Free to Write

Wobbly

With the freedom and challenge of writing nothing, with nothing to write.

An assemblage without shape, a conditioned concoction…constrained by language, by individuality, by knowledge and finitude.  Dependent on what it is that “I” am, the funds of culture, genes, society and cells “I” am able to access and “person-al” (!?) abilities or capacities to operate, utilize, actuate, participate in/with.

Writing veritable nothing(s) seems easy, suddenly.  (When viewed from perspective of self-reference – envisioned this way it almost feels inevitable).

Perhaps I am incapable of writing SOMEthing, some THING.  Perhaps I am unable to create a fact-of-artifice, an object, an artifact.  Something-being-on.  Perhaps I can neither begin work, nor complete it…perhaps “I” is always the EXCLUDED MIDDLE.  The liminal divisor, the limit-of-being-this, the present/presence of this particular effort, happening, this action-in-its-taking-place…ALWAYS AFTER and ALWAYS BEFORE.  Event?  Never quite NOW, excepting AS the action, but EVER precipitate and EVER resulting.

I write.  Neither conclusively nor originary.  Verb-al.

Skirting this void (where there might have been nothing, no thing such as THIS – these letters) “I” scribble known (“shared?”) language…marks meaning…something…almost.  Meaning SOME things to SOME persons, never unambiguous, never decisive or clear, not quite agreed.  This is language, these letters, these symbols, these marks.  May be scrambled, assembled, undone, recombined – but still marks – recognizable to SOME, and processed through “me,” significance is what is in question.

Understandability, inter-pretation, com-munication, con-course (of the stream of inking letters onto a page to in-scribe knowable triggers…to refer, to signify, to re-mind, to com-pose, to make happen, avail-able, IN-BE-TWEEN: to split BE-ing as shared or con-joined).  To joinwith by posing, positing, offer-ing marks formed toward potentially recognizable inscriptions as con-constructed / – accepted words toward meaning.  Con-fusing.

Yes it involves effort.  Yes it depends on unlike-ness and emptiness or faith.  Yes it seems un-like-ly (NOT like-able, not able-to-be-liked) and yet I give it, construct (co-construct) and offer up (sacrifice) what “I” com-pose (set out for sight – with) “YOU” (other) in order.

In order to…?  for…?

Assembling identifiable language sets, verbal Lego blocks, so that…?

(an “I” might be posed? seen? heard? recognized? present-ed?)

Meaning, writing nothing – “having nothing to write, and lacking the means to write it, and the extreme compulsion to keep writing” (Beckett) and not to get in your way…

Perhaps this is near what I’ve done,

  • a waste
  • a con-fusion
  • a voiding an ab-sense
  • a disruption…

…getting it out of the way (my desire) perhaps I’ve writ nothing of note but a circling, a dawdling, an hesitation, dis-traction and trip-stumble-fall…

…a fragment and faltering, figment frustration.

Nothing of worth, of no value, sign-if-icance, just words.

Perhaps THIS is nothing of note.

What “I’ve” done with the freedom and challenge…the time, urge, and ability:

NOTHING

Mappa Mundi

mappemundi

The key question is not what a given sentence means but what it does, especially how it does whatever it does…to know is by definition to say that something is something else and be believed when one says it – Gunnar Olsson, Abysmal

Whatever we might say, we see in all that we say. – Sophocles

Only apparently is it a ‘presentation.’ – Martin Heidegger

It follows that in the world of humans any mark is better than no mark, for without categorization there is nothing at all, not even nothing at all. – Olsson, Abysmal

How small life is here / and how big nothingness.  – Robert Walser, Oppressive Light

Addenda of sorts

Gunnar Olsson

“…in the universe of the sign there are no clear-cut identities, only delayed differences.  Never a dead end, always an already-but-not-yet; never a genuine original, always an imperfect copy.  Language is a simulacrum of simulacra, the privileged hiding-place of the psychoanalyst’s repressed supplement.

“Pushed to its own limits, the difference between identity and difference is that in the world of the former everything sticks to itself, while in the heaven of the latter everything escapes from itself.  Comparison rests on a foundation of difference, for once a sign is interpreted it no longer is what it used to be.  And exactly therein lies the crux of the matter, for it is well established that the structure of language itself makes perfect translation impossible.  It follows that reality is never what it is said to be, for reality and language are never one and the same, a painful lesson

“The conclusion is straightforward: although word and object are always related, they are never identical.” – Gunnar Olsson, Abysmal

Signifying Writing – Figure 2

Sign-language

Figure 2

A relief in the unreality.  A kind of re-sign-ation and release…capitulation…to the impossible.

