Letter to a Lover – March 2018

The month of March, in Kansas, can be almost anything, like most of the other months of the year, almost.  Tonight it is moisty, breezy, there is wetness hovering like a redolent air, nearly a fog.  I am killing myself.  You are feeding me.  I sharpen your knives in the kitchen.  From the top of my throat toward deep in my belly is an acidic ruin caused by far too many liters of hard alcohol in far too much volume, too often, for too many hours of too many days over too many years to not be transforming my internal landscape into a ravaged terrain of destruction.  So though I’m unable to breathe, speak, lie down, or work without unignorable hurt, I am still useful.  I am sharpening your knives in your modest kitchen.  I am reading and writing sentences.  I am trying to keep myself from you.  You are preparing a meal for us, and I find it so difficult to stay away from you – to not breathe at your ear, kiss or nibble your neck, grasp at your bottom, finger your elbows, hover, caress, overwhelm.

Boundaries are reduced in mist and wind.  In motion it can be hard to tell where the lines that mark objects begin or end.  In cloaks of obscurity finding shapes or sounds, edges or entries, can be, well, con-fusing (over-mixed, blended, woven)… as perhaps any “thing” we try to think apart ‘in fact’ always is… “inscrutable,” “indivisible,” “unclear.”

If you extricate the ginger from the garlic from the cabbage from the chicken from the oil, the rice, the salt, the pepper, the lime and ancho, the butter, the liquids and oxygens, thicknesses and scents… where is the meal?  If you separate “me” out from “world,” relations, surround (like a theory, a concept, a logic…) how might I then live, or “be” what you presume me to be?  I will not, cannot, am not (removed from my surround) and so it goes… limbs and flesh and organs… dissect… to cells and fluids, molecules and motions, viscosity and energy… to atoms… to subatomic ‘particles’ and/or ‘waves’ – and at each dismantle you will have lost the entity you proposed or pursued.

Division does not equal.

You’ve quoted out of context – neither copied, reproduced, nor plagiarized.  Simply failed.  Missed.  Lost.

The burning rot, corrosive erosion of my body by the maladies of my preferences, pleasures, and habits…

…erasure of letters, terms, phrases, meanings…

…excision and surgery, atopic autopsying of…

…are things already dead, deceased once de-cised, as ‘identifiable portions or pieces, ‘things'”?

These written marks with definable shapes and spaces… yet if disjoined… no sense can be had…

What might “it,” “I,” be… apart-from?

I lay on a ground I cannot stand up without, cannot jump, move, fly or float away without…

I address you – impossibly – unless we’re inseparable… otherwise address and interaction cannot…

The gesture recognizes the necessary collusion as a dream of a fictive repartee, a figurative gap which – if there really were a break or breach – would have no effect or recognition – no reach, no contact…

Relation is repetition of conjoinment, actions without function if connectedness is not always already…

…as if drawing attention toward redundancy.

And so we kiss, we eat, we call out, we listen, as repercussions of contact… reassurances of inseparability.  You reach for your phone, I fall to sleep, unable to be undone or we would not be able to know


Self-reflective Intrigue of the Day

“I have tried to describe a feeling that has often troubled me: I revenge myself on it by giving it publicity”

-Friedrich Nietzsche-



In my life, desire has been a ceaseless problem.

I have always possessed an unquenchable, ravenous, hunger for knowledge, relation & sex.

For the first time (in nearly 45 years) I can see it as a wholism.

I could read & reflect in the literature and learning of the world 18-20 hours a day without tiring.

I could engage & evince sexual fulfillment and bodily orgasm repeatedly without complaint.

I could interact & dialogue with another willing human around issues of being 18-20 hours a day without exhaustion.

These seem equalities; totalities; wholisms.

The refusal of dualities and scissions.

Inasmuch as my mindbody organism never tires and perpetually desires experiences of stimulation, information, novelty and introduction : research – literature – science – philosophy – style of expression – CONTENT-RICH, CURIOUS, CREATIVE, IDIOSYNCRATIC, NOURISHING, INFORMATIVE OR CHALLENGING...

so does my body: traditional/conventional intimate relationships seem characterized by graphable, chartable periods of intimate craving passion of new love (novelty) / regulation of growing familiarity (intimacy) / rhythmic relational ritual regarding sexual (bodily) ecstatic experience…yet NEVER has that satisfied me.  I have always longed for CONTENT-RICH, CURIOUS, CREATIVE, IDIOSYNCRATIC, NOURISHING, INFORMATIVE &/or CHALLENGING bodily pleasure AS MUCH AS I have for my learning mind…with my bodily experience.

