Sigur Ros’ relatively new “Valtari” album
hope your day is great!
Acknowledgement and Re-cognition
Lately there’s been a rash of occasions in which I’ve been requested to tell things about myself (my wife would immediately note the choice of nouns as descriptor and tack on “well, that’s one way to look at it” i.e. as irritant, possible disease, discomfort – a “rash”).
I’ve noticed that discomfort. Say I’m elated to have a poem accepted somewhere, or receive these lovely and encouraging blogging awards in WordPress, each joy arriving along with these little nettles: “please provide two paragraphs of biography,” or “tell us about yourself,” “list seven things about yourself your readers probably don’t know” and so on.
And I desire to tackle it all poetically, as fiction, an invention (which perhaps I think it actually is : “self-perspective” blah blah blah)…
Why are we writing or sharing recipes or art in the first place? What is that urge?
To express, perhaps – we feel aburst with something and want relief, to press it out…into where? why viewable? readable? hearable? physical? For whom?
For ourselves, we might say, some more objective, ab-stracted processing of what goes on in us as we struggle to live? Okay. But, again, why do we share it? Click the keys and hit “send” or “publish” or “post”? Why not leave it all on our desks, in our journals, our notebooks, as undeveloped film and private files?
Maybe we write to discover, to create, pass along information, simply verbalize…I agree. But also – why not just read? We’ll never compass it all, even without adding another jot or image. And if we’re paraphrasing experience as an exercise in knowing – echo – why share it? Why book? Why picture? Why avail?
My guess is that, whether I like it or not (about myself, about being a social human critter, about existing) we all of us make/use signs, marks and gestures in order to engage. In fact we must and we need to. To acknowledge and be acknowledged; to process and join the process; to have our being validated, even to ourselves, which still requires another.
I find that many of the blogs and their creators I have come so much to value are likewise reticent, withdrawn, coiled in a very unique, particular and special veil of language and machinery, cybernetic cyberspace…a safety of at least felt and imagined control over what re-presents us in our world, an edited voice, or bodiless pattern of thought. Where we feel some level of risk-management and damage-control.
My wife was recently bullied in a small claims court case. Last year one of my children was bullied on a walk home from school. In both cases, I was enraged. Almost uncontrollably vehement at what I perceived as injustice, depersonalization, predatory victimization, intimidation and abuse of power (etc.) I quickly activate into activist, I do things, strike back, strike out, and defend. As she talked me down through this recent event, my beloved spouse asked me what it might feel like to come to my own defense in that way? To be incensed at being ignored as a person, a voice, a being? To say “no, you don’t get to do that to me” as if I were just as valuable as her, as our children?
I could hardly imagine such a scenario. My instincts have defended me in fright or danger. I’ve escaped, avoided or saved myself in andrenalin-rushed bravado or terror, but never really exhibited courage for myself, or because of my personally estimated worth. Billions of graves, agnosticism, “life-happens-and-then-you-die” awareness along with saturations of accounts of wars and their rumors, poverty, destitution, abuse, genocide and all the etceteras have left me pretty humble around complaint, as if “first-world problems” didn’t count as “problems,” after all.
I haven’t figured all that out, but I’m willing to say that in whatever world, we all of us actually matter, and would do well to respect ourselves at least as much as we must all these others we care about, visit or “like,” protect or take the time to read.
I may never know any of you in a fully personal way, that is, embodied and face-to-face or voice-to-voice, but I am learning that whatever we do is personal, for the simple fact that we are persons doing whatever however whyever whenever we do.
So thank you – EVERYONE. Whether you’re disguised behind an invented gravatar, code-name or handle, some fictional aspect of yourselves – it doesn’t matter – I believe it’s originating with a person, that’s important to me, and so are you. Thank you each for whatever it is you provide to this vast and wriggling system of signs.
A “Person Award” to you all – as in recognition, not as bestowal.
The wonderful watercolorist and incidental learner graced me with le 7X7 Award
wherein which one says 7 things about oneself
and then passes the award along to 7 further bloggers
helping us (I’m assuming) to know one another a little more communitarian-ly
Thank you Incidentallearner
And here goes…enjoys terrifically spicy foods; and though i’ve ceased drinking – vodka was my favorite; 7 amazing children; supergreatestartistspouse; arms full of tattoos of favorite authors and writers; prefer rain and diffuse light; prefers chilliness and cold
Passing the award onward to:
Thanks for making such interesting things – tell us stuff – pass it on if you wish!
