IN THE MIDST

Moments: The reality of accrual and depletion, growth and diminishment

chicken-or-the-egg-550x550

“It is of the essence of life that it does not begin here or end there, or connect a point of origin with a final destination, but rather that it keeps on going, finding a way through the myriad things that form, persist and break up in its currents.”

Tim Ingold – Being Alive: Essays on knowledge, movement and description

            In the reading journal I keep, I record what I read each day in entries numbered according to my years.  For instance, today is Day 364 of 43.  Each day counts UP the days I have lived, simultaneously counting DOWN the days I have left.

If our weight in the world is conspired via our capacity for object-making, “perception,” – how we collate and identify active collective of particles, lending them shape and color, space and duration – in effect: “organize them according to our own purposes and facilities” – co-creating manageable entities with which we might interact and navigate life “sensibly” (body-minded)

then the “lightness” of vitality/movement/being comes from the constant (relatively frenetic) buzz and action of the unseen particles composing and constituting the scales we are able to perceive and conceive.

Does this sound workable?  I trust that I am a hive of vibrating, exchanging, bounding, colliding and connecting atoms/molecules/whatever, and that to certain interlinked bundles of material interactivities this can appear, be sensed, perceived, interacted with, as an apparently distinct “organism/being/organization of activities” constructing (or being constructed/perceived AS) almost a form, a differance, an “object.”

And likewise, and vice-versa.

Particles, drilled down or zoomed out in their interactivities and motion form ever-varying “wholes” (temporarily composed perceptible forms or variable entities).  Thus poets and scientists, thus Ovid and religions, philosophers…HUMANS…METAPHOR.  Taking various realities for another and one another, or, ALWAYS – in relation to.

Crossing and dipping, perceiving/conceiving, we are able to invent scenarios and subjects, conduits and concretions, whereby we are also able to communicate, invent, share, cognize imaginative possibilities for our temporary coagulates (or “life-forms,” ever active and morphing).  The tinier particles simply continue their trajectories and behaviors while their collaborated forms appear to be “born” (or formulated, occurring) and die (or dissolve, dismember, separate to join in other alignments, reactions and compounds).

Thinking is a lucky pleasure of our particular combo-formulations, as love, emotion, felt embodiment, enmindedness, entanglements…

I am grateful for all of it: lovely purposeful accidents to sense, perceive, grow, change, become, decease, connect and disconnect…attach and release…combine and unravel.

IN THE MIDST of which…and this is where the trembling, shifting, unstable, particularly and elaborately conditioned partial perception “I” initially chose (in languaging) to begin…”in the midst of…”

but then I realized that MIDST might beggar a belief-explanation (theory) as to what I was beginning in the midst of…ALWAYS…this strange living process…and so I diverted through the above contingent caveat.

i.e. EVERYTHING DEPENDS.  On context, formulations, occasions, circumstances, surroundings, kind, type, species, conditions composing NOW.

There is some longevity to “sticking together” (successfully? Symbiotically? Interactively linked or bonded for some formal survivable persistence) but it’s all quite temporary (the place-time from which an opinion is held or conceived, promulgated…changes slightly with each moment, more in an hour, a day, each “year,” each…occurrence).

To say: all is active and contingent.  I.e. DEPENDS – on multitudes of very specific things, unseen tiny things, enormous systemic things, situations, arrangements being…”the case.”

A Hal Hartley film or a novel by Dostoevsky, the face of my child or the sound waves of song; the body and voice of my beloved…won’t have any “effect” “meaning” “sense” when my particles realign and this particular arrangement is “dead,” “decayed,” “reorganized.”

Activity is a curious thing.

Although we experience “age,” “knowledge,” “experience,” as a kind of “growth” or accretion, it isn’t very long at all in our formulating as a human before we become profoundly aware that our “growth” is an indicator of cessation, “progress” a sign of our undoing…dismantling, shifting, and changing.

This central comprehension of human systems – paradoxical tension, momentary accretion/diminishment – likely fuels much of the emotion, trauma, passion, energy, delight, grief, disturbances and elations of our particular species instinctual cognitively embodied behaviors.

Angst, joy, terror, hope – perhaps all of these reside in this mysterious yin-yang of coming together / coming apart AT ONCE and ALWAYS.  Each addition is a removal, each connection another breakage, each revelation a forgetting.  Each next accrues a last and never.

NOW – the pivot point of addition/subtraction – for human living.