As with sex, so with reading (& vice-versa): the IMPORT is the quality, stimulation & unique learning & fulfillment that each author / partner / interaction / experience brings…NOT a quest for repetition or sameness…

I can read Kafka, Dostoevsky, Musil, Proust, Scripture, Aquinas, Plato, Aristotle, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Foucault, Gendlin, Rilke – indeed THOUSANDS of thinkers/artists OVER AND OVER again NEVER tiring or failing to notice / learn / experience some new insight / perception / feeling / LEARNING / ecstasy 

LIKEWISE – physical human partners – I WOULD NEVER tire, grow used to, familiarize, exhaust, cease or lessen to crave, desire, starve for – unique, intriguing, wonderful physical bodies for stimulation, perception, experience, learning, ecstasy 

Seems a Wholism to me.  With what is GOOD – nourishing, stimulating, fulfilling – I NEVER CEASE TO CRAVE IT, & NEVER AM FULFILLED – or “accustomed,” “familiarized,” “apathetic,” “exhausted” of detail, inquiry, pursuit, exploration…

Long and long I have felt BAD about this:

feeling that I am weird, a sexually addicted person, uncannily erotic, unnaturally intellectual/abstract etc…

No more.  I realize my MIND and my BODY are the same thing: ONE THING : a PERSONand that exactly as much as I ache/lust/pine/hanker for intellectual stimulation and inexhaustibility in great works of human creativity and expression/reflection…SO I ache/lust/pine/hanker for stimulation and inexhaustible pleasure of bodily interaction… 


The one desiring equally and inexhaustibly ecstasy of mind and body, untiringly, unceasingly, unsatisfiably…

The perpetual “quest” for the “endless joy of erotic experience”

MIND & BODY – Aristotle, Augustine, Heidegger, Agamben…

Sappho, Rumi, Rilke, Pessoa…




impossible to fulfill

impossible to fail


the perpetuation of joy and desire


Well-matched, then.  Identical, then.  SELFSAME, then: mind & body

desire & fulfillment

joy and longing

selfsame in me

and I am not ashamed.











And then there’s this…This will destroy you

Memory + expected future = obscure present, distorted present, non?-present?

And then there’s this…

Should you be able to manage it…

11 minutes of solitude, today…

if you have nice noise-reducing headphones – even better!

if you can find a spot by the sea, by a slow-moving river,

some room in the home unlikely to be entered

a porch, in view of trees,

door shut, lying on bed…

car seat back parked remotely, inviolately…


you might be able to be immersed

for 11 minutes


with this

and allow

and for no reason pause before the 8.44 mark.


In Strange States and Finding Delight : Questions on Being Well and Doing Well

 “Nothing that is complete breathes.”

-Antonio Porchia-

Description:  Flux.  By its very nature, significant change is unsettling, disregulating and life-altering.  Over the past 6-8 weeks I have lost spouse, employment, my personal and relational rhythms and schedule, the savings in my bank account depleted.  I have applied for over 180 jobs, written as many cover letters, tweaked as many resumes, attempted to keep up with my coursework, and take good care of my four amazing children who abide with me.  Each week in therapy (without doubt a literal life-saving engagement) the session will end with something like curiosity at just how uncertain, good, terrifying, significant, painful, frightening, moving, difficult and meaningful the week’s happenings are.  I have felt I am living multiple lifetimes of experience in each 7-day period.  Inherently, overwhelming are experiences that cannot be described, portrayed, understood or explicated.  These are strange statesdevoid of much that could be regulating or structuring, a wild gyre of hope and despair, connection and separation, exhaustion and inspiration.  Strange states.

One of the things that has pestered and picqued me this past week is a growing recognition that most of the people I know – friends, peers, acquaintances, relatives – are people that can DO almost anything well, even exceptionally.  Humans have such an uncanny adaptive ability to (as Kafka says) “wriggle through.”  My people are the sorts of persons who find satisfaction and contentment in being well – the activity of living itself, ever specific to context, is its own contentment and satisfaction, often regardless of what they are doing (it seems).

