Little Offerings

This Autumn has found very little time for sustained reading and writing, resulting therefore in meager offerings here.  But I am finding jottings, thoughts, and notations in scattered journals that have somehow happened anyway.  Please accept these little offerings as efforts to remain in dialogue…

Journal Entry

Why do we (at least some percentage of us) take such pleasure (or at least seem to relish) in dark and heavy sorrow, like longing?  Grief, hopelessness – is it finitude and mortality that cause us to feel so at home in it?  Our drowning womb, begun from a watery coffin?

The sweet, rebellious, anarchy of loving, passion, writing, painting, music…sex – whatever it is we do that works our death deeper in us, through ecstatic bursts that we respond to like life.

We all ways dying…from that first launch…that initial spark of convergence – our long elimination.

Praise for the Name what Remains

By the light of the last thing decaying,

Erosion, they call it,

a painful dwindling away

.

Inception that won’t return

Sand, soil, snow, wind,

some sort of passage

.

One-Way.  Only.

Irreversible.

It is called.

.

Loss, we name it.

Lossness, lessness:

Simply change.

.

If time is an arrow

even in some infinite

loop and swerving traffic

.

I’m not.  Nor are we.

The finite and fragile

Affected in the midst

.

Continuously undone.

And never remade.

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The Last Wolf: or, “I showed you the darkness in the beginning”

I remember that I am falling

That I am the reason

And that my words are the garment of what I shall never be

Like the tucked sleeve of a one-armed boy

– W.S. Merwin, “When You Go Away”

Time keeps accumulating on my inability to write, to find time to write, to process living with language.  Simply to keep this space alive, I am posting a journal-like entry so as not to give up.

Recent weeks have been dominated by readings of Doug Rice, Laurie Sheck, Jon Fosse, Georges Bataille, Larry Levis, Maurice Blanchot, Samuel Beckett, Franco Berardi, Robert Bringhurst, Jeremy Fernando, Elfriede Jelinek and others…

What a traversal, passage, the past couple of months have been…

…like following the draw of the moon through dire straits

in dark, tumultuous seas…

…a feeling that everything is at its limit (Bataille, l’extreme) – EXPERIENCE.

  • pressured work projects, needs, deadlines, demands
  • endless and constant family logistics, accidents, needs
  • relentless parenting, relating, service to others
  • throngs of people and groups
  • lack of friends, lovers, supportive presences
  • fear, health, danger, exhaustion
  • failure
  • loss of partner
  • inexistence of calm or solitude
  • imposed travels
  • absence of sleep and rest
  • indulgence in desire and harm
  • minimal process
  • poor eating or nourishment
  • tension, strain
  • depression
  • lack (wellness) & excess (pressure)

…a teetering balance…

Mind you, this is how it feels in me, not how it is.

I miss everything that is/was good

…fail better…

There is a certain uncertain sorrow to things

(presence of melancholia, moon-draw)

Georges Bataille’s certainties:

  • WE ARE NOT EVERYTHING
  • WE WILL DIE

THE UNKNOWN                   THE UNSOLVABLE                       THE POSSIBLE

darkness                                              levity

Lynda Barry & the “Underground Skateboard” – how we draw from others work what we need to survive

Lemony Snicket & the autographing instruction that I should “read something else”

FAMILY

immersion (doom, closure)                                 held in levity

conscious moderation

– 1st Tarot reading –

(processual journey mythical)

Jacob recommends Homer – The Odyssey

doubling                                letting go – holding together                    The Devil/The Chariot

dark surfaces / surfaces of darkness (The Fool)

The Moon (dark journey) crossed by the Queen of Swords (wounding love)

THE UNKNOWN                       THE UNSOLVABLE                       THE POSSIBLE 

-Summer

Temperance

The King of Wands – leaders, pole vaulters, utilizing tension toward propulsion

leap over?  through?  on?

