter novel…

dream 2015.03.29

I stand on a bridge with a giant tribesman alongside an enormous freighter beached in shallow water. It’s full of refugee pilgrims, many of whom spill over onto the shore. My companion shows me one of his traditional practices. He holds a long pole with a hollowed-out cup at its end. In his other hand he holds a small silver ball. He jumps down from the bridge, landing on his feet, then springing back up—while repeating these motions with mathematical precision he alternately raises the pole to hurl up and catch the ball in the cup at its tip. At one point the ball veers far off course, landing somewhere on or near the ship.

The remainder of the dream consists of my companion and I searching for the silver ball. We traverse the length of the ship, which is incredibly crowded with children and adults. Some listen to talks or attend prayer sessions. On the sandy shore we look in the shallows and find thousands of tiny white crosses on chains flashing in the water. I keep hoping to find the ball, but feel it is an almost futile search. My companion is much more hopeful; resolute, he plods on. Soon we see a few members of his tribe approaching from the opposite direction. He speaks with them in their native language, which consists of clicks and other short abrupt exclamations. I do not understand. I wake up as if entering a new world.

overheard avian conversation

The other day I heard three birds discussing the state of the world.

‘It will get worse before it gets better,’ said the first bird.

The second bird harumphed. ‘Actually, it will appear better for a time but then continue to get much worse.’

Pausing to look up from scratching around in the dirt, the third bird asked: ‘Do either of you know when the tall man will start putting out sunflower seeds for us again?’

ahoy chicagoans

To those readers living in the Chicago area: if you’ve reached the point where you feel you can leave your quarantine unit without enduring heart palpitations in order to do some socially distant browsing at one of your local bookshops, my novel A Set of Lines is now available at that fine Chicago institution known as Quimby’s. New stock of Bunker Diaries and Inner Harbor Field Reports has also arrived at the store. Just a heads up that the supply of these two publications is dwindling, and there are no plans for a second printing. As always, thanks for reading and be well.

the new experiment

From its exterior the laboratory suggests disuse: a grey windowless mass of concrete block ringed by a rusting chain-link fence entwined with clumps of chicory and Queen Anne’s lace. This is intentional. For inside, beneath the glare of a single fluorescent bulb, the scientist toils over his most ambitious experiment to date. He has been indoors for months⁠—his only encounters with fresh air taken as inhalations from a flexible plastic tube fed through a tiny aperture in the wall above his workbench. At the end of each day he meticulously cleans the inside of the tube with a long fine-fiber brush. He stores the brush in a locked drawer and wears the key around his neck on a silver chain.

A cistern of water sits in one corner of the single-room building. A metal safe holding nutrition wafers stands next to it. At night the scientist stretches out on a low cot set against the wall. Creeping through the twilight of semi-consciousness he approaches the hypnagogic border checkpoint and loiters there, stepping over and back across the border in an eccentric shuffle akin to backwoods buck dancing. As he dances he conjures his ideasdarting in and out of lucid dreams, imprinting theories on the inner walls of his mind.

This current experiment began following the now-infamous ‘centrifuge episode’, in which the scientist’s (former) circular laboratory began rotating in response to the frenetic activity of bodies moving outside its walls. The event scratched the flint of inquiry once again, leading the scientist to abandon the city of his birth and migrate to this forgotten rust-belt town, at the edges of which he established his current laboratory in a former small engine repair shop.

What you may ask is the nature of the experiment. What indeed. Does he even know himself…does he know himself? Does he know himself? What does he know?

(1) Concrete is porous.

(2) Nutrition wafers only come in one flavor: bland.

(3) Eventually the water will run out.

visit the nobody zone

after people, a bird reflects

In a new series on the Ghost Paper Archives site, the resident archivist-reporters explore the Nobody Zone in words and images. Read the first installment and subscribe for future posts on the right sidebar of the GPA site (no WordPress account needed).

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  • In Search of Lost Time

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