This. Interesting. Day.

Interesting:  it will come, whispering in your imagination that the English interest comes from the Latin inter esse, literally “in-between-being.” – Gunnar Olsson, Abysmal

“something must have changed” – Samuel Beckett, Malone Dies

I guess I just decided to let something else happen…

I suppose I decided

insofar as we do

to let something else

become…

“This is what I’ve decided.  I see no other solution.  It is the best I can do…

…that little space of time, filled with drama, between the message received and the piteous response…

 …Of  myself I could never tell, any more than live or tell of others…”

Samuel Beckett, Malone Dies

distrusting human plans

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Michel Foucault: “Speech Begins After Death”

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..does the pleasure of writing exist?  I don’t know.  One thing I feel certain of is that there’s a tremendous obligation to write.  This obligation to write, I don’t really know where it comes from.  As long as we haven’t started writing, it seems to be the most gratuitous, the most improbable thing, almost the most impossible, and one to which, in any case, we’ll never feel bound.  Then, at some point – is it the first page, the thousandth, the middle of the first book, or later?  I have no idea – we realize that we’re absolutely obligated to write.  This obligation is revealed to you, indicated in various ways.  For example, by the fact that we experience so much anxiety, so much tension if we haven’t finished that little page of writing, as we do each day.  By writing that page, you give yourself, you give to your existence, a form of absolution.  That absolution is essential for the day’s happiness.  It’s not the writing that’s happy, it’s the joy of existing that’s attached to writing, which is slightly different.  This is very paradoxical, very enigmatic, because how is it that the gesture – so vain, so fictive, so narcissistic, so self-involved – of sitting down at a table in the morning and covering a certain number of blank pages can have this effect of benediction for the remainder of the day?  How is the reality of things – our concerns, hunger, desire, love, sexuality, work – transfigured because we did that in the morning, or because we were able to do it during the day?  That’s very enigmatic.  For me, in any case, it’s one of the ways the obligation to write is manifested.

This obligation is also indicated by something else.  Ultimately, we always write not only to write the last book we will write, but, in some truly frenzied way – and this frenzy is present even in the most minimal gesture of writing – to write the last book in the world.  In truth, what we write at the moment of writing, the final sentence of the work we’re completing, is also the final sentence of the world, in that, afterward, there’s nothing more to say.  There’s a paroxysmal intent to exhaust language in the most insignificant sentence.  No doubt this is associated with the disequilibrium that exists between speech and language.  Language is what we use to construct an absolutely infinite number of sentences and utterances.  Speech, on the contrary, no matter how long or how diffuse, how supple, how atmospheric, how protoplasmic, how tethered to its future, is always finite, always limited.  We can never reach the end of language through speech, no matter how long we imagine it to be.  This inexhaustibility of language, which always holds speech in suspense in terms of a future that will never be completed, is another way of experiencing the obligation to write.  We write to reach the end of language, to reach the end of any possible language, to finally encompass the empty infinity of language through the plenitude of speech.

Another reason why writing is different from speaking is that we write to hide our face, to bury ourselves in our own writing.  We write so that the life around us, alongside us, outside, far from the sheet of paper, this life that’s not very funny but tiresome and filled with worry, exposed to others, is absorbed in that small rectangle of paper before our eyes and which we control.  Writing is a way of trying to evacuate, through the mysterious channels of pen and ink, the substance, not just of existence, but of the body, in those minuscule marks we make on paper.  To be nothing more, in terms of life, than this dead and jabbering scribbling that we’ve put on the white sheet of paper is what we dream about when we write.  But we never succeed in absorbing all that teeming life in the motionless swarm of letters.  Life always goes on outside the sheet of paper, continues to proliferate, keeps going, and is never pinned down to that small rectangle; the heavy volume of the body never succeeds in spreading itself across the surface of paper, we can never pass into that two-dimensional universe, that pure line of speech; we never succeed in becoming thin enough or adroit enough to be nothing more than the linearity of a text, and yet that’s what we hope to achieve.  So we keep trying, we continue to restrain ourselves, to take control of ourselves, to slip into the funnel of pen and ink, an infinite task, but the task to which we’ve dedicated ourselves.  We would feel justified if we no longer existed except in that minuscule shudder, that infinitesimal scratching that grows still and becomes, between the tip of the pen and the white surface of the paper, the point, the fragile site, the immediately vanished moment when a stationary mark appears once and for all, definitively established, legible only for others and which has lost any possibility of being aware of itself.  This type of suppression, of self-mortification in the transition to signs is, I believe, what also gives writing its character of obligation.  It’s an obligation without pleasure, you see, but, after all, when escaping an obligation leads to anxiety, when breaking the law leaves you so apprehensive and in such great disarray, isn’t obeying the law the greatest form of pleasure?  To obey an obligation whose origin is unknown, and the source of whose authority over us is equally unknown, to obey that – certainly narcissistic – law that weighs down on you, that hangs over you wherever you are, that, I think, is the pleasure of writing…

