On a Personal Note

Prologue:  I do not know what I am about to write.


Saas-Fee, Switzerland.

In less than one week I will be in Saas-Fee, Switzerland in the midst of a thousand novel things.  I am going as a participant in the European Graduate School’s PhD in Philosophy, Art & Critical Thought program, studying with 15 or so others, guided by Simon Critchley, Giorgio Agamben, Christopher Fynsk, Boris Groys, and Luc Tuymans, et. al.

For weeks now, any spare moment has loomed like this:


working my way through the bulk of Agamben’s corpus, Heidegger, Hegel, Kojeve, Derrida, Brecht, Benjamin, Nietzsche, Deleuze & Guattari, Spinoza, and columns of secondary literature.  I do not know what to expect.  I expect small seminars of conversation and dialogue, led by persons tattooed on my arms – persons I “assume”? “understand”? are paid to think – employment I would SO love to land – to experience & think, inquire & think, research & think, & report.  Perhaps?  So we’ll gather for 6 to 9 hours a day (or more) – discuss principal thoughts/texts/events of human thought-about human thought-about human being-experience…and…?

Walk in the mountains – Nietzsche claimed his thoughts would only be possible up here.  Sleep.  Read.  Think.  I really don’t know.

It’s been the first time in my life (I can remember) in which the hours of reading I’ve poured into this have actually eventuated in headaches.  Distinguishing terminologies and concepts.  Following trails of thought.  Engaging them.  Responding to them.  Add to the above William James, A.N. Whitehead, Eugene Gendlin, Mikhail Bakhtin, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Steven Shaviro, Brian Massumi, Gilbert Simondon – my own favorite philosophical corpus – to construct conversations, critiques, and alternate points of view through.  To think-through-with.  And still with thousands of pages to go.


Here the classrooms and buildings.  Mountains and trees.  Novel, novel, novel.  The minds I’ll encounter.  Novel.  From all over the world, perspectives, perceptions, reflections, opinions, resources, references, practices, habits…novel.

And mostly (always?) I still simply want to write.

As my mindbody gestates and swells with new jargon and lingo, concepts and theories, voices and styles, there are many moments of cluster, confusion, conjoining and merger.  Thoughts disarrayed.  Set loose from their sources and synapted to knots and knobs of my own kernels of thought & experience.  A pregnant field.  A chaos.  I will need to walk.  Need to sleep.  i lose my bearings.

Language.   Other moments it feels everyone is considering the same things in different voices.  The same ‘truths’ in variant language-games.  The same purposes.  Not always.  But those hunting and haunting human experience – with that strange zeal and compulsion, near-desperation of finding-something-out, making-sensequesting meaningful presence…from diverse times and cultures, languages and histories, feelings and vocabularies…

I sense similarities, ties.  Tangles and diversions.

“the chief error in philosophy is overstatement”

-Alfred North Whitehead-


is what I have written at the beginning of my notebook for the journey.  What are you talking about & how? written just underneath.  Wittgenstein.  Whitehead.  Bakhtin.  James.  What we experience together alters everything we bring.  When we dialogue occasions occur, events happen.  When we encounter and meet.  Interaction.  Action and process take place, differentiated, by Other.  

From another pile: Knausgaard, Mary Ruefle, William Bronk, Wallace Stevens.  Ivan Vladislavic, Ben Marcus, David Foster Wallace, Joshua Cohen.  In my readings – Valery, Rilke, Holderlin.  Blanchot, Kafka, Beckett.

Voices.  Styles.  Experiences.  Occasions.

Interpretations.  Experiences.  Thoughts.  Language.

EGS crest

What I expect is that “something is doing.”  Activity is going-on.  We/I will be being-with and being-in.  There will be convergence, dissonance, emergence and change.

It will be a variant “me” coming “home.”


(live webcam of area)

To the mountains then.  To think.  To learn.  To live.  To be-with and be-in.

To become.

