Credo

I’m afraid to write.  It’s so dangerous.  Anyone who’s tried, knows.  The danger of stirring up hidden things – and the world is not on the surface, it’s hidden in its roots submerged in the depths of the sea.  In order to write I must place myself in the void.  In this void is where I exist intuitively.  But it’s a terribly dangerous void: it’s where I wring out blood.  I’m a writer who fears the snares of words: the words I say hide others – which?  maybe I’ll say them.  Writing is a stone cast down a deep well.

Do I write or not?…A light and gentle meditation on the nothing…

Does “writing” exist in and of itself?  No. It is merely the reflection of a thing that questions.  I work with the unexpected.  I write the way I do without knowing how and why – it’s the fate of my voice.  The timbre of my voice is me.  Writing is a query.  It’s this: ?

I write for nothing and for no one…I don’t make literature: I simply live in the passing of time.  The act of writing is the inevitable result of my being alive…

I feel as though I’m still not writing…My problem is the fear of going mad.  I have to control myself…And so I’ll leave a page blank or the rest of the book – I’ll come back when I can.

Clarice Lispector, Breath of Life 

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The Loving(?) [dis]Organization of Fire

for lispector

“and it came, with its long passageways without end”

-Clarice Lispector, Soulstorm

and then again, the words, the words they came, presently, fluently, astonishingly as miracles, your body, the languid haunches – temptations, always – your breasts – these letters, formed in the hands…you, you, you, all of you, and I want/ed, I want, I am wanting to grapple, devour and subsume, consume (no, never!) you, but utterly – to the end – to everything – a swallow and fire and drowning and drought – to eviscerate, desiccate, absorb – to thorough you. I want to thorough.  I want to you, thoroughly.  Yes, that is what.  That is the who what am I?  The always when and every how – I want you thoroughly, but not you as realized by or digested in or taken or given or experienced thoroughly (without remainder) but rather

What I am saying (without remainder) What I mean is, what I am saying, shouting, quite silently shrieving, shrieking, screeing, WHAT I CRAVE REVEALING ENTIRELY BY RAVAGING TO END…

I WANT TO YOU.

And I want you to want to me, as mad, as madly, as terribly and

I am ravenous now, each instant and you for starving for me (I’d like that – have me)

but yes and I am having taking giving receiving AND YOU.

I do not understand.

It maddens, controls,

frees.

And this is what I mean.

In hopes that I was born for this…

for Hallie

(The First Good Novel)

Meaning

In any breaks in necessity – between semesters, breaks at work, children otherwise occupied, no “required” readings or commissioned work, etc… – with each passing season, I gradually discover what matters most to me (literarily speaking, which, for me, involves much of my lived life) – perhaps I might refer to it as my meaning-making-factory-resources (Blanchot says of Borges that he is “an essentially literary man – which means that he is always ready to understand according to the manner of comprehension that literature authorizes).”  At this point in my living, over four decades along, and a large percentage of the pie devoted to reading, those voices I turn to, their messages and efforts, have become quite consistent.  Each year there are new ones, new threads and concepts, theories and expressions that very significantly impact my living – but they tend to find their place as commentaries, extensions, additives and queries to what (I suppose) now forms my central “canon” of sorts.

This struck me, following my return to Bakhtin and Blanchot, and as we prepare for vacation how I immediately reached for Soulstorms by Clarice Lispector and The Museum of Eterna’s Novel (The First Good Novel) by Macedonio Fernandez.  In searching for this image of Fernandez:

Macedonioa host of Google’s “related images” arose – including Borges, Lispector, David Foster Wallace – and I got that vision of how pantheons develop and connect and gradually form a kind of woven semiotic pattern – a “worldview” or “Innenwelt” I guess – it begins to make sense what’s connected to what and whom to whom throughout time and space of world-being.  Beckett, Blanchot, Dostoevsky, Pessoa, Rilke, Cixous, Kafka, Bakhtin, Jabes, these visions and verbals I return to again and again and again and again – inexhaustibly – and although my copies are nearly glutted with markings and underlinings – and they feel intimate and familiar (on the one hand) – that I also feel I am always learning them anew, freshly, with EVERY read.

These things astound me.

Museum of Eterna's Novel

Of this particular book (which I often say is the very best novel I have ever read, repeatedly), Adam Thirlwell writes “It is a novel which does not want to begin.  Or, perhaps, it is really a novel which does not want to end…The aim of Macedonio Fernandez’s novels is to convert all reality into fiction (or the other way around).”  “The real subjects of this lightly playful novel are the grave ones of death and love.”

“In his novel, Fernandez tests the possibility that all philosophical questions are only meaningful in relation to human relations: that all questions of infinity are really questions about love.”

and so on.

Macedonio 2

Macedonio is, for me, a hero the likes of Bakhtin, Blanchot, Beckett – those writings and writers I will never “get over,” never “get around.”  Writings I can only ever “go through.”

Perhaps these writings are characterized by the question – “What is it to be real?”  I recently discovered in one of those “shock of recognition” moments that although I’ve studied theology, philosophy, classical music, art and literature and now information sciences and systems theories – that none of the CONTENTS of these fields sustain my passions – it is the relationships between them – the ligaments and synchronous reverberations they emit – the MEANING-making effects of their pursuit and inquiry that is REALLY what drives me toward, into and through them.  I’m not looking for truth or necessarily facts or any answers – but for PROCESSES and PRACTICES that enrich, enhance and extend my biological life in relation to the world I’m “thrown into.”

Borges wrote of Fernandez: “Macedonio is metaphysics, he is literature” and that “writing was no trouble for Macedonio Fernandez. He lived (more than any other person I have ever known) to think.  Every day he abandoned himself to the vicissitudes and surprises of thoughts as a swimmer is borne along by the current of a great river.”  The novel’s translator writes: “The method is madcap; the intent is desperately human.”

Perhaps that is what I’m after – to be “desperately human.”

and now we’re heading off to the wilds – to be desperately human with-world with-family – replete with above-mentioned authors and without wi-fi or internet services!

P.S. (also from current reading – The Waste Books by Georg Christoph Lichtenberg):

“Be attentive, feel nothing in vain, measure and compare:  this is the whole law of philosophy.”

and

“To grow wiser means to learn to know better and better the faults to which this instrument with which we feel and judge can be subject.”

All the best!