The Fool

Pas sage – not wisdom                                                      FRAUGHT JOURNEY

– Odyssey –

BATAILLE: “nothing is final…”

– “what is not there, which, once it is seen, often in literature, tells us what is” (Fosse)

Inner Experience

“the suffering of the disintoxicated” (Bataille)

The Human:

  • challenging everything (of putting everything into question) – Bataille
  • always a breakdown of systems that will not be restored – Sheck

“Experience reveals nothing and cannot found belief nor set out from it” – Bataille

“The hand moves forward, the tragedy begins” – Bataille

“no one grieves with you for what you are unable to say”

“life itself…always swerves away from my mouth”

– Elfriede Jelinek –

“how I’m owned by that which will not answer” – Sheck

“What you are will be spelled by whatever

lies trapped in your hand” – Robert Bringhurst

– emptiness is also empty –

“what is the part of us… feels…unnamed…

…i must live at some distance from convinced” – Sheck

 

“When I say you to what isn’t there – I mean me” (Larry Levis)

“you won’t find me in me” (Jelinek)

Experience eludes understanding ( Bataille)

– nor can I compute the possible (Sheck)

This too

is just one

more opinion

to move through

(Bringhurst)

FIRST AND FOREMOST YOU WRITE (Fosse)

“From an abandoned myth

(I write to you)” (D. Rice)

wanting them to mean nothing –

– and suggest everything (L Levis)

 

INTENTION:

  • hold open the imagination of possibility
  • “do not go gentle into that good night”
  • Moderation.  Extreme limit.
  • Contra-digitalia.  First and foremost write.
  • Be-Read

 

 

Writing Ontologically? – the shit thickens

“It is the slowness of the art of writing, in its mechanical execution, that for years now has at times repelled and discouraged me: the wasted time of a writer throwing words on the page.

Julien Gracq – Reading Writing

for Jean Lee @ Jean Lee’s World, with apologies

I really “mean” it when I say that I don’t know what I am writing, and that the REAL WHY is because I want to write, and am able, and that I honestly have no character, event, or idea in mind or body as I apply this mediatory marking instrument (ball-point-pen) between whatever-myself-is and this-blank-lined-paper.

I truly might be WASTING LIVING TIME.

OR…might be recording something useful…providing traces…leaving marks of process…like masturbation, cooking, politics, or work – HOW LIVING TIME IS “WASTED.”

Who knows?  The scientists?  Or neurobiologists?  The philosophers or anthropologists?  Historians?  Pastors?  Sociologists?  CEOs?  Artists?  Who determines (evaluates and judges) what is “waste” from what is “significant”/”important”?  Do humans?  Does Time?

For what it’s worth, I have an ellipsis of minutes I am not (apparently) needed by children, pets, work, or world…and so I have taken up a writing tool and am drawing letters in collectives called words onto an empty section of a blank lined notebook.

Is this valuable?  Don’t we wonder or ask this regarding every action and breath?  From holding a child, to exercise; fixing plumbing to sleeping?  Laundry.  School.  DOES THIS MATTER?!?  And, if it might, to WHOM or WHAT…why?

I cannot imagine to whom it might matter that I am stumbling out sentences with nothing in mind other than WRITING, TO-BE-WRITING – excepting my insignificant eperiencing of “self” that WANTS TO BE WRITING – in any case.  Therefore, I AM writing.

All those who seem to depend on me for their well-being, survival (or SENSE of same) also SEEM to be surviving and existing at relative comfort.  Those who purchase (shamefully) my “LIFE.TIME” via employment – have proffered the day off as a normative weekend practice.  For the time being, apparently NOTHING has immediate NEED of me, so I am left to determine what to do with “TIME.”

(my LIFE).

And because I overhear myself continuously complaining, desiring, wishing and bemoaning that I ‘never have time’ to write – I AM WRITING.  Because.

As far as I can tell, I am writing nothing (of worth) because, as much as I desire to write, I actually don’t know WHAT to write, or for WHOM, or WHAT – and so i am just WRITING because.  Serving no one, not even myself, yet perhaps.  Perhaps, because the WANT or URGE “to write” as a writer…is NOT to WRITE SOMETHING (as far as I can surmise – albeit I also regularly wish I were writing something ‘great’ or ‘evental,’ etc…) but truly is simply to be IN THE ACT OF…WRITING, which I AM, and therefore I cannot know what good any of it does beyond being what I wish I were doing…becoming ACTUAL.