Reading/Writing: Complex Transactions

“Every reading act is an event, or a transaction involving a particular reader and a particular pattern of signs, a text, and occurring at a particular time in a particular context…the reader and the text are two aspects of a total dynamic situation”

Louise Rosenblatt

Rosenblatt - Making Meaning

Writing and Reading: A Transactional Theory

by Louise Rosenblatt

(click to read full article)

“Writing is always an event in time, occurring at a particular moment in the writer’s biography, in particular circumstances, under particular external as well as internal pressures…the writer is always transacting with a personal, social and cultural environment”

-Louise Rosenblatt

louise rosenblatt

Too Big to Know (Essential Readings in the Philosophy of LIS)

I’m currently reading Too Big To Know by David Weinberger and quite intrigued by his observations – Lane’s account is a cogent analysis of why.


Sense & Reference

If David Weinberger is to be believed, the Internet hasn’t just changed how we access information, it has altered the very meaning of ‘knowledge’. In a recent interview with The Atlantic, Weinberger claims that “for the coming generation, knowing looks less like capturing truths in books than engaging in never-settled networks of discussion and argument.” Supposedly, the networked, collaborative, and social nature of the Internet has changed our very understanding of knowledge to the point that knowledge is no longer tied to concepts of truth, objectivity, or certainty. Instead, as Weinberger argues in his recent book, Too Big to Know, “knowledge is a property of the network” (p. xiii). That is, the Internet has profoundly changed what it means to be a fact, to be true, or to be known. This book has been making the rounds among librarians, so I thought it might be a good idea…

View original post 1,765 more words


“What a joke it is to read or hear—as I have read or heard more times than I can count—that writers ‘see more clearly’ or ‘feel more deeply’ than non-writers. The truth of the matter is that writers hardly ‘see’ or ‘feel’ at all. The disparity between a writer’s works and the world per se is so great as to beggar comment. Writers who arrange their lives so as to ‘have experiences’ in order to reduce them to contemptible linguistic recordings of these experiences are beneath contempt.”

—Something Said, by Gilbert Sorrentino

Dalkey Archive

Via strange twists of events, connections that could only be re-constructed through fantastic imagination, I have been moved back into perusing publishers for work that inspires, raises and extends one’s ideas of what “art,” “literature,” “human” are.

While most publishers must infuse their catalogs with books that will sell, there are still a few presses that are simply committed to grandeur – to works that express and challenge what humans are capable of making, thinking, expressing, creating – works that assess and challenge our condition of being.

Two presses I’d like to promote – that continually provide works that surprise and engage (fully) and elastically foment my boundaries of concept and possibilities – with bewildering form and content – in other words, publishers from whom you might randomly purchase titles and ALWAYS be made richer, better, exponentially more humane – (THIS IS A REMARKABLE THING):


please visit them and order…ANYTHING…

your life will be BETTER.



Experience, anyway. sector 4








The following being part 4 of the growing mycelium that happens when I’m alone…

if interested, to-date is accreted here



Relatively speaking, it will all be over soon.  For some sooner than others, but soon all the same.


I’ve seen a lake filled with upright sticks and trees.


What’s written on the body dies with it.


There are reasons to stay alive.


A mysterious pressure arrives with “real.”


To think of recounting, embellishment.  A pressure to remain “true.”  Wherefrom do these come?  If I transcribe only facts as they are agreed to – collaborated – I do not accord with “real,” for imagination is always active and participant.  It would be like deleting affect.


And yet.  To consciously create a re-telling – devise a version – something’s different from experiencing’s bricolage.  The positing of author, I-collage, selection of pieces.  The pieces also selecting – opportunities for perception.

Only another experience.  Another form of framing.  A novel utility.


I write – construct a world – at times aiming for mimesis, but, as it happens, the interaction required between resources and agency = experience anyway.


Telling of my son is never writing him, it’s composing MY.  Which in no way obviates the Other off whom I riff.  Only keeps him discrete from my perception and activates subjectivities for us.  Unless I seek to define or contain – to account for him – ab-straction, object-ify.  Caesura of love: to falsify.


Whatever one takes as “real” exerts pressures of false.


Demands one set one’s course for “proof” as opposed to “truth” – a demonstration.


