“No bird has the heart to sing in a thicket of questions”
“There was something tragic in fighting the borders, the heroism of shortcomings, the panic of passion”
-Bruno Schulz via Jonathan Safran Foer-
It may be raining, very gently, while whispering its verdant perfume, just behind me, just outside my open window. If it’s not, I’m pretending it is, and the world is agreeable.
I’ve been reading an older essay by Susan Sontag entitled “The Aesthetics of Silence,” an article from which I feel a chiding exposure of invented artistic double binds, a renewed challenge for integration and expression (the ways rain shares), and primarily the pleasure of yet another perspective.
Like “the heroism of shortcomings” from Bruno Schulz as carved out of pages by Jonathan Safran Foer in The Tree of Codes – the powers of self-negation and its failure in the likes of Kafka and Kleist, Jabes and Joubert, Artaud and Rimbaud, Blanchot and Beckett and so on. Those great unsilent successes of botched commitments to silence.
As emptiness might only occur in a context of fullness.
Being so glad that I am writing this by hand, as I do with every document I create, usually quite uncertain of what is inside each letter until the systems of nervous muscles begin to work. The quotes above, for instance, copied from handwritten notecards copied from marginal notes and underlines copied from the midst of other authors reworked texts, and then copied again here with the proviso that perhaps in forming it yet another time, by hand, something missed before gains another change to arise.
I am thankful that writing is quiet.
Although I used to use the typewriter’s beat to edit my lines of poetry.
And I’m sure the background music, passing cars, and sounds of squirrels and wind and children all have their effect.
I also appreciate seeing the whole page, battling mood-related or arthritically scribble script versus partial views on-screen and standardized formations of fonts. I enjoy those bloggers who scan their manuscripts and writings but don’t trust your powers of vision compared to the particular words I end up selecting by the time I reach the machine. No need to add difficulty to difficulty, in this case.
Still, you’d probably know something more (or at least differently) were you opening up an envelope gathered from your mailbox with this folded up inside.
Like silence or a thicket of questions, rain or a grumbling stomach, everything comes round to context. Persons embodied, embedded in an active variable surround expressing through media, tools, machines, to wherever, whomever, however you are reading, deciphering, translating, decoding, interpreting, creating yet again in another contextual universe of another time.
Such a dynamic endeavor. Our artifacts, messages, calls and displays.
Panicked passion, tragic fighting of borders, heroic shortcomings these. Aesthetics of silence. All.
With hearts to sing in our questioning thickets.
4 thoughts on “Singing in the Rain”
A particularly moving post. Thank you. (Also a fan of Bruno Schulz — glad to be reminded. Wondering if you’ve seen a the Brothers Quay’s stop motion film based on a Street of Crocodiles. I think you would like it on many levels).
Thank you. I have not seen the Quay’s films – have been watching Svankmeier just this week – have placed it on order – thanks for the tip! Schulz is grand
Fantastic post..very thought provoking..”No bird has the heart to sing in a thicket of questions”..wonderful..
thank you so much!