From early on, many of us were instructed to “follow your passions,” or “use your gifts and talents,” another way, I am thinking, of saying FIND DELIGHT.  Delight, it seems to me, is that tone of experience we incur when both being and doing provide utmost satisfaction and contentment for our individuated and particular “selves.”  Moments such as that first eye contact that seems comprehending, recognizing between the infant you have brought into the world and love so much and yourself.  Moments often termed “flow” – when your ache to express and the form of your expression seem to unite, resonate – in whatever medium you most enjoy – dancing, painting, writing, conversing, thinking, playing, sculpting, calculating, making music, serving others – whatever it is that brings you joy coupling with your own unique history and experience and way of being.

And here’s the rub:  in our authentic relationships, most of us have a good sense between us of what it is that makes our “others” tick, or thrive, their core desires and wishes, delights and strengths.  HOW they like to be WHO they are.  My friends who love to observe and capture beautiful moments, create photographs, artefacts of world/self combined are often selling insurance, teaching classes, running cash registers.  My friends with conceptual strengths and reflective panache – philosophers with ever-evolving ideas and visions of the world and how it functions – are often administering organizations, delivering mail, stocking grocery shelves.  My friends who thrive in drama and play, or sport and music, or math and surfing – end up spending their days repairing roofs or selling shoes, concocting coffee or serving food, mowing lawns or teaching children.  AND THEY ARE EXCEPTIONAL AT WHAT THEY DO!

The rub:  When people are being wellit seems they do well, regardless of whether the task or activity would inherently give them delight.  It is the being that delights them, and they infuse whatever they do with that wonder and wealth.  The query:  is there, when is there, how is there – the possibility of (remember, our lives are brief) – combining our capacities for being well with those things we most enjoy doing well and might that not result in a life characterized by delight ?  Is it possible to insist on?  And is one able to survive?  As I search for work – I realize just how many things I am able to do well – like so many others – and that doing well at things has a certain level of satisfaction because one is being well.  But what joy (remember, our lives are brief) if our lives might be characterized by being well/doing well those things that delight us (nourish our well-being)?  We are social, and because of that our survival depends/inter-depends on one another – and society needs certain things of us – teachers, mail deliverers, food service, grocers, manufacturers, administrators, tax accountants, waste management, shoe repairers, and so on.  We fill these positions FOR one another, for our greater good, making effort to infuse and tweak our responsibilities with as much as we are individually able to also gain some satisfaction and contentment with the ways that we be in those roles.

This question is unclear.  I suppose I am wondering the experience of all of you out there – Is it possible to live a life characterized by delight?  Where we are able to survive being well doing what we most enjoy doing well?  I have yet to fill out the application, sit through the interview for, or see the job posting that asks me to DO WELL WHAT I BE.  Perhaps that is the application of life itself.  Perhaps I will never run across the posting that says – actualize your desire to write – whatever you are compelled to write – and we will make sure you are sustained and healthy.  Any testimonies of conflated being and doing and surviving and thriving out there?

Scripturient“Would there be this eternal seeking if the found existed?”

-Antonio Porchia-

On Love

I will be up front with you:  this post is a failure.  If I were able to comprehend, understand or express what it is I have been struggling with myself to grasp and communicate – I would also have the expressive powers to irresistibly beckon my love.

Like many poets and artists, I am not a stranger to great expressions of love.  Tales of romance, of idealism, of sacrifice and charity.  Of endurance, persistence, obstacles and joy.  Of passion, beauty, devotion and charm.  Many of us spend the bulk of our lives searching it, attempting to become both loving and lovable, generous and worthy.

What I have wrestled with this past week is how I might convince all of you who have an interest in its meaning, its practice, its enjoyment and its pain that a book I have spent much time reading and reflecting over the past two weeks is worth your full attention.  It is entitled The Conditions of Love: the philosophy of intimacy and is written by John Armstrong.