It’s experience, either way, and a variant sort – the staking-of-real or searching-for-proof sort – joining a demonstration – no less fabric of experiencing than any other, no less interactive or “real,” ever unique.


Categories falsify.  And enable.  No matter, still they matter.  I relate to them as things.  As limits and opportunities.  It equals changes.  Equaling experience, anyway.


To look toward wife and perceive.  To co-orient agreements.  Perchance to be/have experience to-gether (to gather).  Align what we share in kind.


“Real” being what we organize of reality, changing each moment’s notice (before-during-aft each the moment itself) – unlocatable present.  As I collage it (now past tense).


I listen to your story, constructed-on-the-run, as it were.  Me too.  Co-being.  I agree as I edit and reform.  Agreements forming knots, not points or solid nodes.  Tangles of perceptions, cast, re-cast, and still wet clay.  The surface never hardens.  When it “seems” there are still seams – a thoroughfare.


How we know that we’re alive, or better, “living” – curse the verbal nouns.  There are no steady states – but constructed patterns.  Sane inventions.  At times.  Experience, anyway, “experiencING” – seamingly changeless change.


The urge, in writing, to stay.  To thwart or channel flow.  Progression of narrative – a pressure.  Another experience:  the tension of process and now.


Why inscribing haunts us with false.  Telling or speaking too.  Even in song, something occurs.  The fluidity cripples and hardens.  We strive to trick it loose.  Account for dangling threads at every touch, but even the threads are intangible.  Change is a force of form.


I recall.  To vocalize back or again.  The loop a seductive model.  And I fragment.  The attempt to be impartially partial (or “real”) winds its way through every act.  Acts don’t start and finish, English-infernal-nouning.  To name is to kill it is said.  To stop up beING.  But it seams another example of change, going-on, the ever-activity experiencing.  Why fight back (wards)?


Recall: back words?  Assembling experience anew?  Only different (our noticing change) – i.e., experience, anyway.


To loop is false, such lovely model.





A probable linguistics

“In our day-to-day use of the English language we possess a perfect record of the language’s evolution; when we hear ourselves speak we listen to the voices of all those many millions who have come before us, who have, in their own use of the language, constructed ours, as we continue to construct it.

Whether or not we’re able to decipher this record is another matter altogether.”

-Evan Lavender-Smith-


New Publication – The Art of Salvage / Mining the Modern

An unexpected and happy surprise entered my day yesterday with the announcement of a terrific book highlighting a project I was lucky enough to be involved with – a group of artists utilizing materials being removed from an historical building in Wichita, KS during a renovation – and repurposing (creating them anew) into works of art!  I wrote an essay for this and now it is available in a wonderful edition you can peruse here:

The Art of Salvage

Art of Salvage


Making Trouble….er…Making Meaning (via Jay Lemke)

I personally attempt to read every writing I am able to obtain by my favorites.  Some of my blog entries may therefore be redundant, as redundancy is a way that I am able to sense patterns and make connections and thereby forge what I experience as meaning.  The following is one of the summary writings (nah, that’s not quite right – even with redundancies and retellings I rarely find a summary-type writing by my favorites – there’s always difference – and that is what snags me!)… Okay, for your interaction, pleasure, and engagement, without further ado…

Making Meaning, Making Trouble

by Jay Lemke (1995)

Friday Fictioneers – July 6, 2012


I labor steady, slowly, surely.  Block after block, hewn from my ruin.  This hapless task at hand.  Construct a habitation of words.  I use whatever I come by, wherever I happen to be.  With an eye for the concrete and a feeling for sky.  I’m a weedy terrain, dried up from AA and a searing of spurn.  No smoke, no rain.  I’ve been looking for signs or instructions:  there are none.  Or far too many.  So I set out simply to make.  A noun, a verb, an adjective; pasting with participles and pronouns.  Tedious, thankless, alone.  I build, it crumbles.  It cracks, I evolve.  Not much of a shelter, but it holds.  And remains, opening up to the night.

Thanks for Madison Woods et.al. and the continuous production of prompts for this weekly challenge and exercise: Friday Fictioneers