“how we find our way in the unknown by drawing on invisible maps of the invisible and by following…”

(Gunnar Olsson, Abysmal)

Sign-language.  Gesturing.  Ambivalent approximations.

At times unbearable.  At times a satisfaction of “all we have” and the effort of maximizing it.  At times re-solve (for x?).  At times a re-linguishing abandonment:  despair.

I study her, hair splitting and spreading, trailing inky-green over the vein-passages, delicately swollen, along the backs of her hands, superfluous and jewelry-like wrist-bones, concatenation and symphony of muscled, cartilage-limned lineations from thigh to knee-bend to calf, turning into sun-drenched marble of ankle, tendon, toes…painted, dusted, perfection…

The beauty will not hold to term.  Will never be contained.  It was impossible before it began.  Eventuated, erupted, but was not “meant” or realized for any capture.  It’s irreducible and indescribable, and I always already knew that – thus a torment, self-torture, a suicide term-inating – necessary failures I will elect to die trying: inconceivable, yet experienced; an incalculable worthless worth because unshared and uncommon.  Just perception, experience, singular…impossible.  Not factual.  Incommunicable.  HER.

To simply see (receive, perceive, conceive) – non-transferable, i.e. ‘unreal,’ unrepeatable, or ‘not the same’ as that.  Untranslatable.

Yes, it starts to map.  A conjecture of imaginary spaces, places, locations.  Lines drawn wobbly and around, surround, what mystery?  To dialogue and dream – hypothesize, surmise, polygraphy.  I.e. to fail.

Ends in its begins, becoming something ‘else,’ as self might with each other – between showing new unknowns.

Not sure its believed in any more: “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

It goes on.

A trace, congesture, autography.

Experience.

Abysmal

A philosophical problem has the form: “I don’t know my way about.”

– Ludwig Wittgenstein –

“The silent spaces between words often speak louder than the words themselves”

-Gunnar Olsson – 

Signifying Writing, Figure 1

Opicinus De Canistris World Map
Figure 1

Opicinus De Canistris World Map

*

The map began as a scribble, a doodle.  Begins as a failure to write, to “compose.”

In lieu of a word there’s a wiggle of pen wandering aimless in search.  Cartography-graphology-psychology – a loitering for logos.

Begins this way – in hope of words, a sort of squiggle.  A body desiring a mind.  To show up, to take over, provoke or convince – to appear, make a meaning, disclose – to figure toward sign.  Some unconcealing.

The signal’s not there, so it moves: the hand, the instrument, the breath and the heart – are they tools?  And for what?  A cartographer’s dream.  Of no training, no knowledge, even reason is lacking.

A pen making marks on a page, mapping none.  Tracing nonsense.  It begins in this way, and it leads, so he hopes (it hopes, is hope, is desire).

The scrawl travels over the page – given borders and boundaries, arbitrary and set – 6”x9” and lined with a soft viscous grey.  He (it) slows down.  Just a hand and an arm and a shoulder – in motion – holding a technical device filled with fluid – black, yes, like bile, but less tacky, diluted – it flows, threading lines – it’s con-fusion – yet taking, biting, inscribed.  Something happens.  Drawings are locked to a medium stock.  Incomprehensibles stained on a page.

It crawls on.

*

This mapping begins in a loss.  He is lost.  It is lost.  Doesn’t “know.”  Just beginning, because – with desire.  It is driven, compelled, WRITER WANTS (for to write) with “nothing to write, and no means to write it” yet constrained to keep writing, to expunge merely SOMEthing, some THING.  Which is NO thing, no THING, but to mark.  It goes on.

Makes a map, a map-ping, tangled series of lines meaning nothing, no THING, but creating TO-WARD.  Ward off absence, off void, ward off death, this is to – .

It (he) is tired.  Is forlorn.  Is an absence and loss, a re-mission, re-cursion, re-morse.  And not even that clear.

Scribbles on.  NOT a map.  NOT directions.  For NO where to go – NOW here, now HERE, no-where.  Which begins all the longing, for “he’s” heard it said, found it written – in signs, in-scribed, sign-i-fied: but NOT HERE.  Not in him or this body.  NOT THIS.  No sense.  Non-sense.  “It’s” not “working.”

Trail dwindles along cross the page.  It’s a map.  Just of being.  NOW here.  Now.  HERE.  Looks like this – some electrocardiomusculoskeletalpsycognilinguadigital-gram.  From this angle, this tool, these techniques.  As a Ouija.  No meaning.  Saussurating.  Arbitrary.  Mediate.  Only markings.