I’m back from my five minute, coffee-laden, brain-reprieve.
Thanks to Lotus Ohms for awarding me this badge/honor/advice?
It is an honor to be read, thought of, and chosen.
Award works like this:
Upon receipt of this award, you are to take a mental vacation for 5 minutes. (Gaze off into space, look out of the window, have yourself a wonderful daydream….)
When you have returned from you daydream, you are required to take another one tomorrow.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
Award this to 3 other people. You can only pass this award on to three (3) people.
And me own nominees for this self-loving reprieve include:
the Self Appointed Life Counselor at http://unwantedadvice.wordpress.com/
lots of thought and reading go into these blogs
(philosophizing can always use some aimless gazing for fuel)
some hefty poetry-writing happening there
You guys take five and refuel…dive in…do it again…dive in.
Thanks for working!
I don’t want to come off unappreciative or paranoid…but the past week or so I have had a marked increase in viewings from one location…like hundreds a day…and posts hit are ranging throughout everything I’ve posted…so either there’s a wonderful reality where someone is actually compelled by all I’ve written and want to work there way through its whole history…or…perhaps things are being copied? Should I be concerned? Should I just rejoice that someone’s finally reading it all? I’d love advice from some of you that have been here awhile and have a multitude of followers/readers?
Thanks so much…
for any of you also fascinated by photography as an art, or the pull of images from movies to family albums, travel brochures to advertisements, even how you ought to “look” or you images of yourself…traversing literally hundreds of studies of images and their pulls, powers, possibilities…these I reread again and again – to argue with, learn from, investigate myself and the world:
“Another Way of Telling” by John Berger & Jean Mohr
“The Photograph: A Strange, Confined Space” by Mary Price
“Camera Lucida” by Roland Barthes
“On Photography” by Susan Sontag
“What do pictures want: the lives and loves of images” by W.J.T. Mitchell
and for core mechanics:
“Looking at Photographs” and “The Photographer’s Eye” by John Szarkowski
“The Nature of Photographs” by Stephen Shore
Part the Ninth: At the Thresholds: Afraid
“the torture of meaning is the vain and interminable agreement between what there is, on the one hand,
and ordinary language, on the other”
“Fear is the original and basic feeling of man; from fear everything is explicable”
“Fear is the basic condition, and there are all kinds of reasons why we’re so afraid.
But the fact of the matter is, is that, is that the job we’re here to do is to learn how to live in a way that we’re not terrified all the time”
-David Foster Wallace-
“Only reality has frightening us as its goal”
“We produce imaginary causes because an explanation of a thing helps to alleviate the fear of it”
“Our culture likes to think of everything as true or false – this is a way it has of fending off enormous realms of experience that make us feel uneasy, and rightly so.
The unknown must be explained and explained until it is explained away and we don’t have to be afraid anymore.
We want to ‘understand’ everything…such is the hysterical strength of our commitment to statistics…
the unknown being the fertile medium in which we live…”
“Writing is an assault on the frontiers…”
“to be wrenched from anonymity…”
Of course it is entirely possible that it is not long-reflected and pondered hopelessness that halts us, not our sense of finitude nor our ennui in the face of things impossible. It is possible that it is not, after all, our angst and frustration at being unable to adequately match our experiences to our languaging, or to cover our borders and fill our betweens with equally accessible, mutually comprehensible signs and gestures, so to share,
but rather a deep and enormous fear of what/who/when/how might emerge there – in that nowhere-that-exists interstice between ourselves and ourselves, ourselves and our world, ourselves and the others that we line with signs and symbols.
That, of one thing, if one thing only (if) we are certain without a doubt…that is: that we are absolutely uncertain…that “within” and with-out we are totally, utterly immersed in unknowns.
Fear of prodding, at guessing, at moving, at assaying our limits (where we expand) – our embodiment, our entity, of realizing that all living is engagement fundamentally, with mystery, with uncertainty, with chaos, that hesitates us, that confines.
To sign these deepest limbic passions is to open them up to all that threatens and grows/strengthens us. To gesture, to sound, to question or proclaim, to posit – these each call the piranhas of difference, expose the inadequacies of our surmisings, offer matter to be broken, perceptions contradicted and undone.
