Provisionally: A Something-Writing
-What I Have in Me to Write Now-
I am Melville, I am Aristotle Dostoevsky. Address me as Plato, Poinsot, Peirce. Franz Ferdinand Pessoa. I don’t care.
Call me Person. Anyone madly bearded and wielding a pen.
The one writing, saying, speaking. The gesturer. Being-doing-becoming. The Nothing-sans-audition. The Singer-without-ears. Seer-without-vision. Images – begone!
Call me Person. Listen! – it becomes.
Wrapped in filthy sweet meconium and lies, lays, swaddling undone. Wrapt, swaddled, held: Become.
It begins. A sighing and a sound. A saying and a listener. Bronk, Bakhtin, Blanchot. Call it what you will. Call me Person-with-a-Pen. Number me “Frail Parcel.”
I utter, you reply. I gains an “I.”
She responds and “I” becomes a “He.”
Call me Shakespeare, call me Tolstoy, call me Sterne. I yelp a Joycean Woolf! It begins.
Call me Person.
Damaged, swollen and undone, without a reason, and yet a flailing voice.
We translate love and I become. We cobble names. “Honeywizz,” “Beastyballs,” “Xanadu.”
Say a word, and say again.
It sounds like singing.
Cry out Jeezus! Aquinas! and let us move.
Heidegger, Hegel, Haar. William Dewey, Tomas Pynchon. Another ring, another rung, another syllable.
Translation, transmission, footnoting insertions, assertion. I am John James, Alfred South Hampton. Bewildered and Amazed. Immanuel (God-with-us) Nietzsche, Darwin D. Descartes.
Just call me Person and I will answer, becoming “I” and I become.
The whisper and its hearing,
you moaned and I perked up.
“Yes?” “No!” Otherwise.
We are here.
Call us Person(s).
I/You, Self/Other, He/She, Says/Hears, Touches/Felt, Imagine the memory.
At long last, we arrive. Gilles and Jacques and Simon. Luce and Helen and Clarice. Paired, impaired, distorted.
You may call us Person(s). We are named.
Once called, for a response. The asking is the telling.
I cry out.
There is echo.
Simone de Cortazar.
Someone sings, it garners litany,
“We are here.”
please call us Person(s).
At first I was a scientist: a philosopher of stories,
for you I depicted scenes and portraits,
Everything a bridge.
The word “between.”
We gestured: “Call us Person(s)”
We said Moscow, India and Greece. We stuttered America. We shrieked of Arabia and England.
A run of names and numbers, symbols and beliefs. We made equations, normatives, reliefs. We consulted, constructed, and revised.
All us People. Call me Person. Calling “you.”
I made an image of yourself, and you became…along with “I.”
We shouted slogans, rafted rivers, swam the seas. We scaled the peaks. We dug beneath. We drifted out.
And kept on calling, calling back
and calling forth, all the asking that is telling, and the stating towards inquire.
It began. It formed a we, and that resulted in an I and a Thou, gone either way, but none other.
It plays with brain and body is the brain the body,
call us “Person(s)”
A kind of beast and gentle species.
We, animal and saint
because we said so.
“Call us Person(s)”
for the asking and the telling
and the becoming
We will be.
What we intended – -ologies and –isms and parades.
And “we” begins
Call us People, call us Person(s)
The beasts, alive for NOW –
a simple Zone,
a sphere, an angle,
our “perception” as we say.
I am Maurice and Piaget, von Uexkull van Beethoven
Call me Person
And drunk on signs
(that We developed)
so we might BE.
(Let’s call them “words”)
Let’s call them breaches, bridges, dreams.
Let’s call it Love.
(and its undoing, its location, its domain)
Let’s call it governance or law.
Let’s make a Zoo with separate cages, create a Zone for disciplines and fields. Feelings. Cultivating crops and crafts and musics. Let’s call it “Science” and beg for silence, and beg for naming and for names, more names and names and things, more names and names for things.
Let’s mix them up and cause explosions.
Me + You.
Please call us “Person(s)”
And let us mark and underscore: Disprove. Debate. Erase.
Let’s say “adjust.”
Let’s try to capture or discover – now we’re we.