Armstrong - Conditions of Love

For a while now I have been making effort at examining the “intolerable vulnerabilities” that intimacy evokes in us.  Armstrong addresses these in a deep variety of ways, such as “love craves closeness, and closeness always brings us face to face with something other than we expected.”  Upon meditating my way through his profound expository book, I have added “incalculable equation” to my sense of love.  “Most people are, it goes without saying, sometimes pathetic and sometimes quite competent…reciprocity requires us to hold in mind a complex image of our own nature.”  My felt sense upon concluding his words (and those of so many others he includes ever so skillfully) – was a strange sense that love combines the profound gravity of grief and the profound levity of hope.  

It is instructive to understand what Armstrong intends by a philosophical account of intimacy:  “One of the things which philosophy can do is to try to flesh out, with as much precision as the case allows, just what is at stake in the concepts we use.”  And he performs this so deftly.  “Hence the more subtle our thinking about love, the more intelligently we discriminate ideals from reality, the more interesting our autobiography becomes.”  His is the thinking of the ‘pandoxist.’  “A pandoxist doesn’t locate all the important insights and truths about life in a single system, but tries to seize upon the multitude of truths and insights which are located in many distinct – and often antagonistic – positions…most great systems of thought are founded upon lasting insights…but we generally don’t need to be completely consistent in our thinking…we are attempting to enrich our repertoire of ideas…thoughts which will be helpful at different times and in different situations.”  The Conditions of Love satisfies this expertly.

The book has been written.  I cannot possibly improve on it, and, although I’d dream of trying – what I most desire is that more humans will engage it toward the extension and enrichment of their lives and the relations they involve .  With that in mind I will simply copy some of my underscored passages from Armstrong’s writing – hopefully to successfully convince you that it could benefit you, too.

“The suggestion that love is deep carries the implication that it emerges from deep within us and that it reaches something deep within us.  It carries with it an image of the personality as layered.”

“Love isn’t a single thing but a complex of different concerns gives rise to a vision of some of the problems of love.  When we try to love we are not actually trying to undertake a single endeavour; rather, we are trying to do a whole range of different, and sometimes not very compatible, things simultaneously.”

“We need love, we have an inbuilt need to love and be loved, yet the two sexes have divergent evolutionary and genetic notions of how love works.  The unhappiness of love is the fault of the evolution of the species…which undertakes to show how extremely complex emotions and thoughts are enacted in material processes.”

“to show that love is natural is not in fact to show anything very important…what is given by nature is not necessarily good, and what is achieved by artifice is not necessarily worthless…the experience of love is open to change, but only in some ways.”

“Compatibility is an achievement of love, not a precondition for love…there is no such thing as perfect compatibility, therefore all loving relationships must accomodate some degree of incompatibility.”

“Perhaps the most fundamental fact of human experience is that the experience of being oneself differs radically from the experience we have of others…no other person can complete us…this is something we have to do for ourselves, even if we are lucky enough to find another person who is helpful and supportive and whose character tends to bring out the best in us.”

“friendship is a species of love…there is something about their mode of being, about the texture of their inner life, which seems familiar…it is when we discover, or suspect, some intimate correspondence between our own secret self and that of the other that we begin to move from liking to loving.”

“the very needs which take us into love play a role in the souring of love.”

“love involves a reorientation of our concerns.  We are in the habit of being immensely preoccupied by what immediately concerns our own well-being…yet caring for something, or someone, other than oneself can be immensely liberating.”

“the irony is that the more we invest in love, the harder it can be to love successfully.  To love another person often requires that we have further and independent sources of satisfaction and security in our lives.”

“of course it can be disturbing, even terrifying, to admit insufficiency to ourselves.  ‘Why do I need another person? Because I cannot be happy on my own?’  For some people at least, that is too painful an admission.  We sometimes avoid our need for love because it casts us in a vulnerable role…It suggests how deep the need for love goes in us, how hard it sometimes is for us to recognize what it is we are looking for, and how hard it is going to be for someone else to satisfy those needs.”

“infatuation – can be driven not just by a mistake about the other person (thinking they are nicer than they really are) but by a mistake about oneself (wanting to be other than one is)…in infatuation, we use another person as a prop in a fantasy about ourselves.”