I crave, delight, wonder, rejoice, and find my survival with each NEXT while grieving, losing, aching, suffering, and ceasing with each movement as well.

There is no choice in the matter (that I can see) – it happens.  Everything we do effects and disaffects inherently.

Rising indeed IS falling.  Growing IS diminishing.  Living truly IS dying, while our dying is yet living for something else…Reciprocal, ongoing, continuous realignments.  Any departure is a novel thing joined.

And thus, simply process, simply going-on.  Not “us” but it.  Not you, I, we, but the particles and universal systems, arrangements.

And we, in the midst.

Perhaps.  That’s how I’m thinking it today.

As I count up and down the days.

ouroboros

Lessons Learning in Metaphors

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HERE.  Abandoned places fall apart.  Decay to exposure.  We, bereft.  We, grieving.  In the absence of care… Upkeep.  Keeping up.  Often when significant change occurs, we do not bother “keeping up.”  Rather things, people, places, seem to hold on as long as possible to what is familial / familiar / to what seems known, as long as they can.  Perhaps this marks some difference between survival and thriving.  Maintenance versus development.  Preservation versus advance.  Enclosing versus opening.

But time.  Molecules move and shake around; synapses shift, come undone, frackle, rewire…adjust.  Adapt.  There are new conditions.  The movement of beings, of the world, continuously alters our context, alters ourselves.  When they left, or something seemed lost, other inhabitants, presences, qualities, realities fill the perceptive interoperable surround…some constraints are increased, some loosened, restraints, license, “competition”:  wind, rodents, weather, routine… The primary structuring relationships morph.  Continually.

Now wife.  Now wife and children.  Now certain finances.  Now no finances.  Now surety, stability, now uncertainty, hazard, CHANGE.  CHANGE (never not occurring) ALWAYS EQUALS OPPORTUNITY (for living things), ALWAYS EQUALS DIFFERENCE.

Now no wife.  Now children.  Now no job.  Now scrapping for sustenance.  Now certain friendships.  Now the absence of certain friends.

Now different care.

What will the winds do?  The rain, the sun, the heat, the ice?  Critters?  What new sounds will my structure make – interactions – given the changes in conditions, in surround?  WHAT ARE WE NOW?  The same.  Structurally – a form made for interaction, a part of the world, interlocked and interwoven, a bundle of functions and processes, intentions and conditions – exposed by happening in a world.

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“Things fall apart, the center cannot hold”

(Great!  How else…life?)

And how beautiful the potencies of change.  How messy.  How easy to attribute – “good” “bad” “difficult” “help” “harm” “ease”…

But is what’s happening to the homestead, the barn now – in lieu of human use and care – less easy?  Less beautiful?  Does not every context surrounding and composing a structure of forms – both help and harm of a sort?

Would it be false to say this erosion, this abandonment to other interests and types of care, this shifting of primary interactions, reciprocating attachments, looks like loss?  With all that light pouring through?  All the redolent air and wheezing whistling and rattle?  Has the new (ever-altering) context of comings-and-goings helped or harmed this structure…or, perhaps mostly…BOTH?  Just like the previous and every future one?

We.  I.  You.  Crafted ever-so-intricately in contexts we are unable to adequately identify (comprehensively) or evaluate – for they ARE the context that is co-creating (in-forming) our identifications and evaluations.  We interpret – according to the context we are enmeshed in/with.

CHANGE CONTEXT – CHANGE PERCEPTION, INTERPRETATION, IDENTIFICATIONS, EVALUATIONS…change even what we look for…

A breaking, a leaving, an abandonment, some loss…(simply, really, change) – do they not equal a kind of damage, a kind of harm, so full of openings, exposure, new perspectives granted the initializing structures that we truly DO NOT KNOW what living is for?  But this? – TO LIVE?!

The rent places let the outside in in novel ways, creating coevally novel openings for the inside to emerge.  The wear co-creates other structural stresses and reliefs, new releases and new enclosures, novel shapes and textures, colors perhaps we never knew were possible to begin with.  Never a potential until the context came that facilitates and allows, enacts and enables.

Always interacting, we change.  Always changing (along with our entire surround) defines INTER-ACTION.  Barn: Enter, Action.  Always.

