(Note: I wrote this piece over 10 years ago, possibly 15. I stumbled across it last night and it made me smile more than once, so I decided to publish it here and give it a final resting place. Minor amusement, nothing more. -DM)
The Critics are Talking About This Life's Monument
"As majestic and fragile as a hydrogen Zeppelin, this is one story I can guarantee will afflict that small part of your anatomy you call your 'sense of decency' with a ravaging apoplexy. Enter with care; exit enraptured."
-Roddy Rakish, Author of The Chartruse
"A canny look at the building blocks of culture. No stone is left unturned, no brick unmortared, no cornerstone unchristened … no flagstaff unsundered, no window uncracked, no tapestry unhung … no billiard table unbroken, no gas lamp unsnuffed … no rampart unmanned, no head unshaven, no knee unbent … a true delight."
-Garry 'Gristle' MacHugh, Conjuror Laureate
"Crushed, rebuilt, intensified, illuminated, rarefied - these are the founding artistic principles of This Life's Monument. Extemporaneous, Magical, Fraternal, Wet, Green, Loaded - these are the Adjectives that describe it best. Read it today - this is the injunction I pass on to you."
-Kiki Rote, a New Woman since that day in Fresno
"Never before in the history of literature has an author conceived a character so vague and indistinct and yet so compelling as Kid Ubiquity; and never before has a protagonist roused such complex reactions and agonies. Kid Ubiquity and his colleagues at the International Tychist League are the secular trinity of decency, shame, and ambition rolled into a single bundle for our investigation."
-Rev. Buck Young
"A Riot! A Tour De Force! I laughed my ass off and wiped my tears away … crystal tears of limpid bliss… A real treat!"
-Not Her Real Name
"A … bizarre [story] … I … like[d] ... it."
-Sven, Accounts Manager
"It shames me to see a new generation of men and women of Letters who flagrantly parade their artsy intemperance in avenues ill suited to surfeits of personal style. The blurb is no place to be modest or smarmy. That said, I must say add This Life's Monument reminded me very much of a book of my own devising, still forthcoming, called Silicon Alley Snitch On Crack. For that fact alone I am glad."
-Official Arbiter Of All That Is Fragrant; Spokane, WA
"I read (most of) it and liked (most of) it, etc."
-Thomas Lynchpin, Author of In Vinoland Veritasty
"I thought that Kid Ubiquity's Mother was a very sad character. Furthermore, the Father was just a jerk. Kid U. was like this kid in my social studies class who is a dork but who I should be nicer to. That's what this story was about: Love. Mr. Robinson read this book too fast sometimes though, so I had not time to hear all of it sometimes."
-Alice Seymour, W. H. Harrison Elementary
"…whereas we see in the previous blurb the tremendous pedagogical potential of a good piece of literature. Thus, on the strength of this and many similar case examples, I have convinced myself, without fear of meaningful reproach from my colleagues, now deceased, that This Life's Monument could, if properly introduced to the general populace, engender no less than a complete and completely non-violent cultural revolution of reinstated moral and ethical proportions. The mythic 'Level Playing Field' of past imaginations can now become a reality. This rising tide will surely raise even the most dingy dinghy. Audio versions should naturally be made available for the illiterate."
-Aeschylus, Alice’s dog
"This book reminded me of my new Fraud truck. I learned two things in the process of reading it; that I should lose some weight and that you can have low low low APR financing on your 2000 model Fraud Truck if you act today. Come down to Burkett's Fraud in Renton and check out last year's models in peace and quiet. We will not molest you like those other dealers are wont to do. Check us out today."
-Cap’n Creedo of Cap’n Creedo Fraud
"The Author of This Life's Monument is in serious need of a rubdown. I loosen stiff muscles. Let your tension flow. All the knots, the anxieties, and the momentum of modern life seem to have backed up in the author's psyche as if clogged in a repugnant storm drain. I can show you the pleasure road to freedom from this glut. Just call."
-Iris Pistil, Escorter of Escortees
“A dash of B.G. with a pinch of J.J. and a dusting of S.B. with a helping of D.B., drained through a cheescloth with L.S.'s famous T.S. printed on the recto and verso, which should clear this piece of gargbage of all charges of plagiarism. Good luck, D.M.”
"I saw you: Me: Goth chick in leotards and vinyl trench - bloodless ivory skin, your careless fantasy, etc. You - brooding, seductive, writerly, author of miniscule opus This Life's Monument. You are worth more than you think, less than you hope. Call me first. SWF, Drink/ND, No STD, HWP, N/K, Horny."
-SWF, Drink/ND, No STD, HWP, N/K, Horny
"This dim, slim volume - this collection of barely lucid tales - makes a great doorstop or beverage coaster."
"If there is one book that should be required reading for the entire human race, This Life's Monument is not it. The appreciation – nay, simply the ingestion - of art should require an investment. This story is a write off."
"I understood New Statistical Analytical Methods for Diagnostic Processes, 3rd ED, but I did not understand This Life's Monument. I am not willing to give it another try, unless someone pays me to do so."
-You Heard Me
"A relevant tract / Though sadly misguided and / cold like fallen snow."
-Ricky Q., Androgyn, Latent Poet, is aware of it.
