Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret
among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times
but in tune with the ages. --First Things

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Ascending Peculiarity

Some favorite (that is, congenial) quotes 
from Ascending Peculiarity: 
Edward Gorey on Edward Gorey

But I haven't the slightest idea why my work has taken the tack it has. I just do what occurs to me--if it occurs to me strong enough.

I haven't done anything of my own that I didn't believe in. And I don't think the amount of work you have to put into anything has got anything to do with it.

Basically I've written what I've written because it's the only mode in which I can write or draw.

...I don't think it is possible not to be one's own generation; however, on the surface, my work harks back to the Victorian and Edwardian periods. Basically I am absolutely contemporary because there is no way not to be. I am dealing with contemporary concerns. You've got to be contemporary.

Explaining something makes it go away, so to speak; what's important is left after you have explained everything else.

And the way I write, since I do leave out most of the connections, and very little is pinned down, I feel that I'm doing a minimum of damage to other possibilities that might arise in a reader's mind.

My better works just came to me, I think. I think if you have to think about anything very long, you've obviously done yourself an injury, as it were.


  1. "Explaining something makes it go away, so to speak; what's important is left after you have explained everything else."
    I like this one, particularly!

    A nice little collection of quotes here, Marly. Most congenial for a Thursday morning (and one that promises sunshine!)

    1. We have a thunderstorm on the menu... I am wanting some hot summer days. Supposed to climb up to big 73 before the storm, but I want some heat! Yankee summers seem quite opposed to global warming.

      Yes, I like that one too--it's good advice for people who like to explain their stories away. (Gorey thinks Henry James does that.)

  2. Wonderful quotes, Marly.

    I wouldn't mind one of those thunderstorms to cool us down and water the parched earth!

    1. Let's swap!

      Yes, Gorey says some very interesting things...


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.