It falters.

And so it begins – as a failure to write – as a scribble – an assay – a tribute to write – that cannot, that will not, that does not…quite occur.

 

Let Me Get This Out of Your Way

Intriguing stumble-upon.  Clearing an old flash drive for my daughter I ran across this – texts from my first and only public reading – featuring art by George Ferrandi and Laura Barbuto, which occurred in an interactive reading space with many assistants and much assistance a couple years ago.  Seemed like it belonged in this space.

space_ferrandi

  1. Sitting at table amid a narrative hum. No one speaks.

“Getting it Out of the Way: A Response”

(texts by Nathan Filbert; art/images Laura Barbuto/George Ferrandi)

 

Alias Harlequin – Identities

Picasso_Harlequin sketch

“To recognize yourself in… To multiply your likenesses”

-Edmond Jabes

And what do you suppose it is to be a “Nathan Wayne Filbert” human?  To be named?  Alias Harlequin?

What do you suppose it might be like to be “Ida Sophia Lind Filbert”?  “Jada Lynette Smith”?  “Oliver Myshkin”?

“Hallie Noel Linnebur”?

“Tristan Rene Wells Filbert”?  “Simon H. Lilly”?  “Aidan Stafford”?  “Herman Melville”?  “Paul Feyerabend”?  “Rachel S. Como”?  “Paul O’Callahan”?  “Meghan Miller”?  “Jim H. Charles?”  “Warren Charles Farha”?  “Amanda Marie Lind”?  “Fernando Pessoa”?

A cow.  A particular cow – an Hereford – on a particular plot of land in Mitchell County, Kansas?

“Plato”?  “Kathy Downes”?  “Ortho Stice”?  A Welsh Corgi “Tippy”?  “Napoleon Bonaparte”?  “Charles S. Peirce”?  The clerk at the grocery store?  “Christopher Fynsk”?  That Forest Ranger?  A pet hamster “Jacques”?  “Claudius”? 

WHY SHOULD ANY ONE HUMAN BE ANY MORE INTERESTING THAN ANOTHER?

WHY SHOULD ANY ONE ORGANISM BE ANY MORE INTERESTING THAN ANOTHER?

What means: “EFFECT”?

“William Shakespeare”?  “Avital Ronell”?  “God”?  “John Wayne Gacy”?  “Helena Bonham Carter”?  “Microsoft”?  A caterpillar (be specific)?  “Mahatma Ghandi”?  A sparrow?  Molecules composing particular dust?

WHAT IS?

how are we able to ask that question?

WHAT ARE WE?

how might we be “WHOs”?

Starting local:

What might it be like – as a “Nathan Wayne Filbert” (Nobody) – to BE a “Nathan Wayne Filbert” (A body)?

I’m not sure HOW to answer that.

“Perhaps writing means overcoming all resemblances within the very heart

of resemblance, being finally like yourself, like nothing.”

  • Edmond Jabes –

i.e. How that can be answered.

– WHO or WHAT answers – ?

WHAT MIGHT IT BE LIKE…TO BE?

(qualified to ANSWER)

can ANYthing “answer”?

does “answering” imply “language”?

WHAT IS AN ANSWER?

(in relation to – ?)

What is(?) Nathan Wayne Filbert, Alias Harlequin?

IS “Nathan Wayne Filbert”?

WHAT IS?

WHAT IS IS?

(how?)

WHAT IS A QUESTION? And WHY/HOW can a question be asked?

WHAT IS IT – are our – ideas?  – To “IMAGINE”?

what are ideas?

What might it be to “conceive”?

“to generate concepts” (D&G)

framings of our world-experience

[WHY?  HOW?

WHAT FOR?]

WHAT is a “person”?  HOW?  WHY?  WHO?

Always and ever – HOW & WHY can we / do we ASK?

WHO QUESTIONS?

(WHAT)?

(HOW)?

Something begins

                                          (in/with all this)

                                                                                          it would seem

(it seems)

it seems that something begins in/with questioning

Alias Harlequin, i.e.

– the one whom this effects, the one on whom this has effect, the one (same? No!) affected by him or her, by whom and it.  By this.  This.  That.  By Other, others, and therefore, Alias again, patchworked and quilted, becoming, undoing, altering.  Alias.

“Presumably most writers have many more ideas than they are able to act on”

– Ivan Vladislovic, The Loss Library

Alias Harlequin – identities – is as is affected, effects, effected with/by.