“many persons imagine that it is the quality of current feeling that matters; in fact, current feeling is no guide for behaviour under multiple strains and stresses.  What infatuation does is to consecrate the present feeling and protect it from serious investigation.  Imagination paints a charming view of the future, conveniently adapted to the demands of our current situation.”

“Cupid is the name of whatever it is in us which, without our consent or recognition, provokes the intense longing for attachment which we call falling in love…the fear of love as irrational is not simply the fear that love is in its genesis outside of our control, but that it is not amenable to reason once it is up and running.”

“the forces which make us long for another person to love – loneliness, the need for warmth and tenderness – can be so great that we behave as if we were starving…desperation overrides discrimination…the process of falling in love may be governed not by the intelligent sense of what is good for us but by unconscious forces which cause us to get attached to someone with whom we can – like an addict – repeat a self-harming pleasure – ‘this person is for me’ may be, ironically, true and yet true only in that we have identified a potential source of our preferred misery…a relationship does not start the day two people meet; it starts in the childhood of each partner.  for it is long before they meet that the template of their relationship is established.  We learn to love as children.  Or, more accurately, we learn a style of relating which governs our adult behaviour when it comes to love.”

“much depends on the way in which we find in them someone with whom we can continue the unfinished business of childhood…there is something about this person which coheres with an earlier pattern…Falling in love, then, is a result of two thing coming together: the longings which we have and the workings of our imagination.”

“Our sense of who another person really is is massively inflected by our own concerns…what it is to understand a person – involves having a clear conception of what that person’s real needs and qualities are – a conception which can be radically at variance with the self-image of that person.”

“Love alone can’t make another adult intelligent, generous, courageous, persistent and sociable – unless they are very close to possessing these qualities in the first place…it is axiomatic that people can be wrong about what is good for them; that is, they can be wrong about what will make them happy.  This is one of the key reasons why there is so much unhappiness in the world.”

“To love is to interpret another person with charity…of course we habitually go beyond the facts when we find fault with or condemn another…Anger and resentment are frequently founded upon what we suppose another person has intended, rather than on what we actually know about their motives.  Charity, therefore, need not ascribe benign motives, but keeps open the possibility that one doesn’t know what really goes on in another’s heart of hearts…to step aside is human…a charitable interpretation seeks out good qualities underneath evident failings and inadequacies – and take a sympathetic view of those failings..requiring a complex image of our own nature.”

“Most accounts of existence place love at the centre of life.  We live in order to grow in love – that is the meaning and purpose of each individual life.”

“Love requires the integration of all our powers: we have to be sensual, but also understanding; we need to be able to relax with our beloved, but must equally exercise self-control; we have to mix spontaneity with foresight; passionate, devouring sexual desire has to be tempered with respect…”

“What is wrong with capitalism is not so much that it fosters an unjust distribution of wealth but rather that it damages the personalities of all those who live within it, cutting each individual off from the realization of the true nature, giving rise to internal – as well as external – obstacles to love…If we have to devote our best energies, almost all of our time, to making a living, and if in doing so we have to become competitive, or ruthless, we don’t have much of ourselves left over for love.  We can only love on the margins of our lives and with the residue of our capacities…Love, which stands as the natural goal of living, is massively subordinated to the pursuit of the means of living.”

“the reality, here, is that we invest the people we encounter – particularly those we get close to – with characteristics which are not really their own but which derive from our own earlier relationships…construction and transference is an unconscious process – one which we are not only unaware of but which we positively resist becoming aware of.”

“Love, then, can never be the coming together of two perfectly compatible creatures.  We are not like jigsaw pieces which can, if only we find the correct piece, lock together in perfect accord.  It is as if each person actually belongs to several jigsaws at once and hence fits perfectly into none.”

“Much of the resulting pain of adult life can be traced back to the ways in which the child deals with ambivalence…it is impossible to have a loving relationship which does not involve negative aspects…because a perfectly right partner will still evoke fears and anxieties in us, will still – because of connections back to the roots of love and fear in childhood – become an object of envy or jealousy, will still be the privileged object of our aggression and disappointment…”

“Sex is direct, whereas love is diffuse.  Sometimes we need love to be made obvious – and sex is one of the most powerful ways in which this can happen…the troubling fact is that two positions are correct: we are inherently jealous and sexual desire is distinct from love.  To accept both claims is to admit a degree of incoherence in human nature…this is an invitation to be more imaginative about dignity.”

