“Yet when I talk to him sometimes, I hear my voice returning to me larger than it left: I find my thinking clarified, my mistakes disclosed, just by being spoken into him, because he naturally knows how to echo: first from this surface of consideration, then from that; each time differently, bending, shaping the conception, allowing all its holes to fill with further holes until it comes back hollow as a shell, and you are left with only your memory of how it once reverberated; how before, when it departed your sunny solicitous shore, your thought was vital, energetic, sea deep, insistent as surf, and how now it is tiny, tinny, thin, an alien husk, a brittle bit of calcified skin some worm’s worn.”
W. Gass, The Tunnel, Dalkey Archive Press, 1999, p. 415.
The Tunnel is: William H. Gass showing his ID, showing it, et al. (this is a plural), with super-egotistic condescension to his Herschel Honey readers – to nobodies like me. With 250 pages to go Herschel is, as I always am, the latecomer who – as the voice of reason popping up in your head just after sending the annoying mail that will haunt you until the unreasonableness of its reply has been registered – is dumb enough not to feel disappointed at being too late to make the difference.
The article makes a difference (two can play at that).