Alias, i.e. as effected by “Hallie Noel Linnebur”; as effected (generated?  Co-composed-with-) “Pauline Margaret Kresin Filbert”; the St Bernard “Zorro”; a specific train on a particular journey at a particular time; that mountain in that moment; Dec. 16, 1997 – a flu; and so on…

Alias – as situated in moments – e.g. “each one.”  Harlequin – the human surname quilted with environment (micro-to-macro) in concourse.  “Alias” as the “name in shreds” – the fragmentary and provisional, pragmatically specifiable address.

Ambiguous and fluid (like “river” itself – capable of designation but inconsistently contained) transient yet locatable, in form…perhaps.  Yet no.  “Alias” perhaps the medium (in-between) of morphing form and varying substance – what nothing also is (is not).

Name/term/signal/sign (“Alias”) as related to HNL, Dr. K, Dostoevsky, rustled grass, these sounds, this space-time and its company (surround) and then again, these again (but never “again”) – designating “NOWs”.  Perhaps.  It depends.

What or Who, How “Alias Harlequin” ALWAYS depends on a totality of other dependencies, as it were (or is?)  “As such.”

Alias Harlequin, representative?  Not that can of worms.  AND the “thing” itself? (network of momentary dependencies-in-relation)?

What might we call (it/him/etc.) then?  And what would “calling” be/do – how?

WHO questions?

This Alias Harlequin.

“I am already so much the inscription of a divergence…What I was, if that could be described, was a whirlwind of tensions…”

Helene Cixous

“A word is binding and at the same time breaks our bonds.
To which of them shall I, one day, owe my freedom?”

“To one only.  Your name in shreds.”

-Edmond Jabes, Book of Resemblances

 

Boiling it down to words

Scope.  Amount.  Scale.  Weight.  Quantity.  Quality.

Levels.  Layers.  Planes.  Fields.

Discourses.

Genetic.  Neuronal.  Cellular.

Physio- Bio- Psycho- Logical.

Socio-cultural.  Political.  National.  Natural.  Regional.  Personal.  Familial.

Speci-al.

At what, which, and how many – ?

Aesthetic.  Philosophical.  Anthropological.

Spiritual.  Zoological.  Hermeneutical.  Fantastical.  Objective.  Subjective.

Ontological.  Object-oriented.  Linguistic.  Super-natural.  Semantic.

Accounting.  Assessing.  Observing.  Reflecting.

Positing.  Reporting.  Reviewing.  Corroborating.  Demonstrating.  Scrutinizing.

Questioning.  Replying.

to what depth, amount, extent?

Hypothesizing.  Evaluating.  Theorizing.  Validating.

Claiming.  Proving.  Imagining.  Dreaming.  Making.

Inventing.  Fabricating.  Evidencing.  Doing.

Acting.  Thinking.  Being.

Saying.  Becoming.  Asking.

Telling.  Meaning.

Subconsciously.  Unconsciously.  Consciously.  Aware.  Remembering.

Hoping.  Feeling.  Sensing.  Perceiving.  Behaving.  Conjuring. Constructing.

Deconstructing.  Surmising.  Testing.  Forgetting.  Trying.  Grieving.  Pretending.

Wanting.  Wishing.  Loving.  Listening.  Sounding.  Hating.  Dwindling.

Deciphering.

Archaeological.  Historical.  Sociological.  Epistemological.  Scientifically.  Religiously.  Experientially.  Romantically.  Poetically.  Mathematically.  Surreptitiously.

Doubting.  Displaying.  Marking.  Determining.  Undermining.  Mistaking.  Remarking.

Portraying.  Representing.  Creating.  Erasing.  Collaborating.  Emitting.  Evincing.

Eliminating.  Describing.  Exploring.  Inscribing.  Translating.  Transmitting.

Mending.  Lending.  Tending.

how many ways on how many levels?

at what scope, scale, quality, quantity

depth, breadth, value, radius, remainder

quotient, sum, absence, addition

Discipline.  Field.  Behavior.  Practice.  Activity.  Interaction.  Stillness.  Thoroughness.  Modes.

Searching.  Re-searching.  Troubling.  Uncovering.  Accessing.  De-accessioning.  Programming.  Deprogramming.

at what point, proof, progress, prospect, projection

is one’s EXPERIENCE VALIDATED

as GENUINE, AUTHENTIC, REAL?

Aware and acknowledged

Approved

and to whom?  how?  why?

the what?

Inexhaustibility Theorem

Incompleteness Theorem

Uncertainty Theorem

Chaos Theory

Complexity

unbound                              incalculable                        not demonstrable

Begin.