The Need for Help

“I am affected not just by this one other or a set of others, but by a world in which humans, institutions, and organic and inorganic processes all impress themselves upon this me who is, at the outset, susceptible in ways that are radically involuntary.  The condition of the possibility of my exploitation presupposes that I am a being in need of support, dependent, given over to an infrastructural world in order to act, requiring an emotional infrastructure to survive.  I am not only already in the hands of someone else before I start to work with my own hands, but I am also, as it were, in the ‘hands’ of institutions, discourses, environments, including technologies and life processes, handled by an organic and inorganic object field that exceeds the human”

  • – Judith Butler –

Howitis - Beckett


He cried, it cried, I cried.  But help, it will not come, for me.  And why should it?  Who could owe me assistance, and why?  And what would it benefit another? Even how might the crying become?  Often silent, unheard; a gesture or tone; a constant “I am unable to do this alone.”  There’s no reason.  No reason that someone might help me.

Help has come.  Many times, and that greatly.  Otherwise I would not be alive.  Irrational, inconceivable, as ‘last measure,’ – the cry’s been expressed, even shouted or posted: “I need help or we will not survive!”  And it’s come.  Never “I.”  The yelp always weighted with “we.”  In deep over my head as a man, as a father, a worker and thinker as well – always “help!?”  Needing contact or touch or attention.  Needing hearing or care or advice.  Needing teaching, protection, support.  Needing money or sitters or transport.  Needing food.  Needing shelter.  Such needs.

I need help.  “I.”

Whatever effects or affects, I believe that I do try to help.  To have food for my children, and beds.  To respond to emotional traumas, disturbs – to hear and attend and comply.  To love others embodied and minded.  Within (my) reason, I do what I can to assist, especially those gathered about me.  I experience my’self’ as RESPONSE-able – once engaged there’s a sense that I must.  Some say that we choose to do good – but I question.  Many insist we always have  choice, yet I seem unable to abandon or neglect, unless, perhaps, my “self” or theoretically.  I am prone to the “people are people” – shaped by time and engagements – to behave in the world as they are, and continue the way that they be (in small measure).  The issues of scale and of time.  We do what we can to survive.  Some prone to survival of others, some not.  Depends on the value of “self,” so it seems.  I help, which develops that value (I hope).  To think I might matter, be dependable/depended on, be important – to someone, somewhere, at some time. Survive.

And I notice myself ever howling for help.  Help!?   As I age, I distinguish the needs.  Need for contact and talk – to think and to feel; needing help with evolving demands.  “Man,” “parent,” “student,” “professional,” – all extensions of what I once was – just a “human.”  I can’t even survive being that, let alone all these complex designations.  Artificial “helps” like alcohol or nicotine, religious belief or “self-help” seem to do as much harm as relief.  As babies and aged we are weakened…our “primes” occasioned by a nexus of supports.  In our weakness, we comprehend need(s).

I need.  “Help!?”

Without knowing what it is or might look like.  I know that I’m drowning.  I age.  I know no one owes it, the benefits would have to be rationalized.  I fail.  I can’t go on.  I must go on.  I go on.


You must go on, that’s all I know. 

            They’re going to stop, I know that well:  I can feel it.  They’re going to abandon me. It will be the silence, for a moment (a good few moments). Or it will be mine? The lasting one, that didn’t last, that still lasts?  It will be I? 

            You must go on. 

            I can’t go on.          

            You must go on. 

            I’ll go on. You must say words, as long as there are any – until they find me, until they say me. (Strange pain, strange sin!) You must go on. Perhaps it’s done already. Perhaps they have said me already. Perhaps they have carried me to the threshold of my story, before the door that opens on my story. (That would surprise me, if it opens.) 

            It will be I? It will be the silence, where I am? I don’t know, I’ll never know: in the silence you don’t know. 

            You must go on.          

            I can’t go on. 

            I’ll go on.

–Samuel Beckett, The Unnameable


What a Story Looks Like to Me

The Trouble Is

He feels slow, tectonic, deeply submerged even, unable to act, not able to speak, disabled (apparently) to respond, incapable even of processing.  Something seems to have happened.

She – is confused and confounded – experiencing a complex cocktail of distress and depression, pointless and pointed-out, sludged, sloughed and slathered, comatose and doomed, sad and angry in equal measures.  A compound.  A compound problem.

But she’s not.  And he can.

And they will.

The trouble is.

Yes, the trouble is.

Not easily fitted.  Because it is this time.  Again, it is now.  And now, again.  The words were made from before, or for some last time, some other.  Something foreign.  Along with the categories, analysands and diagnoses.  Along with the remedies: all for a potential future or other distinctively past.

But it is now.  Yes, the trouble is.  Is now.

Words of others.  Ideas, aspects.

Always malappropriate and inadequate.  Words are not it.  Words are something else.

This is not discrete or verifiable.  Simple.  Is.  Trouble.

Yes, the trouble is.

And the trouble is now.

She collapses.  He freezes again.  And this frozen is yearning.  Something excruciating.  Like her.  Like where she is, now collapsing.  Collapsible.  Collapsed.  That’s the trouble.

The trouble is.

