No. 162. Blazing Cinders
Last night he reread Blaise Cendrars' great novel, Moravagine (1926), one of his favourite books--and perhaps the greatest anti-war novel ever written. Cendrars (1887-1961) was born Frederic Sauser, but he soon changed his name to Blaise Cendrars because that entirely invented name seemed to evoke the invigorating, Phoenix-like idea of "blazing cinders."
Cendrars' writing is never less than astonishingly inventive and lyrically outrageous: "--Turn your head a little," I would say to her. "There. Thank you. Now don't move, I beg you. You are lovely as a stovepipe, smooth and rounded into yourself, elbowed. Your body is like an egg on the seashore. You are concentrated as rock salt...." (Moravagine, Penguin Modern Classics, 1979, p.41).
Early this morning he began a gigantic portrait of Cendrars. Wanting it rough, as the writer would have wished, he made the picture with black house-paint, sweeping and slathering it onto the white canvas using a push-broom.

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