But call us “Person(s)”
We will be.
I have become.
Moments: The reality of accrual and depletion, growth and diminishment
“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.
As I snatched books and items to head to a weekend class I grabbed an old partially used notebook just in case I’d sneak a moment or two to scribble my thoughts. I did, but I also found the following past set of jottings that I catapulted off of for what I wrote next…
They felt like found thoughts that found me again…so I thought I’d share…
I get a little weary of philosophy. It fascinates and intrigues, has its spectacular, glittering moments – like architecture, hard sciences, and fiction – but with each human activity there can be too much of a good thing. Perhaps it’s the fantasies involved in abstraction, in the “feeling” of figuring things out, or of “making sense” (instead of sensing) – our human super-additives to experience that are also experience themselves – that I, at times, weary of. That eminently falsifiable intuition that everything is made up.
It can be hard work to keep a worldview active. They involve such complexities and details, layer upon layer of biological and logical, illogical and irrational, intuitive – ologies and descriptions, manipulated perceptions and interpretations re-interpreted re-interpreted without ceasing, that a being grows tired. Can grow tired.
Those same realities, capacities, activities are also exponentially inspiring, enervating, exciting – those behaviors of creativity, imagination, and survival – and our weird confounding capacity to think we can observe our perceptions make for a very strange frenzy of energy and productivity…
…our infinitely (perhaps?!) webbed interdependence with our surround provides for mysterious and copious possibilities of activity (material)…all bewildering. Chaos can be so generative. Chaos – so stultifying.
What might we know?
That we are organisms within systems? How would we know that, from within systems?
That we are dynamic organism enmeshed with other dynamic forms of matter and energy, waves and particles, movements? Seems to be our sense of it.
Alongside and within – in order to be – there is NO way to exist detached or without: to imagine distance, objectivity without imagination capacity of fantasy, illusion, for purposes like logic, mathematics, narratives and codes – DElusion in order to play the games with delusional sincerity – effectively. The delusions are effective, often pragmatic, evolving, so they must also be part of being with/in a myriad of dynamics…
One would hypothesize. Or suppose. Infer, as in fantasize.
All enabled by immersion in symbols, languages, stipulated relations…
…which is what I had set out to consider – immersion in symbols –
the wonder of it
Immersed in summer and studies, I find myself struggling with capacities of some purer form of origin beyond connections. The creativity that satiates me in relationship and studies is one of associations, extensions, combinatory experiments of life-experiences and informations and knowledges. Fiction and poetry, in a unique manner, seem to process the connectivities and associations invented somehow more within myself. Not so much in activities of external bonds and ties that loop within/without between concepts and voices, persons and family, and my own; but what bonds those activities and informations spawn within me. I am finding that these recognitions and constructions take a different sort of time and attention than the frenetic and immediate processings of conceptual knowledges and intimate relations. Those, of necessity, must be continuous, on the fly, in situ. Creative writing, in distinction, requires for me the ability for bracketing a space and time in which I am able to attend (somehow) to the recursive loops and dangling ganglia of my own organism of thoughts and emotions. A sort of internal processing vaguely distinguishable from reciprocal or social processing. It may not even be real, but only a sensation of process, a variant attention, a sidelong perspective. In any case, it emits something unique in my writing and reflection, feelings and sensations, and something that I cannot simply produce; something that must be prepared and allowed for, visited, beckoned, welcomed.
I recognized this as I struggle to create for a project, and also possess a yearning to be creating new fictions. The process art both provides and requires is unique and intense, difficult and serious. It calls to mind the “effortless efforts” of things like meditation and awareness, mindfulness and tolerance. The writings of Laura (Riding) Jackson piqued this recognition for me and I will share a couple of early paragraphs from her book The Telling.
“ There is something to be told about us for the telling of which we all wait. In our unwilling ignorance we hurry to listen to stories of old human life, new human life, fancied human life, avid of something to while away the time of unanswered curiosity. We know we are explainable, and not explained. Many of the lesser things concerning us have been told, but the greater things have not been told; and nothing can fill their place. Whatever we learn of what is not ourselves, but ours to know, being of our universal world, will likewise leave the emptiness an emptiness. Until the missing story of ourselves is told, nothing besides told can suffice us: we shall go on quietly craving it.
