by Randall Mann
Late-night dispatch, San Francisco: I’m about halfway through Martin Amis’s novel Money, relentless, repellent, ridiculous, exquisitely crafted Money, a 1980s period piece written as if it were destined to be a 1980s period piece.
Which is better than most.
Which is taking me forever, reading the book I mean, because who has fucking time for that.
This endless couple-pages-before-maybe-a-handjob-and-then-sleep slog through Money has got me thinking about money.
Not that I have all that much. I mean, I don’t stress about buying a burrito for dinner, or take-out Thai, but it’s not like I can buy a house. It’s not like I don’t take the bus.
I earn my living as an editor at a massive biotech company. Where it’s pretty fucking intense. People run, I mean actually run, to meetings. I have. I have a Blackberry and a laptop and desktop in the company name, the words telecon and WebEx are part of my daily vernacular. And I’m a fucking nobody. What I mean is, there are seven little boxes between me and the CEO on the company org chart.
I mean, I have an MFA: let’s just say that I opted not to have them list that on my business cards.
I have to say this about money: it gets shit done.
I have to say this about Money: it’s filled with money sentences. Such as:
“But that’s the trouble with dignity and self-respect: they cost you so much fucking money.”
“Money, I think, is uncontrollable. Even those of us who have it, we can’t control it. Life gets poor-mouthed all the time, yet you seldom hear an unkind word about money. Money, now this has to be some good shit.”
“Anyone who’s got the balls to stand there and tell me that a handjob isn’t exercise just doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
Oh, wait, that’s not about money. But of course it is. Everything is.
I’ll say yes, yes, Martin Amis, sitting here with my Money and my money and my money shot.
I wonder if other people dream about rolling around in hundred-dollar bills in bed.
Except in the dream I don’t roll so much as rock back and forth, so as not to rip the money.
Which is probably one more middle-class betrayal.
If this were not a blog—god, I can’t believe I’m blogging—
If this were not a blog, if it were, say, an assignment for work, this is the point where I would go over to the bookshelf and grab, maybe, a moneymaker like Wallace Stevens, or Dana Gioia, and pickpocket the perfect quote about poetry and money.
Because—did I mention this?—I’m a poet.
But this is a blog. And they are not paying me enough money to justify the short walk from bed to bookshelf. Not enough to Google.
So I’m going back to my Money.