Acting, as a human, is the risk of being. The medium our lives are fueled by and exist in is unknown to us. Those among us who risk, who in courage or desperation try the world and its objects, others and the self, immediately and fragile-ly expose themselves, in “weakness” to being wrong. And it is just so that any advance in our feeling of comfort or safety, predictability or workable hypotheses or theories of reality in living have come about: “every advance in science, such as quantum theory, involves a crisis of communication” (Stuart Chase).
Somewhere reality (a workable correlation between experience and theories about it) doesn’t jibe, and those willing to risk try something else, something new, something different.
For an individual human entity – the entirety of perceptual capacities is FRONTIER. Every moment tests something learned or thought, overheard or felt, everything is every instant in question, except for that very circumstance: limitation/ uncertainty.
“the operation of imagination in life is more significant than its operation in or in relation to works of art…the chief problems of any artist, as of anyone, are the problems of the normal and that he needs, in order to solve them, everything that the imagination has to give” (Ronald Sukenick).
So we sign, sign, gesture, move. Listen, speak, touch, look, taste and feel in order to find out…to be wrenched from the chaotic void and our anonymity…to learn our bodies and the world around us…and out pathways and passagings of the thresholds are (indeed can only and must needs be) “languagings” –
From breathing to behaviors, conceptual frameworks to cognizing feelings of hunger, we are porously engaged with everything within and surrounding us. “To learn how to live in a way that we’re not terrified all the time” by the reality of uncertainty, is to recognize the essential relatedness that is a fact (as far as we can surmise) of our existing and to break out and welcome in the “fertile medium” everything is.
Imagining causes, attempting descriptions, ill-seeing and ill-saying all help to “alleviate the fear of it” and are all of them miscommunications, opportunities, that is, to engage reality more fully. Explanation, it appears, will always be unprovable theory, but it is an assault on the frontiers and somehow it helps and can help us.
To experiment experiences of our medium(s) moves us, and moves us along, as a species, a personality, a participant, amidst grave setbacks (certainly),
Part Three: Up through Word(s)
Along with the simple, yet profound pleasure of making things.
To write out a word by hand, or to unscramble a term using a keyboard like collage, creates things. Objects. Each letter, each word, small buildings like a carpenter or a renderer’s lines, a chef alchemizing ingredients, a child with its Legos. Alphabet-blocks, rhythms, sounds, breath and tone, voice and line. There is a satisfaction for humans in labor accomplished, in tasks performed.
And if unnecessary or gratuitous – in other words, for some reason beyond survival – what a delight and surprise it can be!
To make and to break with the logic of identity. To reconcile opposites (or eliminate by erasing or copulating them): inner/outer, same/difference, thought/matter + time, self/world, beginning/end
So that in creating, the beginning is always already begun, and the making can go in any direction, without direction, directing
poeisis —- aporia
the self-questioning making
Labor as play, game with all the seriousness and imitation (family resemblance) of religion, signifying being…
self-generative and generative of self
and so on…
always “and so on…”
abyss or freedom
(movement both full to empty
emptying to filling)
-what writing might be like-
and then some…
the engagement itself
investigation experiment inquiry
“I am experimenting in the linguistic field
in the hope
that there exists in language an unknown vivacity
which it is a pleasure to awaken”
or the FORMING BLANK
“When someone says ‘I stand there looking’ [writing, playing, speaking, being], for there read forming, that is, ‘I stand forming looking’ [ditto]…for all there’s are forming –
flexible schemas-at-large, all exactly expanding as they are reduced”
And so we (forming) write (forming)
a (“without”) poros (“passage”)
difficulty + expediency
“It may be that to understand ourselves as fictions,
is to understand ourselves as fully as we can”
Happy Valentines Day
all that inspires, shocks and makes me purr
Zoe Ereni is a writer, performer and activist who would have been a style icon and comedian a century ago.
Dreams, thoughts, and experiences expressed through poetry and prose
Musings on poetry, language, perception, numbers, food, and anything else that slips through the cracks.
An archived blog about science & philosophy, by Massimo Pigliucci
research education, academic writing, public engagement, funding, other eccentricities.
Essays & Criticism of Contemporary Poetry and Literary Fiction
teacher, edu-nerd, learner