…I’m not an author.  First of all, I have no imagination.  I’m completely uninventive.  I’ve never even been able to conceive of something like the subject of a novel…I place myself resolutely on the side of the writers [in distinction – Roland Barthes – from authors] those for whom writing is transitive.  By that I mean those for whom writing is intended to designate, to show, to manifest outside itself something that, without it, would have remained if not hidden at least invisible.  For me, that’s where, in spite of everything, the enchantment of writing lies…I’m simply trying to make apparent what is very immediately present and at the same time invisible…I’d like to reveal something that’s too close for us to see, something right here, alongside us, but which we look through to something else…to define the proximity around us that orients the general field of our gaze and our knowledge…

So, for me, the role of writing is essentially one of distancing and of measuring distance.  To write is to position oneself in that distance that separates us from death and from what is dead…I’m in the distance between the speech of others and my own…In exercising my language, I’m measuring the difference with what we are not, and that’s why I said to you earlier that writing means losing one’s own face, one’s own existence.  I don’t write to give my existence the solidity of a monument.  I’m trying to absorb my own existence into the distance that separates it from death and, probably, by that same gesture, guides it toward death…

I’dd add that, in one sense, my head is empty when I begin to write, even though my mind is always directed toward a specific object.  Obviously, that means that, for me, writing is an exhausting activity, very difficult, filled with anxiety.  I’m always afraid of messing up; naturally, I mess up, I fail all the time.  This means that what encourages me to write isn’t so much the discovery or certainty of a certain relationship, of a certain truth, but rather the feeling I have of a certain kind of writing, a certain mode of operation of my writing, a certain style that will bring that distance into focus…

Foucault saisi par la révolution - Vacarme | Michel Foucault | Scoop.it

The “Tense of Incoherence” ( Paul Valery)

“I am suspicious of all words, for even the slightest reflection shows the absurdity of trusting them.”

– Paul Valery, Monsieur Teste

“You know, dear you, that my mind is of the obscurest sort…I am composed of an unfortunate mind which is never quite sure that it has understood what it has understood without realizing it.”

– Valery –

FOR NO REASON

Delight.  Hope.  Survival.  

Homer .  Beckett.  Kafka.  Hegel.  

Language.  

Wittgenstein.  Heidegger.  Merleau-Ponty.  

Fosse.  Derrida.  Foucault.  Sterne.  

Imagination.  Philosophy.  Fiction.

WHAT CAN BE THOUGHT? (Philosophy) “on the verge”

WHAT CAN BE WRITTEN? (Literature) “on the verge”

Maybe I’ll just read.  Perhaps suicide (stop).  Perhaps create.  Perhaps avoid.  Perhaps participate with others (friends, family, children, pets, nature).  Perhaps think and drink.

WHO CARES?  NO ONE.  NO SOME.  DO I?

Selected “foods for thought”:

The Event – Martin Heidegger.  Monsieur Teste – Paul Valery.  Replacement – Tor Ulven.  Inexhaustibility and Human Being – Stephen D. Ross.  The Meridian – Paul Celan.  Verge of Philosophy – John Sallis.  and so on.  Potentials.

Directions for staying alive (as human being).  Follow something: desire.  hope.  beauty.  sex.  belief.  pleasure.  pain.  Try something.

Read history and imagine imagining a world that sensible.

Read science and imagine imagining a world that ordered.  

Read literature and imagine imagining a world.  

Read philosophy and imagine imagining that many questions.  

Read religion and imagine imagining that many answers.

Stop.  Say your own.  (thoughts, imaginations, feelings, perceptions) to someone or to nothing (write them).

And so on.

For no reason.

But perhaps staying alive / living a little longer.

WHAT DO YOU WONDER?  DESIRE?  WISH?  PROPOSE?

And so on.

WHO CARES?             DO YOU?

And so on…

…for no reason.

Thus the life of “the writer,” “artist,” “human,” “scientist”… WHATEVER – WHOMEVER HUMAN (so-self-called) BEING.

In other words… when we encounter “literature” we (perhaps, perhaps probably) are engaging a fellow human being in the NOW – amidst an odd tactic of applying (through a strange and meddlesome nigh-universal ambiguous medium) the operation of EVERYTHING he/she knows or has experienced to the point-of-NOW.  And we (weird, individualized organisms) either find correlation and correspondence with (some or much or little) of their ‘whole’ knowledge & experience (and thus, perhaps, probably, are moved by or like them) or… find very little correspondence or similarity with our ‘own’ knowledge and experience and therefore consider them banal, useless, uninteresting, untrue, or off-putting.

WHO CARES?  DO YOU?