Wishes come true: I AM WRITING.

To no point of purpose but the fulfillment of desire: I AM DOING WHAT I WANT TO BE DOING: I AM WRITING.  And it does feel good, and part of it (I think) feels good because I am unable to discover a path, direction, or ‘way’ for it to feel good FOR.

In conclusion: I AM WRITING

and this is: WHAT I WANTED TO BE.

Mission.  Accomplished.

(to/for whomever wherever whatever)

i.e. IN FACT – I AM WRITING.

To 2016

I am uncertain why I am sharing this, it comes from a personal email response to a friend, but as I was writing it, things that were coming up resonated profoundly in me.  Composition just does this for me.  I suppose I want it on public record for my own remembering.  That I learn things about me, that change is possible, that decay is transformative.  Okay then I am posting a personal reflection for myself – to declare it more widely in lieu of a personal social group.

chrysalis

“leaning upon nothing because nothing offers support”

-Maurice Blanchot-

The following is a response to a scholarly conversation regarding philosophy, science, cognition and so on…entirely out of place or sync, but seemed a personal confession on the passage of time and what it reveals…

Greetings —-.  It is good to hear from you.  I’ve been inundated per usual with family activities – good and tiring – and disorienting to my habits of reflection to some extent.  Feeling a bit bewildered re: semester start-up and the madness it brings, and yes, missing ANY considered interaction and dialogue.  I feel lucky to have encountered you.

Wee, random breaks and work-from-home days incite my nostalgia and bodily recall of creating creative work in language.  I ache for it.  Loss of its regularity is a depletion that changes me.  But then I read, “the process of transformation consists almost entirely of decay” from a book about butterflies.  And “we have not much language to appreciate this phase of decay, this withdrawal, this era of ending that must precede beginning” from a commentary on it by Rebecca Solnit, a fine book – A Field Guide to Getting Lost that I like to read while traveling.

I suppose as the library is closed and our work quiet and insect-like on research, curriculum, and admin reports back here…my sociality turns to the work of being open and refusing stress in interacting with my beautiful children.  Which clicks onward into the ever-insistent questioning I face regarding whether there are adult relationships that can be predominately nourishing or reciprocally intimate.  Do we offer one another boon?  Any of us?  Our interactions have consistently done so, and I am very thankful to you for that.  So much conversation wears on me with the subterfuge and maneuvering to get anywhere near meaningful discourse.  I suppose I am tired, and perhaps in a strain of melancholy.  The wishing I could sit back with a drink and listen to intelligent talk without necessity of defense or critical acumen.  Just enjoying that we can.  Imagine and inform one another as humans.  I want this to mean something for me.  To mean I go about things variantly, shy from exhaustion and welcoming to possibilities.  From where does this determination to endure come from?  To “make the most of” idle repartee, body language, archaeology of behaviorisms and attitudes, – supplying too much (or inordinately) in order to learn in situations.  I dream of the luxury of perception and interpretation without analysis.  Reception.  Or where analysis co-creates itself.  Mutuality.  Enjoyment versus labor.  Or an effortless labor to enjoy.  Ahem.  Off-track and losing…

All this, I suppose, to apologize for my lack of acumen in the dear and full emails you and —- have provided…and probably an explanation of my messages of links rather than thought.  Others’ works as hopefully substantial stand-ins for my intellectual lack or confusion.  I do not know where the path is at present.  Just spinning in a lot of literature and activity.  Confession.