NOW…this…

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Experiences confoundingly rendered with these sound contexts:

Empathy…Intersubjectivity…efforts…

empathy

Empathy: A Way, but not My Way

O.E.D. – Empathy / einfuhlung

  • “The power of projecting one’s personality into (and so fully comprehending) the object of contemplation”
  • “to feel oneself into it”
  • “the feeling-out of other minds”
  • “a form of imaginative identification of self with non-self, a feeling-into”

 

Feeling out, feeling into, projecting one’s experience in order to absorb the experience of another.  “In and out of one another’s bodies” (Maurice Bloch), “intersubjectivity” (Daniel Stern).

Notebooks full of conjuring, I’ve dreamt and striven to elucidate or embody, to caress and coerce language to convey or carry-like-a-message the interpersonal convergence, experiential agreement we might be signifying with the syntax and semantics of empathy.

There were moments, instants, it seemed evident, nearly obvious – as when a child ran itself across a brittle late-summer yard, lodging a prickled sticker in the pad of its heel, and hearing its friend following close behind, sensing its similar fate…a kind of “predictive apprehension” become co-mprehension as experience is multiplied, at least observably shared – at least sympathy – a feeling-with, if not –out; and –into.

Two humans losing their loved ones, or spouses enduring the same tragedy?

Experience-learning applied to replicated or duplicated occasions.  Similar, perhaps, sympathic.

But “fully comprehending” journeys beyond this.

Apparently, empathy happens when one extends emotion beyond the individual body and absorbs, joins, or feels-into another – a verge of meeting, movement,

beyond into between, meshing as a sunset goes about forming itself, or the creation of fog – something like con-gene-ial requirements.  Some of us, hell, all of us (and more) share genes, so this must be possible (we have a word for it after all!).

Our forms, our reach, must be flexible.  We share-with, finally, down to our atoms out through our environment, galaxy, and beyond.

EXTENDED – EMBODIED – EMBEDDED

-components of empathy-

 

…a coordination of coordinations of actions…

(Humberto Maturana / Francisco Varela)

 

            Perhaps empathy, a possibility of intersubjectivity, occurs when subjects extend awareness through a mutual orientation into a consensual domain…each feeling-out the other by feeling-into a shared sensual arena, learned by experience and therefore anticipated predictively…in rare occasions of empathy…simultaneously!?

In other words, based out of our shared genetic realities, generated by the kinds of experiences and “worlds” our species can have, we feel-out of our heartbreak, grief, joy, ecstasy, fear – emotive and sensual experiences – into con-sensual co-ordinated domains of those experiences occurring in some liminal, marginal space verging each; similarly to the way a coastline clearly separates and thoroughly connects sea and land, while both continue going on underneath one another.

Perhaps.  But I was not seeking to describe, explain, or indicate empathy in language, my desire was to enact it, evoke it…and in that I have failed…ever to try again.

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

 

Henry Magazine

Greetings all – thanks to the continuous hard work of Lisa Thatcher et. al., the experimental literary-aesthetic new magazine Henry is live!  I’m excited about this project, not only because Thatcher’s own work and interests are so astute and lively, but the principle of the thing and the open energy of the legacy of Henry Miller.  I invite you all to check it out (helps if you are able to read French), and you will also find a piece of creative writing by myself within.  Thanks Lisa & co., thanks Henry for verve and example, thanks writers and readers – it manifests!

a link to my piece on The Whole Hurly Burly

A strong mid-section

OCTOBER 2011

POSTMODERNISM AS LIBERTY VALANCE: NOTES ON AN EXECUTION

THE RITUAL KILLING OF POSTMODERN LITERATURE IS A THREE-MAN GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL (ALLEGORICALLY SPEAKING)

Finding a lot of resonances and curiosities in this collection that I’d like to recommend – a fruitful pattering of words to engage – I especially have liked the introduction (can’t find pdf of online) and then I thought the midsection of the essay linked above (click anywhere on the opening titles to read) was strong and productive.

In-Shadows

In-Shadows

“The Artist, he who even takes the shadows of things in hand…”

-Macedonio Fernandez-

“He who imagines will never know non-being.”

 

A morass of shadows.

A repletion of blips and flashings.

An absence : I understand.

 

I swipe my hand through the shadows.  I sense disturbance, but my palm returns empty, save the moisture of fog in dark woods.  If even.  There has been dust.

I stir the ashes.  I kindle the fire.  The brain a roadmap of chaos.  And intricately precise.  Subject to accident and lesion and a cross-pollination of impulses and energies beyond present calculations.  Not withstanding infinity, of course, which hardly makes sense, given the matter.

A squalor of shadows.