 Everywhere can be seen a waiting for words that phrase the primary sense of human-being, and with a human finality, so that the words themselves are witness to what they tell. The waiting can be seen not only in the eager inclined posture of believers. It can be seen also on the faces of disbelievers, the idolizers of the evident: they are not happy in their impatient assurance of there being no cause but uncaused circumstance, they wear the pinched look of people whose convictions make them a meagre fare. In the eyes of all (in the opaque depths in them of unacknowledged presentness to one another) are mirrored (but scarcely discerned) concourses where our souls ever secretly assemble, in expectation of events of common understanding that continually fail to occur. We wait, all, for a story of us that shall reach to where we are. We listen for our own speaking; and we hear much that seems our speaking, yet makes us strange to ourselves.
 …A religion addresses the longing in us to have that said from which we can go on to speak of next and next things rightly, in their immediate time – the telling of what came first and before done forever…How our story has been divided up among the truth-telling professions! Religion, philosophy, history, poetry, compete with one another for our ears; and science competes with all together. And for each we have a different set of ears. But, though we hear much, what we are told is as nothing: none of it gives us ourselves, rather each story-kind steals us to make its reality of us.“
from The Telling by Laura (Riding) Jackson, 1967
“the rare scholars who are nomads-by-choice are essential to the intellectual welfare of the settled disciplines.”
After 12 nomadic years of self-study, retail labor, marriages and parenting, I am now in my second semester of graduate studies in Library & Information Sciences. As my coursework progresses and evolves toward more specified researching, the organization of my passions and values, interests and desires do as well. Over the past year my blog manoftheword and the other blogs I participate in have primarily been creative instigations and outlets. Places where my ongoing work in art and literature can find some audience and I can process and work through ideas and conceptions as they fumble their way toward something more finished, hopefully one day publishable, perhaps useful to others. Most of my poetic efforts I have exposed through Spoondeep along with the work of a dear friend of mine. The works my wife and I set out to do and continue (not nearly as often as we desire) can be witnessed at Combinatory Art in Motion, where we attempt a contemporary and relational ekphrasis as an open and intimate artistic endeavor.
As the demands of schooling, parenting and marriage bundle and thicken, my focuses also need to sharpen and grow more efficient. In accord with this, I have changed the title and some of the goals of keeping this blog active and vital. The discipline of Library & Information Sciences is proving to be a wonderful practical theoretical grounding of the majority of those aspects I love most about our world: language, art, relationships and learning, and I am focusing my investigative work in the program on semiotics, human-information-behavior, Information Retrieval systems and tools and design, and the function of language in our acquisition of knowledge and interpretation of the world and its data. This is nothing new for me, and I have attempted and practiced many of these same methods throughout my life – reading, writing, and communicating with others.
All this to say that The Whole Hurly Burly will become a place for me to work out my creative life in language and symbols (or images) as it has been, but will probably have fewer posts and hopefully entries that are more fully developed. Research takes time, and so many hours of reading and interpretation, and as elements arise that I can only work out for myself poetically or in imaginative prose, if they seem to have some merit or I need feedback I will post them here. There may also be more theoretical hypotheses as I struggle to make sense of the many lines of thought rubber-band-balling my brain. I will keep up with Friday Fictioneers so that there will be at least one fiction exercise a week and will continue to pass on crucial inspirational quotes/music/arts/ideas as they flood my desk.
It has become very clear to me that I want whatever I do to be drawn up from the whole messy complex background texture and tangle of being a living human being among other humans and the larger matrices of the world – it is this untangleable complex and network of social and natural, individual and corporate, intimate and estranged, abstracted and imaginative realities that I take Wittgenstein to be referring to when he refers to it as “the whole hurly-burly” of our goings-on. And the sinewy, grueling and challenging process of attempting to refer to our experience semantically, in language, in symbols, in sounds and shapes is the most rewarding activity I experience – and when we come close to our desire it feels in me to be what David Foster Wallace signifies “making the head throb heart-like.”