Trying to view decay in a hopeful manner.  The slow tears in relationality that introduce distances.  From friends, to partners, to ‘self’ – the flux of it all.  Many seem to have a greater capacity than I for working thematically regardless of internal/external context.  More flexible beings, I suppose, less bound by circumstance and scenario.  Ah well, this is no relevant response to your missals.  Apologies.  They enliven me – simply that thought and invention are going on around me – so please share them all as they arise – it is a great matter of hope for me to watch thought and process in others.  A stay against loneliness.  Thank you.  As I age along, some confusions do seem to dissipate…particularly confusions of my own blindnesses.  What nourishes me: intimacy (emotional, intellectual and physical), the thought and imaginative work of others, people striving to process experience on multiple levels, quiet & rest & reflection.  The commerce of ideas and bodies – entangled minds and bodies – passion and gentleness and reflection.  When these dissipate or decay or are absent in some strange idiosyncratic equilibrium, life is just harder for me to insist on.  And how terribly crucial the activity of writing is for me in my own ability to process my experiencing.  A weird alchemical embodied activity for me that seems to bring forth learning, feeling, imagination and all those characteristics I would like to take root in myself, to be me.  I am better when I write.  Better when I love.  Better when I rest.  Better with meaningful dialogue.  All sounds simple and general, but revealed ever more insistently to me as my epidermis thins.

Another turn of the wheel, bellows to the desire to thrive before the end.

To 2016 then.  And hope.

Something better soon.Kockelman_Figure 9, BSTCSG

The Living Dead: a Reflection

“Dad, are you living or dead..ing?” son asks at dinner (aged 9).

Characteristic pause…”Well, both,” I reply.

sad skeleton

How could it be otherwise?  I’ve stayed the course, exercised my body, prepared a meal, feeling fine, alone, aware…and comes the call:  “Living or dead..ing?”  Parental response – stop.  [Why is he asking?  What is he thinking?  How is he feeling?  Bodily signs?   Follow the language – “living or dead…dead..ing…dying.”  What is called for here?]  He thinks the living dead a lot,  so I respond directly:  “Well, both, and how could it be otherwise?  I couldn’t very well be dying if I wasn’t alive, no?  And the process of dying is constructed of living, yes?  So it’s all in one moment I s’pose.”

We move on.

But I don’t.  Not so much.  It’s a good question.

It reminds me why I’m a philosopher, a poet.  Why we tend toward the same, differently.  We watch for the shared, the communal in our experience, anywhere.  We work the same queries.  In a living ruled by science, by probabilities and hypothetical cause, by vague notions of what-might-happen-next given conditions and dynamically complex systems…philosophers, poets and artists tend to seek out what’s certain – what is nevertheless the case: we feel, we think, we live, we die, a world is there – the details change with the order of the day.  Or night.  The language or discipline.  The methods or culture, practice or beliefs.  Depending on the questions.  Who’s asking and how.

We happen – become – and unhappen.

Because my dad, almost 80, evinces this.  Because I’ll be half-90 in 48 hours.  What I asked for is called Cosmic Pessimism, which says something.  I happen…vary…and stop happening that way.  How that occurs, what and who and when and why change nearly as quickly as we do.  Should I say, what we think or believe occurs?  Rationalization of experience.

Reminds me of this, of the action of writing.

I still can’t do it “live.”  Can’t inscribe it as a “post” or a “tweet” or a “message.”  I’ve got to get some static.  IN-scribe is a physical act of scratching, digging, carving in clay.  ON-scribing is more what we do – laying down ink, pounding down letters, playing with light.  Writing with materials like paper and ink relatively makes something stay put for awhile.  So we can revise.  Perhaps that’s all Rilke meant – give yourself the opportunity to edit, erase, respond to your action before you present it.  Is revision revivification?  Stay something, pause.  Apply yourself to your living and choose an occurrence.  Does this wrinkle the union of living and dying?

At work I’m struggling with teaching the methods of multi-disciplinary research.  How to template a strategy of awareness to potentially everything?  We’re living and dying and attempting to know, understand, RATIONALIZE something about that.  Literally ANYthing applies, or may nourish, correct, influence or direct that essential inquiry (and DOES!).  How does one know where to look?  How does one know how to live it?  How does one know what one needs?  To synthesize rationalizations from multiple fields and methods and practices.  To compare all the answers or theories or thoughts?  To differentiate results and observations coming from various humans and schools and materials and tools and contexts and set-ups and the myriad messiness of living/dying organisms in relations beyond our control?

“You must revise your life” (Rainer Maria Rilke).