He wishes and fumbles, at light-year’s remove, another era, disabled, catatonic, all too aware.

She breaks in and through her fall.  He hitches and constricts.

She gurgles a sound, a horrible mutable sound, hardly audible in her destruction and dismantling, her infolding and coming undone.  And he cries, cries out, a sort of bellow and howl of noiseless emission, helpless to keep up with time, incapable of presenting, shaped and occurring like shore-stones and wheat-seed.

She is done.  He has yet to arrive.  He will not get there.  Too far ahead and far too behind, and she is in trouble, and the trouble is.

Yes, the trouble is.  It is now.

Something has happened.

Scrambling… Scattering Notes

note in a bottle

Scattered experience.  Over the past 90 days my life has been characterized by necessities.  Scrambling to find sustainable work, scrambling to keep up with coursework.  Scrambling to assist as best I can in the psychological health and stability of my family, children.  Scrambling to keep my head above water in grief, loss, confusion, self-care and healing.

In these currents – their exhaustion, their novelty, their large and compounded emotions of helplessness, anger, frustration, anguish and fear, their realms of bewilderment – my last ditch scramble has been to note, feel, soak and pay attention to as much as I can, filling notebooks full of journalings, lists, to-dos, scenarios, something like prayers or wishes, something like tomes of notes intended for bottles and no one / anyone.  My best last chance seemed to be to try to MAP things – maintain access to whole regions of variant experience, conflicts, desperations and strengths, plans and disappointments, resumes and rejections, therapy appointments and dependents-events, multiple employment schedules and deadlines, and so on…SCRAMBLING…but at least with some scattered semblance of shapes and places and events…

Locations on the Map of Meaning

Recently reading through Joshua Cohen’s Four New Messages, I encountered a story in which the story is being drafted simultaneous to the story being the story of the difficulty of its drafting, messages to mother or father about how stuck and stunted the process of managing multiple lives (or roles), composing fiction, processing life, and maintaining the presence of mind to embody created worlds and encountered

Cohen - Four New Messages

It is curious to me that the intention of “Opening the Hand” : (“All of this is to say that I plan a series of posts that will be intensely personal, self-revelant, my own way of reaching toward my experience, my being, and selecting language with which to mark it down – for re-memory, re-cognition, observation, reception, attention, account.  These are journal entries, frankly.  They are what I have to write.  I am calling them “Mapping the Meaning.”  Since I know very few of you personally, in your whole presence, I expect confession, inquiry, and its self-circular expression to genuinely interest or benefit very few of you.  For me, it is writing with an open hand“).  should end up resulting in the very scrambled scatter that, indeed, my current lived experience is.  Where I had hoped constructing, reflecting, composing and attending might result in some fabricating shape – some possibly effective mapping that might help me feel a “place” or “terrain” in which I am existing – provide a possible view of a larger whole.

Jumbled Language

It hasn’t worked out that way.  As I’ve delved into depths of my history, experience, perceptions as cracked open by the recent grief, loss and confusion; as I’ve purposed more presentness with my children and family and friends; as I’ve filled my days with job searches – statements of my identity, skills, education and worth; as I’ve learned new labor and institutions and expectations; as I’ve rewritten survivable budgets, forged opportunities to keep some semblance of self-care about what I want to be about (art, literature, learning, meaning); as I’ve sought to stay fit, attend to my body; as I’ve filled pockets of moments with music and writings that nurture or comfort me… things have NOT found any design… but are scrambled, scattered, disparate, paradoxical, bewildering.  For the notebooks of language I have emitted during these months… there is hardly a snippet that makes literary sense, is bloggable, expresses.  Thus the erratic entries, the confusing sentiments, the uncertainty and unknowing…

For now… here are the texts I’m hanging on…

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Hopefully something will form… for now, scattered blurbs and reports, survival and bewilderment… SCRAMBLING…

photo 2-001

Writing: Resonance and Quotation

Resonance: Reverberations: The Nature of Quotation


“Awake O sleeper!…”

(Ephesians 5)

“…life is but a dream”

(children’s rhyme)

“The Tao that can be spoken…”

(Tao te Ching)

“From the way I say your name I always know…”


“In the beginning was the Word…”

(John 1)

“To be or not to be”


“Try again.  Fail again.  Try again.  Fail better.”

(Sam Beckett)

“I went to the word to make it my gesture.  I went, and I am going”

(Edmond Jabes)

            Color stained into fabric woven into rug.  Of a piece, as they say, indistinguishable from the object itself.  So the words flow into us, saturate and stain us, are absorbed and resurface as we ourselves.  Like echoes in the cranium, or instinctual responses of the body.  Resonant reverberations.

“And so it was…” (A.A. Milne?)

“Once upon a time..”  “In the beginning…”

Countless appearances, an abyss of sources, the word lives on.

Who first used “love” or “light”?  “To be” or “not”?  “Hello,” “yes,” “a”?

Our life is quotation, interpretation, paraphrase.

We shelter in a common blanket.

We’re covered with a shared snow.

We drink of one great water.

Languages one to another, stained and woven rug.

N Filbert 2012

Needing Advice!?I

Greetings WordPressers….

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…

N Filbert