These, then are the goals of this blog moving forward. To engage and investigate the “whole hurly burly” and to offer it to you in hopes it might cause your “heads to throb heart-like.” I cannot thank you enough for whatever time you give my process and work, your kindness in engaging and insightful comments. Here’s to development and change —
and what is currently infusing me: Currently Reading
Summer is quickly departing. In the next few weeks – school supplies, a trip to the Rockies to a rustic cabin, a trip to Branson with little children and wizened parents, work, deadlines, textbooks, and BAM! the “Fall” begins. I don’t know if I’m easily overwhelmed, perhaps so, I can say I am overwhelmed. I think I’m good at surviving things, at persistence, but in a rather melancholic way, steeled and a little removed.
I am not certain what will become of this blog as two years of a most incredible opportunity that cost us so much is coming to an end – the ability for Holly and myself to devote ourselves to our personal passions, our internal vocations: our families, our art. Enormous changes are afoot. I will be back to work and a full-time graduate student, Holly will practice more therapy and a little less creating artifacts, two high schoolers ever increasing their busyness, fullness; and two young ones growing ever so fast. Our older children are fairly self-sufficient, but also ever growing and expanding, and keeping up with all requires our hearts.
In a recent interview, my interviewer looked at me and addressed the cliche “Change is difficult.” Pause. I agreed all over my body. She resumed: “change is NOT difficult, it is always occurring, ALWAYS. What we experience as “difficult” during the endless changing is perspective.”
She was right. My mind and body were not. I create the difficulties by my approaches and interpretations. The difficulties themselves often becoming creative catalysts of change. “I am proud to be melancholic.” (see following quote). It is empowering to gradually claim responsibility for one’s self and one’s constant choices of outlook, intake, response, action. Thus I enter the ensuing flow.
This morning has been spent reflecting the feelings I’m having of loss in relation to this blog, more open time for reading/writing/composing, family-time, couple-time. The feeling that perspectival anticipation re: these ensuing shifts has slumped me, lessened my determination, devotion. I countered it with Lynne Tillman (as I often do), and read the following, from Madame Realism Lies Here (everything is intentional in her writings :)):
“In her waking life, as in her dreams, she concocted art that confronted ideas about art.
So life wasn’t easy; few people want to be challenged…
…Madame Realism’s work wasn’t her child. But, inevitably, it was related to her, often unflatteringly…
…what if art can’t tell the truth? What if it lies?…
…Art was a golem. It had taken over. It had a life of its own, and now she feared it was assessing her. What did it say about her?…
What I make is not entirely in my power, as conscious as I try to be. It’s always in my hands and out of my hands, too. I like to look at things, because they make me feel good, even when they make me feel bad. I’m proud to be melancholic. I like to make things, because they usually make me feel good. I am not satisfied with the world, so I add to it. My desires are on display. What I make I love and hate…
…She made a spectacle of herself from time to time, mostly in her work, trying to tell the truth and finding there’s no truth like an untruth. She kept pushing herself to greater and greater joys and deprivations, which were invariably linked. And like any interesting artist, who can’t help herself and is in thrall to her own discoveries, Madame Realism shocked herself most, over and over again.”
(from Lynne Tillman, This is Not It)
It’s like this. So onward I go. Be assured I will try to stay up with all of you wonderful creators. And I will (“can’t help himself”) keep making at each opportunity. And I thank you all so much for these past 8 months or so where I have had the inception of experiences of finding an audience, truly being read and responded to, a sort of community of creativity. It has greatly influenced my life and practice and confidence in keeping to my dreams. Thank you!
Be well everyone. Be well.
Inscribing a Now
Today I just feel like writing. I don’t have anything in particular to say, no specific emotion I am needing to express (that I know; or am aware of), simply a kind of quiet delight in our capacity to make language. To fit words together, to knit our lives, to be.
Enormously unusual (I cannot stress that enough!) it is around 50 degrees and solidly overcast in Kansas this June 1st. Not humid even, but sprinkling now and again, the kind of precipitation you could enter and be refreshed, but a long time in getting wet. As if the sky is asking us to take it easy, to relax, be reprieved, just enjoy.