“Recuperation is essential to the survival of love because it is inevitable that love will come up against serious difficulties…the point is that even within a good relationship there are continual sources of hurt and disappointment which have to be overcome if love is to survive…their overcoming is actually the growth and development of loving…it is, therefore, extremely important that we work with a vision of love which sees problems not as the end of love, not as a sign that love is over, but as the ground upon which love operates.

“This is the internal tragedy of love.  If love is successful, if our love is returned and develops into a relationship, the person we are with must turn out to be other than we imagined them to be…security can put us off our guard…the notion of maturity is humanity’s attempt to retain an optimistic picture of love in the face of disappointment and difficulty.”

“Maturity is our name for the hopeful strategy which is open to us when faced with something which is both an object of high value (a source of happiness) and, at the same time, threatening, difficult, disturbing..the very things which draw us into love and enable us to invest so highly in another person, to wish to bind our lives together, themselves give rise to disillusionment, frustration, disappointment, and evoke some of our deepest fears and most primitive defences.  What we mean by maturity is a change of perspective.”

“In this book I have tried to argue two things…Firstly, the need to love and be loved is deeply placed in human nature – we long to be understood, to be close to another person, to matter in another’s life…the factors which draw us into love also constitute the roots of love’s difficulties.  We long to be understood, but it is often awkward to have another see too much of one’s inner troubles…we do not go through life with a coherent set of desires, and anyone who charms us in one frame of mind may be annoying or threatening in another.  Secondly, love is an achievement, it is something we create, individually, not something which we just find…and yet it cannot be forced simply by effort…it is dependent on many other achievements – kindness of interpretations, sympathy and understanding, a sense of our own needs, and terrible vulnerability…each requires patient cultivation – we have to take whatever fragile presence each has in our lives and build upon that…in order to unlock our passions, recognize our need for another, and see our present loneliness…”

and so on – i simply took a quote or two from each chapter – hopefully you can imagine the depth of the whole…and will enjoy it for yourselves….!

see also:de Botton - On Love



A Division of Subjects

Simple HouseI am looking at my wife’s face for significance.  Scrutinizing her as if MY meaning might come from there.  The eyes and motion of my children, our puppies, the touching between them.  I gaze, ravenously, melancholy, nostalgically, as if some sort of synching provided reason.

Observing, begging input for desired effect.

Words on a page in front of me.  The sounds of the heat switching on and swishing (or swooshing) through an anatomy of ducts.  Rememory.  Fashioning bodied memories forward toward anticipated satisfaction of imagined desires.

Re-membering an already unknown future.  As if to place it onto a pleasure/pain balance and put myself at risk for emotion.  As if I am wanting to feel.  Pleasure OR pain, satiation OR loss, grief or elation.  Simply.  To feel.  And to be able to tell.  To evaluate, process and produce.  Perceive, procure and proceed.

Attend, assemble and assess.  All componented in threes, a perspectival point of either/ors.

In other words – seeking options of experience through this-or-that, barely realizing the gargantuan disturbance of the field in which bi-polars conjoin – the third, the invested participant – “observer.”

I search her eyes – peering her into double bind by my own delimitations.  Reflecting the kids play and laughter – deflecting – by framing-problems that lens my limited views of want and need.

Ravenous, melancholy, natural look of desire for pleasure and dread of pain – dualizing a multi-more intricate kaleidoscope of possible probables.

The implicit intricacies + the avoidance and/or discounting of “one’s own role” (the responsibility, culpability, of our ever-presentness we ever effort to escape) – being participatory.  Being.

And what of the lens?  If I expand the prism, rotate the glass – distort, blur, focus.  How expansive, elastic, extensive are my tools?  How effectual the how I look, the what I look for, the why?

I continue examining her face, and his and his, and his and hers.  Listen for their sounds, their movements, borrowing moods from the connections I make, perceive, feel…asking now to fill out my arrival…more aware of many roles that depend on distant stories…now arising…participant…into now

as it happens, it occurs…

simple house drawings




All That & More : 2012 in Review (w/musical moods and interludes)


The term is evincing.  That word that stands for the complex of tangled strands stuck and striated into a confrontation with blankness.  You know what I mean?

