Discursive Tangles


Increasingly I find myself filled with the desire of simply saying what I think about.  To some generative effect.

“We live.  We die.  We wish the living mattered.”

But “that’s too simple,” you say.  “Everyone knows that.”

And you’re right, again, and it’s the best that I can do.

Not that I don’t do other things, in living.  I hold jobs and work for pay (at nearly ANYthing) to keep a home, feed and educate my children, and attempt to convince them to try to try.

And then there’s the dynamo of desire.  Urges and drives, lusts and obsessions simply to have someone who will allow me to be close to them – to touch them and smell, listen and taste, copulate and serve and talk back and forth.  I don’t expect them to love me.  I’ve long given up being wanted or desired.  Can’t imagine I’ve ever considered myself necessary to someone or something.  For connection – to world, to literature and art, to thoughts and conversations, to knowledge and nature.

“No matter,” He says, “Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better,” He says.

I cannot.  Oh I try.  I try.  I try again.  But never imagine proximity of others not involving pity, and my failure seem ever further from their marks.  Not better.  I’m 45 now!  Or 80!  No matter.

No matter, indeed.

No matter, at all.  Perhaps.  I know this, that, some other stuff.  No matter. So I crave and wish and hope.  Failing further, and worse, never better.

Long hours of days pleasing others (or trying).  No matter.  Family and employers, students and friends.  No matter.  Perhaps?

But to say something simply.  How that?  I feel caught in a tangle of discourses.  What language to say in?  What field?  How to be heard, perhaps evaluated, to “count” or to “matter.”  I read something years ago by Nathalie Sarraute comparing the dreams or demands of Dostoevsky and Kafka to be recognized…no, acknowledged  (“From Dostoevsky to Kafka” in The Age of Suspicion). To matter.  Appear.  Have a voice.

Said simply:

“We live.  We die.  We wish the living mattered.”


13 thoughts on “Discursive Tangles

  1. Nathan…you’ve become my favorite existentialist author. At the same time I apologize for “labeling” your writing. Maybe I should say you are becoming one of my favorite “human” writers.

  2. Not really Nathan. In the BIG world of writing I can only reflect on what comes my way. Your writing is exploring territory that seems somewhat “genre- less”, experimental. Being a scout on this frontier is pretty solitary and lacks the hoopla that follows well traveled paths with simply twists of innovation. I’m grateful that you are attempting to find words for where you travel. xxoo

  3. Bravo! Well said. I’ve been stuck in nothingness for too long. Oddly your piece may be the matter that pushes me out of the destitution of worthlessness.

  4. Thank you Carl. I consistently dwell in these realms. Places of nothingness, participation in larger processes, “meaninglessness” + elected guidance, arbitrary commitments (or conventional) & affirmations of experience. Currently, those seem to me our options in existence as we are. Go on. Be. Why not? Simply to know the elections, selections, structures of meaning we choose seems a kind of enough-satisfaction for carrying on through our range of being. ??? Who knows. Even looking at my reply seems foolish. & nice.

"A word is a bridge thrown between myself and an other - a territory shared by both" - M. Bakhtin

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