Friday, August 26, 2011

The old and the new

Greetings. If you're visiting here for the first time, please feel free to look around. I have nearly 8 (!) years of blogging archived here, but as of August 2011, I'm no longer updating this site.

You can find my current personal blog at (which includes links to my other writing), and I also write frequently for The Idler.

Or, of course, I'm on Twitter at @craiggav

If you need a good place to get started, check out my "Best of Wordwright" post from July 2010, or my list of publications at

Happy reading!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z is for zed

The name is the thing.

Thou whoreson zed! Thou unnecessary letter!

It is an unnecessary letter, that anomalous hard consonant end. Like Ned and Ted for Edward—superfluous, silly. No wonder Z was on its way out. If you don’t use it, just lop off the end. But sometimes even the unnecessary survives in archives and on maps. Sometimes a good paring is all that you need to thrive. Sometimes you just have to change the name.

The name is everything. Speak for five minutes and I can tell you your hometown and what your parents did for a living. Speak for ten and I can tell you your future. Speak your name and I can do both at once.

The name’s the thing. If I call it driftwood, you will not sit on it. If I call it a chair you will not break it up to burn. It’s a chopper, baby. If you cannot name it properly, we’ll never get anywhere.

Zed’s dead, baby. Long live Z.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Y is for yawn

You yawn
as a sign of yielding.

Giving way
is still a way to give.
Movement is creation, and
a yawn is a nod
to the physicality
of language,
difference in space
as well as time,

but it is also a way to say not yet.

we are not
at the end
just yet.


not yet.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

X is for xeating

X is for cheating. It is the letter of abbreviation and shorthand.
X is a signature and a saint, manifestation and incarnation, a use of the body to prove the existence of spirit.
X is impossible, a remainder, redundant.
X would be the first to go.
X is a shortcut, a marker, a way around the crosswalk.
X is a line, a single dimension.
X is the cross and double cross, convergence and divergence.
X is never the same thing twice.
X is not equal to Y.
X is the proof of the primacy of sequence, as it may be both added to and subtracted from depending on the placement of I.
X is the nothing that is, and thus is not the empty set.
X is the necessity of a new zero.
X is the transcendental signified, and thus X is cheating. QED.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W is for writing

(A version of this piece was originally posted on March 13, 2008)

The writing that I have to write is of a kind. One of those kinds is a writing to be read, a writing that disappears into meaning and conveyance, that carries a load and when the load has been carried it is the load which is meaning which is remembered and the writing disappears. Another of those kinds is a writing which is for writing and for words and is not for conveying. This is a writing which is for reading but is not for being read. The writing which I have to write is mostly of the second kind. Writing which is for reading does work, but it is of a different kind than the first kind of writing. This writing also disappears but its disappearing is of a different kind than the first kind of writing. Writing that does not disappear is made to disappear. Writing which disappears is made, which is to say that writing which disappears is made to disappear, but the writing which is not made to disappear disappears as well. The disappearing is of a different kind because the making is of a different kind. This is a history of not being read.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V is for Victoria

There can be no arc of development between the times I lived abroad. I was not a small Channeltown boy who moved to the city and came home only once. I was a visitor, a tourist, even as I ate handmade sandwiches from a local vendor and drank English beer. Only a tourist can really love a place, because only a tourist can see a place as it really is instead of how it was or how it was meant to be. My affair with England was perfect: passionate and brief, and I long to return largely because there is little opportunity to do so. I was someone else in England, which is to say that I was truly myself. I was a true cosmopolitan, unaware almost to the end that Victoria Station did not serve the whole of the island, but only the area southeast of the city. I traveled to London to see all of England, and learned my lesson so well that when I returned I hardly left Bloomsbury. The British Museum is the world entire. I will never go back again.