Revising your dying.  Is it possible to live moments in such a way that they outstrip the correlative dying?  To live more than die?  Once in awhile?  I think we have experiences, moments, in which we feel more alive than in others.  “Are you living or dead…ing” he asks.  Well, waking into a maze to traverse every day – cleaning and feeding and playing the roles (father, lover, employee, friend, son, writer, scholar, blogger, house-owner, house-keeper, cook, playmate, librarian, instructor, male, man, person, reader, and so on), shopping and feeding and listening and nourishing and working and running to tire – feels a bit more like “dead…ing.”  But there are moments!  Times.  “Events,” we call them (I guess).  Twistings and turnings and something like gathered occurrences, Being + Well-Being, Whitehead might say.  A more spectacular death I suppose.  Perhaps elevated experiences of living just heighten the jouissance of death?

I don’t know.

We happen – become/unbecome – and unhappen.

The marks left from that – our inscriptions, palimpsests and paths.  Veined.  Seared-in.  Scored.  In some cases, welded – some cases cancelled, erased, blotted out.  Living-dead…ing.  Vice versa?

To edit, revise, pause – is it possible?  What did he mean?  What might it mean?    Curving back doesn’t alter the time.  Going over is still going forth.  We wend and wind and whirl and reveal we are living and dying.

Oracles

The Delphic Oracle that has guided philosophy – “Know thyself” – in Nietzsche (in my “reading”, opinion) realizes itself as “Trust thyself”: mine, articulate your experience: or (from Heidegger, et. al.) “start nearest”: perhaps even better – Notice the Nearest.

Tendency = looking past.  Going “large”, going “small”, searching causalities, progress, development, Time.  Being.

But no.  Always already “being.”  Always already a “that there” EXPERIENCING.  Once there, one might re-cognize (A-tension, attention).  (A new “there”).  And consider possibilities.  Partially, or collaboratively, present-ly, select some more-than (…), NEXT THAT-THERE.  (see Eugene Gendlin).

That’s something.  Could be labeled “awareness”?  Don’t know.  But something, certainly (? – is this possible?) EXPERIENCE: which perhaps synonyms to some potential degree – HUMAN BEING.

“We” don’t need Dasein.  In very many ways any word will do.  Nearest, native.  “I”, “me”, “Nathan”, “Rachel”, “Mark”, “Luanna”, perhaps beneath (before) that: no substrate: : That-there (I/you-Here) EQUALS.  Nearest.  Now.  Native.  (An archaeology of the generalized “we” – it’s ok).

Simply following thoughts, attempting attention, another “more-than” (…) BEING THAT-THERE (WHOM? – within).

Simple thoughts.  Drawing (?) near.  We (?) are such “beings” as might attempt/assent “to be.”  Strange, that-there.

(notes, 08.10.15)

other jottings spilled from the fuel-can:

“Dasein has its being to be, and has it as its own” –Heidegger

[The Unknowable Alive]

for each “kind”? of being (perception) I wonder if it is not “turtles all the way down” and so, perhaps, eventually, we just “be”?

(Paul Bains)

“THE QUESTION OF EXISTENCE NEVER GETS STRAIGHTENED OUT EXCEPT THROUGH EXISTING ITSELF” – Heidegger

Inquiry into existing: “How can we ask about asking?” in any meaningful way?  Access (Eugene Gendlin)

There is nothing that we “do” that is not what we “do.”  We cannot get around a corner and become something else/other.  Therefore we must content ourselves (or, it behooves us to) with being.  Ourselves.  Being.

Creeping through it.  trying (?) merely (fully?) to BE.  BE IN WITH AS WHAT – does he address how we have the capacity to imagine otherwise? (than being?) (Heidegger)

-Why do I consistently feel that I need/ought to SPARE others from my own “existing”?  that I might make my way somewhere somehow that would not tax them?

To read “such a quiet thing as thinking”: A we

The rigor of this program (for me) puts me in 9-10 hours of seminar/symposium per day, 7 days / week, and therefore very little time to process, do self-selected-readings, even journal.  At the same time, the strange reality that introduces – of an intensity and exhaustion I truly have never encountered (save perhaps in parenting and certain periods of intimate relation) – presses (prods?) me to adapt, alter, re-think.  So, in order to survive, when moments arise for me to work with a pen and blank pages, I am going to post them as a record, as much for myself forward, as for a witnessing from any of you.  As you can see, a certain blitzing of the brain/body incurs that confuses or disorients.  So this will be a kind of journal / personal notation space for myself (needing witnessed) until time passes and (I hope!) the plenitude of this experience seeps in, along.