My children are reading and practicing stringed instruments; my wife is making sounds that are delicious as she struggles with a painting; my room is dark. These are moments of peace, are unexpected, a relief, a protection, a comforted grief.
Language is a beautiful necessity, unnecessarily. Like bodies and voices, flowers and food. Like mountains. Oh, necessity can be argued for each, but what’s the point? The world is, and that’s enough, that’s what’s important. It seems. And what a hinge-word! It means we’ll never know, and that’s not the point. Is must be different from certainty.
Perhaps I’m engaging a kingdom of “trust”?
An as-if-ness that isn’t afraid?
How little I know.
So the ambling to no purpose again. “Angling” is how I heard it in my mind. Seems it must be so. To language in leisure must be near to the impulse of finding to-do for a bored adolescent. Dropping a line. Seeing what bites. Or even just nibbles.
Sprinkling rain. Haphazard, unpatternable, occasions. Delight.
No expectation, desire (that’s pressing). Just a wandering way.
It evokes a wishing-well torso for me. So many words in the world used in anxiety, in need. So much language and gesture, expression and sign, mobilized to “get” or “secure;” “ensure” or “relieve.”
Not that, not right now, not need. Just rest, an in-pleasuring, a reprieve. Just an hello or a thanks. A “notice that?” or an “indeed.” An agreement of person and term, an almost “natural” weave.
Sounds and sense, tones and rhythms, raindrops tickling shingles and birds. Tires whispering snare-drum waters, puddles triangle-tinkling away.
Hello. These are words. It feels good to shape them – a cursive-recursive flow. To be real (enough), here (enough), to know (enough) to inscribe. What a pleasure, a leisure, a joy.
Thank you, world, for that hour.
Unknown and Unnamed experiences: the swoon and the swarm
I hadn’t remembered it like this (trying not to remember). That all of it got into you. That all of it came out!
Immersion. Enthrallment. Ecstasy – words that come, to mind.
That if en-joined, then out-sourced. Becoming indecipherable – like epistemology.
A moment’s rush, for example. I encounter – which encountering looks like insertion and abstraction on me. I move toward, feel it out, then back off and observe. Active, passive; a swing, a rocking boat.
This is different. Inundation, a flood. Unable to say what’s mine, what’s not; who’s me, who’s you. Unable, frankly, to say, at all. Only be.
Motion, reception; injunction and release.
Think sky-diving: that decision to jump, trusting something, someone will hold together as form in all that air. Like diving the deep blue sea, compression surround, that some element will remain intact without ground or solidity.
It works that way. Give and take, see and saw, this uncanny to and fro of body, perceptions, breath. Eyes contact then fog to some self between. Fleshes – distinct and specific – now con-fused. Who’s sweat? Who’s secretions? It’s sticky, yes, like that – a gluey bond.
Then the wave, the distended moment – incalculable clockwork – where all borders and boundaries seem lost, some extended and mutual sigh or moan within which the voice is other and the same without identity.
The swoon of it. The swarm.
Dizzying rush of blood as warmth or wind; eyes roll back, also in, but not to my darkness. As if limbless or prosthetically invented, my body grows – grows yours or ours or contracts to another covering, but inside-out.
As if leap or let go were no longer options, but instinct.
As if hot and cold – undifferentiated – some something that must define pleasure –
as in emptiness, fullness
the yin, the yang
a cellular entanglement
The swoon, the swarm
But what? Or whom?
And what occurs in the median?
Who were that? What was those?
The swoon, the swirl, the swarm.
No one effecting. Effected. What does that indicate?
Nothing, essential to event – if nothing, than an absence utterly imbued.
A radiance, evocation,
like a sleeping brain on dreams…
with-you, the unknown gets no/w/here.
Whatever the constants, coefficients and variables, given the operator as convergence, the equation = whole,
where the w stands for we,
without which none – (“hole”).
Affecting substance…no one gains currency…necessity (no 1, but at least 2)… and then – ?
No one, unknown, unnamed, no/w/here as 0+O
where O stands for other
in this case, you
O requiring as much as I
inferring – ?
you can’t have 1 without anOther
but where anOther occurs must be at least 1 (other)
even if unknown, unnamed
in order to be lost and found in the joining
the immersion and enthrallment