"Dear This Life's Monument, What are you, a fucking armchair activist? You think you can solve the world's problems and have a rocking good time doing it? Think again, asshole. How about spending a little time volunteering your heart and hands to worthy causes, like Books to Prisoners, Habitat for Humanity, or Amnesty International instead of theorizing all day, making up silly stories, and masturbating without leaving your desk. Yeah, I read The Blue Stones, fucker. You intellectuals are lazy pieces of shit. And your last album sucked. (signed) PO'd in Ballard"
-PO'd in Ballard, reputation unknown.
"Verse: C /// D/ am/ G///; Chorus: F/// G/// F/// G//em; Bridge: D/D6/; Lyrics: (verse) I read a little story the other day, yeah, it moved my heart the way this sun moves through the sky (baby), I wouldn't have it any other way, yeah, My love's aflame and you're the reason why (maybe), (Chorus) (Oh oh oh) This Life's Monument (x2), gonna tear you a new mindhole, get you thinking 'out the box'. Repeat, fade."
-Jiggy Fella and The Sickle Spit Six, “Contractual Obligation Song” from their album It Is A Fine Thing To Want A Little Sumptin' Every Now And Then
"I never meant to stir up so much consternation. I just wanted to set in ink a little idea I had knocking around in my head for a while. Thank you for your kind attention. And to those of you who will never read This Life's Monument, I apologize for my impertinence. I should have been smarter."
-Darby C. McDevitt, Age 27, Author of This Life's Monument
"What pains me most is not Mr. McDevitt's obvious dissimulation and spurious modesty; rather it's the opposite. His heart on the sleeve obviousness and overbearing arrogance really pisses me off. It makes me pine for a book a book full of nothing but dissimulation and spurious modesty."
-Text on the spine of a box of ‘Zippy-Os’
-Amanda Hertz, Mr. McDevitt's ex-girlfriend, aged 33 years
"Hello, um - Richard? - Its Steve - I was hoping you'd be home because, ah, well, I needed to talk to you about the, the, [unintelligible] - sorry, hold on - okay, we need to talk about some scheduling and budgeting conflicts - I'm thinking maybe we need to let a few of our new hires, ah, let them go, because - well, its costing us a lot and we've only got, three - yeah three payable milestones left, and we’re already 3 weeks behind schedule - so - so give me a call at XXX-XXXX. Also, I'm reading this collection of short stories and there's this one called This Life's Monument which is really wacky - It's by this guy named McDonald or something – anyway, I thought I'd bring it up because there's this part where it mentions two guys named Richard and Steve, which - [coughs] excuse me - which I thought was kind of apropos, you know - anyway, I'll be up till eleven or so - talk to you later, man."
-Steve Bankitt, Chief Financial Officer of GeoCom, Inc.
QFC -5 Roma Tom.
4 Can Soup (chk & veg)
2 Spag. sauce
1 lb. Spag.
'This Lifes Mon." by D. McDermitt
‘New Yorker’, ‘Harper’s’, ‘New Woman’
Pick up Dry Cleaning, 4 pm
Sell used CDs
Book Burning @ first Presb., 8pm/ bring punch"
-Freddie T. Wrinkle, a fella'.
"3. Some responded favorably to positive comments about their parents: 'Yeah my mom can be cool I guess' (Lisa, Asian, 13); 'I think parents have it tough too sometimes, so yeah, I think they deserve some awards and candy.' (Rene, Af-Am, 11).
4. Some displayed a healthy respect for parental authority: 'If you get your dad mad, he will sometimes just beat you down.' (Richard, Cauc., 13); 'My mom is asleep and she can hold her breath for a really long time. My dad says it’s a world record, because its been 4 years.' (Steve, Latino, 10)'
5. Some were wary of their parent's reading habits: 'Father will often break into tears when he is reading this book. It’s called This Life is Monument I think. He looks so sad and confused and angry, when he does. He should stop reading that book and start loving his family. (Bobbi, Cauc., 12)"
-excerpted from "Observational Dialogues With Prepubescent Melancholic Only-Childs: A Survey", published by the Department of Health Services, University of Washington, 1998.
"Admonishing an author for defying taboo's is like slapping a dog for sniffing its own crotch … we, the moral center, are obliged to look on with bemused pity and accept the inclinations of damaged beings. I despised this book, yet I understand its necessity."
"Who is Mother Ubiquity? Why, she is nothing short of the paradigmatic measure of our own souls. She is no less than everything else. She cannot be described or refuted. She is the 46 year old woman we always knew we were, yet wished we could marry. She is a fraudulent electoral process. She is America at war to keep the peace. She is a bogus check written for 3 dollars in an obscure southern county. She is the colors green and grey. What else?"
“Where was the Father?!?! Doesn’t Kid Ubiquity have a Father?!?! Where was the damn Father? Doesn’t Mother Ubiquity have a husband?!?! Where was the god damned Father?!?! Isn’t this story about a Family?!?! Where was the mother fucking Father?!?!
-Authority, Problems With (p. 37)
"Note: I wrote this piece over 10 years ago, possibly 15. I stumbled across it last night and it made me smile more than once, so I decided to publish it here and give it a final resting place. Minor amusement, nothing more."
-Darby McDevitt, age 38, author of This Life's Monument
“ * * * ½ (Almost Highly Recommended)”
-D. B. Paratrooper, Book Critic, 'Leanin’ Left Monthly'
“ * ½ (Not Really Recommended)”
-G. Q., Book Critic, ‘All Right: A Journal of Letters, Responses, and Christ’
“It was okay. But Mr. McD needs to work on his denouement. I’ll see the film.”