“‘We have wacky mode,” Powell remembers Barthelme saying to his class, a writing workshop Powell was taking. “What must wacky mode do?” The students, clueless, stayed quiet. Barthelme said, “Break their hearts.”
In this, Wacky Mode serves a similar function to a strange object covered with fur.
(Incidentally, Powell’s new book is The Interrogative Mood: A Novel?, 165 pages of which every sentence is a question (“Should it still be Constatinople?” “Why won’t the aliens step forth to help us?” “Do you dance?”). We’ll have a [glowing] review in an upcoming issue of the L, but in the meantime, he reads tonight at 192 Books. Will he point to a different a different audience member after every question?)