Currents of whispering air, of motion.

A ubiquity that trembles.

I open my mouth to the world.  I emit and inhale.  Shouting resonant within, because I have ears.  Equipped with particulars.  Apparatus.  Other cells stay quiet but do not cease, I lack the equipment to hear.  Stone, lizard, mushroom.  Light in its veils.  I cry out.  Echo =, tree hardly cares.  I’m remiss and listen myself for response.

Breathing the smoke.  I stink and I cough and I smell.  My hand passes through without ashes or mist.  I am not everywhere.  I do not know my ends.  If a melody came through like a sight or a sound, I would not name it.  I am emptying full.

 

As shadows thicken and disperse.

Objects as subjects and objects again.

Something live in the darkness.

 

That is darkness for me, not the night owl or mouse, salamander or bat, not the tree.  No, it is me, I, we, that conjure the “darkness” as difference from “light,” however similar, however same.  As if emitting symbols.  As if meaning to manufacture.  I construct a sign and call it poem, collaborate a you and a me.  We converse.  I begin.

If doubt incites a thought, thought conspires doubt to further action.  As if shadows were transparent.  And meaningless was choice.  Eye – mouth – hand : open to the world, the world opens.  I begin in signs and gestures, a collaborative entanglement, reentered.

 

In dispersion shadows reconvene.

Clearly thickened by old growth.

Body minding nets.

 

Would I make a “here” it would be “we.”  A desire for presents is relation.  What its plural ought to be (“presence”).  I unwrap unable to view the gift.  Tell me of it, will you?  “Inside” is lost in shadows.  What’s perceptible from “there”?  Tree, raven, sky.  Plastic object pulsed in heartbeat or emotion: what could I learn from “there”?

What isn’t simultaneous?  And how like the infinity we are constrained not to absorb?  Enclose me.  Lend me a form, a border, a threshold.  Entangle.  Experience may come.

“the silence of the page allows us to hear the writing”

-Octavio Paz-

 

Pre-qual(ia): A sort of introduction: What Language: &

            We happen in a substantial liquid.  A surround we effect.  Are affected by.  We move, it moves.  It moves, we are moved.  Moving it.  Being moved by.  Each, all.  What’s between.  Those spaces.  Empty and full, of course.

You know what I mean.  You breathe.  Hearing silently what is written.  You see.  Thinking the emptiness between, what fills.  Is filled by.  Is full.  Before it thinks empty.  Feels.

Liquid, permeable as skin, as mobile, as inseparable.  The thought, the body of that thinking.  Or, a “body of text.”  Such liquid air.  Insubstantiated emptiness without which we would not.

Happen in that liquid/not-liquid.  Like particles and waves.  Either-ors reduced to ands.  Themselves.  With which is struck a chord.  Male/female, yes/no, self/other, you/me, hot/cold: variations of permeable boundaries, without borders, like overlapping zones, difficult transparencies.

We grew out of, becoming, precedented, pro-perceptive/re-perceptive.  Remember.  Without parts, but designated.  You hear.  You see.  You taste.  You feel.  You, thinking emotion, feeling in brain, mind matterless matter…mem(e)brane(-ain).  Liquidy occur.  Movement.

The leaf.  Exhaust.  Intake.  A wave.  A particle.  Re-perception.  Mem(e)ory.  Or me.

You know the drill.  Acting.  Play.  A wobble, a quiver.  We tremble.  We hum.  We happen.  It’s a wonder.  Every it.  Unknown, unknowable knowledge experienced.  I-qualia.

Sense-making.  What is.  In essence nonsensical.  Incommunicable between.  Inescapable intersubjectivity.  Either parts public, private.  Neither/nor.  This boundary, porous.  And.  As conscious would not be a thing but a process, more definitively.  Noun/verb.  And.  Shared structures of DNA, destructured and oscillate.  Me/you.  Either and or.  Bubble pierced with raindrops.  A fashioning.  A possibility that.

Existence.  IS.  Co-existence.  AND.

I being either noun and verb or neither.

As liquid is not.

So a border a threshold, a line, a triangle.

AND.

“that silk is stitching our lungs”

-Christina Mengert-

“In order for my specific subjectivity to fill the general slot of the first person pronoun, that word must be ‘empty’:  ‘I’ is a word that can mean nothing in general, for the reference it mines can never be visualized in its consummated wholeness…it is a general token of absence that can be filled in any particular utterance.”

-Michael Holquist-