Balled up like a sap-thickened snot-slickened hardening knot of twine, all strung together, unruly, but wadded and crushed, like a snowball – a large icy one – but dirtied – clodded thick and gluey-thready – distasteful, a kind of impossible object – something like the idea of the innards of a self – what one sees in a mirror – like a melancholy music – tunes that you love that empty and sicken you – help you to feel more alive – all that.  More.  The unaccountable enormity that feeds into a stream called entity.  All that.  More.  Horrible, beautiful things.

            The fact that we are far more than we are able to surmise, and far less than we hope or wish to be.  Messy.  Contents of a dump.  A lifelong of it.  From every here and there that has ever counted as “around” us.  All that.  More.

It comes to bear.  In its confusing ways.  Its overwhelm, that is not too much, indeed, we hang together by its incredible pressure.  All that.  More.  We are composed of far more than we can consciously carry or categorize.  Too much.  All that.  More.  The too-much encroaches, suffocates, immerses us in such a way as to individuate and differentiate us as misshapen identities, figures in rubbled ground, that which we spy in mirrored surfaces and the reflections of others’ faces.

That is what I bring to blankness.  And stare.  All that.  More.  Scrambled and disturbing.  Flustercucked and discombobulating.  Lost in the morass that makes me, that I am unable to peek through, even glance.  Life.  All that.  More.  Too much.  What cannot possibly be organized.  All that.  More.

            This is my life.  Such a jumble of grandeur, goodness, glorious juiciness and jubilant joyeux, with dark twisting tunnels of termiting fear, incapacitate fogs too bleary to count quite as fog – glaucous and cataracted visions.  Too much.  All that.  More.

I heave and haul it to blankness.  These pages.  I set it on fire, collecting the ashes.  Or pick at a corner, scabrous and stubborn, until a smidgen unravels and I can trouble it.  Or simply collapse on the paper, clod-like and unstable, leaving crumbs.  Thank you paper.  All that.  More.

            If you took all that was life-sustaining precious to me in this world and stacked it on top, I would die quickly, crushed under its weight like a sparrow cracked under boot.  That which breaks us makes us stronger?  Comes out of the mouth through the pen and returns through the tubes in my ear-throat to gag me.

I buckle under it like an aged Prometheus and slog, spilling it onto the blankness.  All that.  More.  I love what survives me.

“with no sign that the artist has any object in mind other than eating away the immediate boundaries of his art, and turning these boundaries into conditions of the next achievement.”

-Manny Farber-

All that and more.  It evinces.  I am thankful for the whole god-damned and gloriously blessed mass.  I gnaw.  It evinces a spittle, which falls on this blankness.



Voices of the Book of the Dead & Vitality

I have to agree that one major thing I have never been able either to tell when talking with others, nor explicate when trying to share – about writing, the activity – is the pleasure.  For me, if I can move my experience of the world into language and there let language create a new experience with world for me, whether I’m miserable or joyous, in tedium or ennervated, things feel alright with the universe.  Sometimes even if I’m just drawing letters onto paper, words or not, phrases or not, discernable meaning or not – I still feel fine.  But then, if there seems like a resonant flow – if the language available and the experience felt engage recursively – there truly IS nothing quite like it in my experience of life.  David Foster Wallace says it this way, and I’ve heard similar attempts come out of my mouth:

“When I discovered writing I discovered a thing that gave me a combination of fulfillment (moral/aesthetic/existential/etc.) and near-genital pleasure I’d not dared to hope for from anything”

that rang exactly true for me….and…

“when i’d sit down and look up and it would be hours later and there’d be this mess of filled-up notebook paper and I just felt wrung out and well-fucked and, well, blessed.”

I probably wouldn’t blog that term (“blessed” or “f*@ked”), but there it is, and again, it does come as close as I can think to that satisfied, dizzying, emptied loose feeling that comes from a safe and open, intense and releasing session of writing.  I am thinking that the words “combination” and “pleasure” and “fulfillment” do the most to describe the process and experience of experimenting and experiencing in language for me.  And it is very similar to sexual intimacy, because once you have moved into the other (in this case, language) – the other has as much to do with, as much control over, as much effective presence in, the beauty and sense of meaning of, content and activity of the process and results or engagement as you – the writer – do.