I do.  It keeps me alive, surviving.  I drink, I read, I think.  Attempt to forget obligations, relations, and responsibilities (I can’t).  That I’m a FATHER, that i exist in a socio-economic scenario that requires the bulk of my life be passed in “bullshit jobs” that somehow appease ‘Powers-That-Be’ and allow me a place on earth and a terrible fight to try and defend or spend ANY portion of existence doing-what-i-want, or what ‘fulfills’ or causes me happiness / gladness / joy in being alive…

When I’m able to “snare,” “steal,” “TIME” – I read and write, make love, or drink alcohol – because these things make me feel GOOD or WELL as the sort of being I am.

Why is it I feel compelled to sneak, steal, or justify what gives me joy in being? (whether plant, ant, mammal, or any other cellular construction)?

I wouldn’t ‘rather’ be famous, or a president, powerful, or a businessman, artist, or ‘professional,’ or anything.  I REALLY just want to be a human-in-society valuable-to-the-rest because I happen to be one who loves language, literature, pretending, fiction, inventing, thinking, imagining what might be – this-wise, that-wise, which-wise, whom-wise, where-wise, when-wise…

WHY IS THIS NOT VALUABLE?  ACCEPTABLE?  SUPPORTABLE?  along with each alternate things-one-might-want-to-be as valuable-to-the-cumulative…

Humans seem to be multiplicitous, variable, and plentiful.  Many wish/desire/like to be strong, rich, beautiful, productive, etc.  Why can not there also be room for those who desire neither usefulness, beauty, riches, or power… but CANS at the verges… of language, thought, imaginings?  And are these really so different from those pushing edges of other characteristics?

Suddenly this entry feels like a wallowing or a requesting of pity.

That is not the feeling.

“I am composed of an unfortunate mind which is never quite sure that it has understood what it has understood without realizing it.”

  • Paul Valery

Seasons

What’s happening now…and why I’m not writing much – reading, teaching, librarying, parenting…

Becoming What and Who

I would find it difficult to praise this work enough and urge you to engage it if you share a deep love of creating and participating in literature and works of art.

Toward a Reading of Forms – by Jean Rousset

rousset120

Not-Belonging, Chapters

I feel somewhat apologetic, but here is one more selection from my archives.  Another that when I re-read I am unable to see how I might do better, or how I ever got it done at all, yet all my work un-published or rejected, so I know it is not “good enough” per whatever the current cultural milieu would prefer.  “No matter.  Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better.”  Perhaps.  In any case, it circles around for me like the tail-eating snake I am, in hopes it might engender something new, no, in hopes it might be put to rest.  For any who read it, I would be hard pressed to metaphor my astonishment, humility, gratitude and begging-of-patience, including a sheer and sharp ache of deep appreciation for your life’s time and likely unwarranted, gracious, attention.

does-not-belong-worksheet-worksheet

Chapters That Don’t Belong

(please click image or title for text)

many thanks

A Literary Manifesto after the end of Literature and Manifestos – by Lars Iyer

Iyer post

NUDE IN YOUR HOT TUB, FACING THE ABYSS (A LITERARY MANIFESTO AFTER THE END OF LITERATURE AND MANIFESTOS)

by Lars Iyer

worth reading!

Meaning

From an email conversation I am involved in regarding human relation to technology…seemed to expose a who-I-am via what-I-concern-myself-with moment in my life worth sharing… and would love any/all comments, ideas, perspectives, regarding:

“I like that inference of thought…influence of larger and smaller systems interacting in our particular (as Lemke refers to them – “focal levels”) living.  I think from Heidegger onward that attention to the reciprocal or interactive influence of what we devise/make and who we are and what makes us continuously reshaping/constructing/constituting us IS a fundamental challenge/question Humanity is within.  This is why I am drawn to technesis as a human activity.  There is no difference from developing domiciles and agriculture, accounting and writing, language and representation in its holistic alteration of the species as there is with what we are within with the devotion to the “digital” – an oddly ubiquitous remediation of experienced matter-ridden-media into this ONE SORT OF ORGANIZATION/CODING.  A strange phenomena.  I think the nearest relative is “writing” and this is where Hansen (“Embodying Technesis”) and Hayles (“How We Think”) as well as Hodder & Ingold’s anthropological works help elicit perspective (& Kittler) on how ALL technological development (craft, architecture, invention, production) so foundationally EDIT us as a species… akin to geophysical change for all forms of biological life.  I suppose what I hope for is some small increase in awareness &/or experiment of capability for Human-kind to discern what amount of agency we may (or may not) have in relation to what we evolve and construct.  Is the system too vast – the biological motive too strong – to continue exploitation and networking (also increasingly representative of our fundamental relationality) – or are we a kind of thing that can affect larger systems in such a way that is transformative?  How small of a part are we, what are our limits of capability, do we have ANY genuine (actual) capacity to discern telos of larger systems… or not (trickles all the way down to personal behavior and ‘psychology’) – can we ever determine our AGENCY (collectively / personally / speci-ally)?  Or is it airy imagination and the activity of abstraction?

Sigh.  This is where I’m at…”