Today I found an hour to scribble, and here is how it goes.  Drained, depleted, dissolute-feeling, I translated the first week into an expression around a too-much that exhausts, an overwhelm that empties.

To read such a quiet thing

(click title to view)

Uncannily (as many happenings this first week) – the evening’s lecture concluded with a translating of Maurice Blanchot – to the effect of: “we will maintain plenitude in (or unto) the nothing.”

Boiling it down to words

Scope.  Amount.  Scale.  Weight.  Quantity.  Quality.

Levels.  Layers.  Planes.  Fields.

Discourses.

Genetic.  Neuronal.  Cellular.

Physio- Bio- Psycho- Logical.

Socio-cultural.  Political.  National.  Natural.  Regional.  Personal.  Familial.

Speci-al.

At what, which, and how many – ?

Aesthetic.  Philosophical.  Anthropological.

Spiritual.  Zoological.  Hermeneutical.  Fantastical.  Objective.  Subjective.

Ontological.  Object-oriented.  Linguistic.  Super-natural.  Semantic.

Accounting.  Assessing.  Observing.  Reflecting.

Positing.  Reporting.  Reviewing.  Corroborating.  Demonstrating.  Scrutinizing.

Questioning.  Replying.

to what depth, amount, extent?

Hypothesizing.  Evaluating.  Theorizing.  Validating.

Claiming.  Proving.  Imagining.  Dreaming.  Making.

Inventing.  Fabricating.  Evidencing.  Doing.

Acting.  Thinking.  Being.

Saying.  Becoming.  Asking.

Telling.  Meaning.

Subconsciously.  Unconsciously.  Consciously.  Aware.  Remembering.

Hoping.  Feeling.  Sensing.  Perceiving.  Behaving.  Conjuring. Constructing.

Deconstructing.  Surmising.  Testing.  Forgetting.  Trying.  Grieving.  Pretending.

Wanting.  Wishing.  Loving.  Listening.  Sounding.  Hating.  Dwindling.

Deciphering.

Archaeological.  Historical.  Sociological.  Epistemological.  Scientifically.  Religiously.  Experientially.  Romantically.  Poetically.  Mathematically.  Surreptitiously.

Doubting.  Displaying.  Marking.  Determining.  Undermining.  Mistaking.  Remarking.

Portraying.  Representing.  Creating.  Erasing.  Collaborating.  Emitting.  Evincing.

Eliminating.  Describing.  Exploring.  Inscribing.  Translating.  Transmitting.

Mending.  Lending.  Tending.

how many ways on how many levels?

at what scope, scale, quality, quantity

depth, breadth, value, radius, remainder

quotient, sum, absence, addition

Discipline.  Field.  Behavior.  Practice.  Activity.  Interaction.  Stillness.  Thoroughness.  Modes.

Searching.  Re-searching.  Troubling.  Uncovering.  Accessing.  De-accessioning.  Programming.  Deprogramming.

at what point, proof, progress, prospect, projection

is one’s EXPERIENCE VALIDATED

as GENUINE, AUTHENTIC, REAL?

Aware and acknowledged

Approved

and to whom?  how?  why?

the what?

Inexhaustibility Theorem

Incompleteness Theorem

Uncertainty Theorem

Chaos Theory

Complexity

unbound                              incalculable                        not demonstrable

Begin.

The Supposed

“God-shaped hole”?

Supermassive_black_hole

the sensation that no matter how well or how much I am loved

I can not believe I am lovable simply because I exist…

and how it seems that if I could (simply believe I was lovable),

so many difficulties might be solved, resolved, dissolved…

how many things entangled in this vacuum…

entanglement

in the mirror I note the shirt I am wearing

Bartleby Shirt

is it as simple as that?

Grrrrrrrrrrr