Making it with the world is one of those weird mysterious ecstasies that are incomparable and indescribable.  I would be deceptive if I said that anything were “better” than it, though it has (in our limited emotional/emotive base) many similarities to being “spent” with one’s spouse, or those rare and profound connections with one’s children – I guess it ought to make some sense that intimacy-with would draw from the same human wells.  There is a quiver of experiences that no one speaks of without a touch of awe, a befuddled amaze, or a glad bafflement, and for me, the activity of reading and writing is one of these.

Thank you : I don’t know what I am saying…

received this little garland today and a congratulations from WordPress – my account is 1 year old!

“Express only that which cannot be expressed.  Leave it unexpressed.”

-Maurice Blanchot-

“The world eternally turns round; all things therein are incessantly moving, the earth, the rocks of Caucasus, and the pyramids of Egypt, both by the public motion and their own.  Even constancy itself is no other but a slower and more languishing motion.  I cannot fix my object; ‘tis always tottering and reeling by a natural giddiness; I take it as it is at the instant I consider it; I do not paint its being, I paint its passage.”

-Michel de Montaigne, 1580-

“Sincerity – it’s the insatiable process

of transition, of fluctuation…”

-Arkadii Dragomoshchenko-

I began one place, and become another.

Wallace remarked that the most difficult thing to teach young writers was the difference between expressive writing and communicative writing.

“Two utterances cling tightly to each other, like two bodies but having indistinct boundaries.” (Maurice Blanchot)

A notification informs me that today is the first anniversary of my experience of the blogosphere.

Humbled over 365 days.

And thank you.


I imagine many writers/artists start out, in the youth of their writing (or creative work) from a singular sense.  There’s this “me” experiencing this “world,” it seems like – an I and a chaos, an identity and a multitude.  When the I (or eye) feels full, it is like to burst.  Things touch us, hurt us, impinge on our locus, our “self,” and it seems something must be done about it – we must exert – strike back, reach out, kiss, craft – exhibit our presence.  Interact.  The dualities are clear.

Are confused.  Experience turns out to be very mixed, an impossibly confusing weave.  As we begin to plunder these “moments,” we’re countered.  Things that happened to us, we were there for, in all fairness, our activities encroach.

We begin perhaps to recognize our existence as agents – not only done to, but doing; not only recipients but respondants, reactive.  The wrestle of expressing ourselves through materials (language, movement, matter or sound) teaches us this.  The Other’s inextricably woven – what occurs and results is the same.  Is unlike.  We lose balance.

Conceiving the work as a subject toward object (our creating) deriving from object to subject (our experiences) – our investigations quickly expose this  unclear.  Attacked by requirements of how.  Stubborn like marble or tricky as oils, even recalcitrant conventions, we begin to comprehend a falsity to working on, as a single direction, and realize it’s all a working with.  And we struggle.

Even working with.  The earth, or people, or bodies, or clay, things rarely abide our intentions.  We set out to disburden ourselves, get incited to construct or create (to “use”) and find ourselves consistently foiled.  Reality doesn’t care.  We find precious little room for expression.  Compromise and nuance, novelty or style – ineffective to the longings we exude.

Perhaps at this stage we lose faith in our voices or visions – what we seek we does not seem to obtain.  This is fine.  This is something no product can resolve.  For there isn’t.  There is no solution to life.  We are IN it.  And there is no replacement for death.  Then we’re OUT.

Whether language or matter, movement or sound, our “I” never works on an Other.  We are INsulated.  INextricably.  Communicative activity means cohabiting the spaces, simultaneous-ing the times.  Realities – experiences – accord.  Everything possessing the prefix co-.  It’s admitting the reciprocal, the recursive – we’re not separate beings being, we are beings expressing ourselves commensurately.  Perhaps control is adjusting to convention.  Accepting agreements with place.  Expression living IN and WITH, communication the word for the weave.  That we’re behaving, creating, co-mposing in inseparable connectivity (inexpressible process) – transition, fluctuation, IN –

– attempting to paint its passage.

entanglement. emergence. complexity. matter.

Thanks so much for  reading, joining, my attempts.

N Filbert 2012